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Official Rules

Americaís Next Great Pundit Contest ("Contest") is sponsored by WP Company LLC ("Sponsor"), 1150 15th Street, NW, 7th Floor, Washington DC 20071. The Contest consists of (i) an entry period (as described in Paragraph 2), (ii) an initial judging period (as described in Paragraph 3), and (iii) a series of five separate challenge rounds (collectively, "Challenges", as described in Paragraph 4). Read these rules carefully before entering.

  1. Eligibility. Contest open only to individuals who are legal residents of, and eligible to work in, the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia from the time of entry through May 1, 2010. At the time of entry, each entrant must be 18 years of age or older. An entrant who is 18 years of age or older but a minor under applicable state law must have permission from his/her parent or legal guardian in order to participate. Entrants may not have previously written or contributed to a regular column in a major national publication in print or online. Sponsor shall determine, in its sole discretion, what constitutes a "regular column", "major national publication" and "contributed". Directors, officers, employees and independent contractors of Sponsor and its affiliates, subsidiaries, divisions, and advertising and promotion agencies involved in this Contest (as well as each member of their immediate family and of their household) are not eligible. Void outside of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and where prohibited by law. All federal, state and local laws apply.
  2. How to Enter. No purchase necessary. To enter, fully complete and submit the online entry form available on the Contest entry page located at www.washingtonpost.com/pundit. Submissions will be accepted beginning at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) on September 29, 2009 and must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on October 21, 2009 ("Contest Entry Period"). Each entrant must follow the presented instructions and provide his/her full name, e-mail address, mailing address, daytime phone number and date of birth, along with an opinion essay (written solely by such entrant) of up to 400 words on a topic in the news and a paragraph (written solely by such entrant) of up to 100 words about himself/herself and why he/she should be Americaís Next Great Pundit. All of the above materials are, collectively, an entrantís "Entry". As part of the entry process, each entrant must, among other things, also affirm, under perjury of law, that he/she has read these rules, meets all Contest eligibility requirements and is submitting solely his/her own work, which has not been published previously and which was created solely for participating in this Contest.

    Information provided must be true, accurate, current and complete. Limit one (1) entry per person. Subsequent entries by an individual will be disqualified.

    Entries (and "Challenge Submissions" as defined in Paragraph 3 below) that are late, unintelligible, incomplete, unreadable, damaged, destroyed, delayed, tampered with, forged, misdirected or otherwise not in compliance with these Official Rules will be disqualified. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any entrant who submits an Entry (or a Challenge Submission) which Sponsor believes may be defamatory, obscene, profane, offensive, harassing, inappropriate or that may infringe upon or violate another partyís rights. In its sole discretion, Sponsor reserves the right to modify any material submitted prior to posting or otherwise disseminating such materials. Submitted materials will not be returned.

    All Entries (and all Challenge Submissions) generated by a script, macro or other automated/repetitive electronic means (except as permitted in these Official Rules) will be disqualified and ineligible for the Contest. All requested Entry information (and all Challenge Submissions) must be provided in English to enter and be eligible to win.

    By entering the Contest, each entrant grants Sponsor an unrestricted, royalty-free, perpetual right to display, modify, perform, copy and create derivative work from his/her Entry.
  3. Initial Judging and Selection of "Challenge Participants". On or about October 28, 2009, a panel of Washington Post editors will judge all eligible entries received on the basis of style, intelligence, and freshness of argument. Entries will not be judged on whether the judges agree or disagree with the point of view expressed. Based on the above criteria, the ten (10) entrants who receive the highest scores during this initial round of judging will be declared "Challenge Participants" (and promptly notified thereafter) subject to receipt by Sponsor of a signed Affidavit of Eligibility and Release Form from such entrant ("Challenge Participant Release") and any other documentation that Sponsor, in its sole discretion may request.

