7 Engaging Bracket Ideas for Newspapers

by Julie Foley Second Street

Local Interest

Highlight the great things about your area with a bracket challenge. There are tons of opportunities to tie a bracket in with your newspapers’ current initiatives. If you’re gearing up for your annual Wine Festival, Oktoberfest, or back to school season, a bracket is a great way to drive excitement from your readers. Consider bracket themes like Local Winery Throwdown, Oktoberfest Brew Battle, or even a Back to School Showdown of best local schools.

Top Stories

Brackets are a perfect way to repurpose your content. Dig into your archives and let your readers choose their favorite breaking news stories, local celebrity interviews, or memorable moments with a bracket challenge. Plus, a Top Stories of the Year bracket is a perfect addition to your year-end calendar.

Top Photo

Showcase the work of your photo journalists with a bracket challenge. Create a bracket to determine your readers’ favorite sports candid, standout photo from a certain event, or epic weather shot. This could become a weekly or monthly bracket where the winner is featured online, in print, or maybe even in a special edition.

Food and Drink

Food is something everyone can get excited about. Your newspaper is already publishing features on local foods. Why not try a bracket centering around local pizzerias, food trucks, barbecue restaurants, coffee shops or outdoor dining spots! Plus, categories like burgers, wings, and tacos from your Best Of ballot are the perfect entrants to seed brackets later in the year. Food brackets will engage your audience and are ideal to feature local businesses.


Newspapers can highlight their local sports scene with professional and high school teams. Create a bracket featuring mascots, tailgate snacks, marching bands, cheer squads, and much more. Then use this as valuable reader interest data to repurpose into content in future print publications.


Your newspaper already creates a lot of content around the holidays. Capitalize on this with a bracket to have your readers engage with your paper online. Brackets like Battle of the Best Halloween Candy, Best Place to Watch the Fireworks, Valentine’s Heartthrobs, or Worst Christmas Gifts will surely entice your readers.

Music, Movies, TV, and Books

Do you have someone on your staff who’s passionate about entertainment – a reviewer, a critic, etc? This is great for them to seed a ballot of their favorites and ask viewers to narrow down the list. Consider a bracket for summer blockbuster movies, best seller books, 80s sitcoms, scariest villain, sweetest tv mom, etc. When award show season rolls around, take advantage of fan excitement with a bracket like Which Movie Should Actually Win Best Picture?

Ready to launch a bracket for your newspaper? You can chat with someone from the Success Team 9am-5pm CT Monday-Friday using the chat box in the bottom right corner!

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