    Pursuant to the Challenge Participant Release, each Challenge Participant will agree to the following, among other things:

    (i) The work performed or produced by the Challenge Participant for the Challenge portion of the Contest (collectively, "Challenge Submissions") shall be work made for hire and that, in the event that the work is deemed not a work for hire, Challenge Participant agrees to assign to Sponsor all right, title and interest in all Challenge Submissions performed or produced by Challenge Participant including all copyrights, and exclusive worldwide rights to reproduce, distribute, modify, and create derivative works for all media or forms now known or unknown. All documents, magnetically or optically encoded media, and other tangible materials created by Challenge Participant for the Challenge portion of the Contest will be owned by Sponsor. This subparagraph (i) shall be referred to as the "Ownership Provision".

    (ii) Challenge Participant represents and warrants that: (a) Challenge Participantís agreement to prepare and deliver Challenge Submissions does not violate any agreement or obligation between him/her and a third party; (b) Challenge Participant is responsible for his/her Challenge Submissions; (c) all of his/her Challenge Submissions are original, created solely by the Challenge Participant for the purpose of the Contest, and have not been previously published for any purpose; (d) the Challenge Submissions do not violate or infringe the rights of privacy, publicity, or any other rights, including but not limited to copyrights or trademarks, of any third party, nor do the Challenge Submissions contain libelous or defamatory material; (e) the Challenge Submissions are true and accurate; (f) Challenge Participant will perform the work in a professional manner; and (g) the Challenge Participant is not a candidate for public office and will not be a candidate for any such office in 2009 or 2010. This subparagraph (ii) shall be referred to as the "Warranty Provision".

    (iii) Challenge Participant will not: (a) participate in any publicity, interviews and/or similar matters in connection with the Contest without Sponsorís prior written approval; (b) use, submit or otherwise disseminate any of the Challenge Submissions to any third party; and (c) engage in any activities that are inconsistent with the professional and ethical standards of Sponsor. This subparagraph (iii) shall be referred to as the "Miscellaneous Provision".

    Sponsor shall have no liability for any notification related to or involving an entrantís status as a selected Challenge Participant that is lost, intercepted or not received by a potential Challenge Participant for any reason. On or about the date of such notification, a Challenge Participant Release will be sent to the e-mail address that each selected Challenge Participant provided as part of his/her Entry. Each selected Challenge Participant must fully complete, execute and return the Challenge Participant Release by one of the following means: (i) via overnight mail to: Americaís Next Great Pundit Contest, The Washington Post, Editorial Department, 1150 15th Street NW, Washington DC 20071; (ii) via facsimile as directed by Sponsor; or (iii) via e-mail (with the document sent as a PDF) as directed by Sponsor. Regardless of delivery means selected, all fully completed and executed Challenge Participant Releases must be received by Sponsor no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on October 29, 2009 (or other date/time determined by Sponsor). The odds of being selected as a Challenge Participant will depend on the nature, quality and number of eligible entries received.

    Subject to the requirements herein, each selected Challenge Participant will advance to the Challenge stage of the Contest as described in Paragraph 4. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to select fewer than ten (10) Challenge Participants based on insufficient number of eligible entries or in the event that any of the ten (10) originally selected Challenge Participants fails to sign and return a Challenge Participant Release as directed by Sponsor. Notwithstanding the above, Sponsor may select alternate Challenge Participants in accordance with these Official Rules, if a previously selected Challenge Participant is disqualified. All judging to determine the Challenge Participants will be in the Sponsorís sole discretion and the Sponsorís decisions are final and binding in all matters relating to the selection of Challenge Participants. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entrant that is unreachable after a reasonable effort or that it believes has not complied with the Official Rules or has engaged in any fraudulent, unfair or deceptive activity. Except as provided herein, each entrant is solely responsible for all costs and expenses involving his/her participation in the Contest.
  4. Challenges. The ten (10) Challenge Participants will participate in the Challenge portion of the Contest subject to these Official Rules and any additional terms and conditions that Sponsor announces during an individual Challenge round. There will be five (5) rounds of challenges, testing the skills a modern pundit must possess. The Challenge rounds are scheduled to take place over a three (3) week period on or about the following dates:

    Round One: October 30, 2009 Ė November, 6, 2009

    Round Two: November 10-13, 2009

    Round Three: November 17, 2009

    Round Four: November 18, 19 or 20, 2009

    Round Five: November 20-23, 2009

    For each Challenge round, entry information (e.g., name, etc.) as well as the related Challenge Submission of (and/or other written and/or oral materials submitted, prepared, featuring and/or involving) each of the remaining competing Challenge Participants will be posted online at www.washingtonpost.com/pundit (or other web page designated by Sponsor) during the relevant voting period. Sponsor reserves the right to fact-check each Challenge Submission and to edit each Challenge Submission for factual accuracy, grammar, compliance with Washington Post Stylebook rules and for any other reason. Sponsor reserves the right to make such modifications at any time including, but not limited to, prior to posting a Challenge Submission online.

    Challenge Participants should expect to devote about EIGHT HOURS PER WEEK to the Challenges, which may include writing on deadline, speaking on video and interacting with an audience. Participants must be available for all rounds in which they are asked to participate or the opportunity to participate further in the Contest may be forfeited. Travel will not be required with the possible exception of Round Four (November 18, 19 or 20), and any reasonable and necessary transportation costs (as determined by Sponsor) for that round will be covered by Sponsor. Subject to these Official Rules, Sponsor may modify challenges in any way in its sole discretion.
  5. Voting Rounds and Selection of a Winner. The process by which Challenge Participants will advance to subsequent Challenge rounds and, ultimately, how the winner will be selected, will vary for each Challenge round as set forth below and as set forth in any additional terms and conditions announced by Sponsor in connection with a given Challenge round. Depending upon the Challenge round, judging will be via public voting, reader comments, and/or panel of judges convened by Sponsor (where such judges may or may not include employees of Sponsor).

    Round One: Judging to be conducted on or about November 7-9. The Pundit Card Winner (as described below) for Round One as well as the four (4) Challenge Participants with the highest number of eligible votes cast by the public will advance to Round Two.

    Round Two: Judging to be conducted on or about November 14-16. The Pundit Card Winner (as described below) for Round Two as well as the three (3) remaining Challenge Participants with the highest number of eligible votes cast by the public will advance to Round Three.

    Round Three: Judging to be conducted on or about November 17. The three (3) remaining Challenge Participants with the highest scores based on a combination of public votes, reader comments and/or input from a panel of judges convened by Sponsor will advance to Round Four.

    Round Four: Judging to be conducted on or about November 18-20. The two (2) remaining Challenge participants with the highest scores based on a combination of reader votes, reader comments and/or input from a panel of judges convened by Sponsor will advance to Round Five.

    Round Five: Judging to be conducted on or about November 23. The one (1) remaining Challenge participant with the highest score based on a combination of reader votes, reader comments and/or input from a panel of judges convened by Sponsor will be selected as the Grand Prize Winner.

    Public voting will be conducted via SMS text messaging (standard rates apply) or online voting (or as otherwise determined by Sponsor), with a limit of one vote per person per Challenge round. Limit one (1) voter per e-mail address, or limit one (1) voter per telephone number, as applicable. The use of computer generated programs or other similar means to submit multiple votes is prohibited and such votes will be discarded/disqualified as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. As determined solely by Sponsor, all votes in excess of this limit or otherwise not in compliance with these Official Rules (or not in compliance with the terms and conditions subsequently announced by Sponsor) will be discarded/disqualified. In addition, Sponsor reserves the right to discard/disqualify votes if it suspects the existence of fraud.

    The scores for each Challenge round will be based solely on the votes, reader comments and/or input from judges (as applicable) for that Challenge round only (except as set forth below with respect to tiebreakers).

    ďPundit CardĒ. For Rounds One and Two only, prior to the start of the public voting period for such Challenge round, Sponsor shall judge each of the Challenge Participantís eligible submissions on the basis of style, intelligence, and freshness of argument. Based on the above criteria, the one (1) Challenge Participant who receives the highest score for that round of judging will be awarded a ďPundit CardĒ and he/she will be deemed to be the Pundit Card Winner. The Pundit Card Winner will advance to the next Challenge round without being subject to public voting. A Pundit Card can not be transferred to another Challenge Participant nor can it be used by the recipient in a later Challenge round.

    Tiebreaker. In the event of a tie, Sponsor will determine in its sole discretion which Challenge Participant involved in the tie best embodies the qualities of a pundit based on his/her overall performance in the competition as of the date of the tiebreaker.

    At the conclusion of the judging and voting for each Challenge round, each of the remaining Challenge Participants will be promptly notified of the results of that round at the daytime telephone number and/or e-mail address that he/she provided at the time of entry. The Contest winner also will be notified at the daytime telephone number and/or e-mail address he/she provided at the time of entry and his or her identity also will be announced on washingtonpost.com on or about Nov. 24, 2009. Selection decisions of Sponsor are final and cannot be appealed.

    Sponsor shall have no liability for any notification or other material sent pursuant to these Official Rules that is lost, intercepted or not received for any reason. In Sponsorís sole discretion, a potential participant may be disqualified and required to forfeit the opportunity to participate further in the Contest (or win a prize, if applicable) and an alternate participant (or alternate winner, if applicable) may be selected in accordance with these Official Rules from among the remaining eligible entries if such person (i) is unreachable or notification is returned as undeliverable; (ii) declines or cannot accept the opportunity to participate further in the Contest (or win a prize, if applicable) for any reason; (iii) provides false or misleading information to Sponsor; or (iv) fails to comply with these Official Rules.

    If a prize is forfeited and/or the winner is disqualified, then (in Sponsor's sole discretion) another participant may be selected as Americaís Next Great Pundit winner subject to these Official Rules. Forfeited prizes may or may not be awarded in Sponsorís sole discretion.

    In the event that a Challenge Participant and/or the winner engages in behavior (as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion) that is obnoxious, threatening, or illegal or that is intended to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person, Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify such person from competing further, or winning a prize or receiving any prize with no further compensation to such person. Subject to these Official Rules, Sponsor may modify voting, selection and prize in any way in its sole discretion.
  6. Prize. The one (1) Contest winner will be given the opportunity to enter into an independent contractor agreement with Sponsor to write a weekly column for Sponsor at a rate of $200 per column for a duration of 13 weeks beginning January 4, 2010 and continuing through April 2, 2010. Total compensation (i.e., value of prize): $2,600. Sponsor shall have no obligation to publish any such column in any form or use it for any specific purpose. However, such column could appear online, in print, on a mobile application and/or elsewhere as determined in Sponsorís sole discretion. To receive a prize and be confirmed as the ďwinnerĒ, the winner must sign an independent contractor agreement with Sponsor, complete a W-9 form and file monthly invoices. As set forth in the independent contractor agreement, winner will be an independent contractor, and not an employee, of Sponsor. Nothing in such agreement will be construed as creating an employer-employee relationship, as a guarantee of future employment or engagement, or as a limitation upon Sponsorís sole discretion to terminate such agreement at any time for any reason with or without cause. Among other things, the independent contractor agreement will also include provisions similar to the Ownership Provision, the Warranty Provision and the Miscellaneous Provision described in Paragraph 3 of these Official Rules, as well as an exclusivity provision. Winner (and winnerís receipt of the prize) shall be subject to such independent contractor agreement.

    All costs and expenses are not included and are winnerís sole responsibility unless indicated herein as being awarded. No transfer, substitution or cash equivalent of prize permitted by winner. Sponsor may substitute a prize with one of equal or greater retail value if prize is unavailable or cannot be awarded for any reason. The value of the prize set forth above represents Sponsorís good faith determination. Reporting and payment of any applicable federal, state and local taxes are the sole responsibility of winner.
  7. Limitation of Liability and General Conditions. By participating in this Contest, each entrant agrees to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding in all respects. By entering, each entrant agrees to release, discharge, indemnify, and hold harmless the judges and Sponsor and its affiliates and subsidiaries, and each of their respective employees, officers, shareholders, directors, representatives and agents (collectively, "Releasees") from and against any claims, damages or liability involving or arising out of: (i) late, lost, delayed, misdirected, mutilated, incomplete, unreadable, inaccurate, garbled or unintelligible entries, notices, votes and other materials; (ii) telephone system, technical or computer malfunctions, lost connections, disconnections, transmission or other errors of any kind whether mechanical, human, electronic or otherwise; (iii) data corruption, theft, destruction, unauthorized access to or alteration of entry or other materials; (iv) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by the prize or resulting from acceptance, possession or use or misuse of any prize or from participating in the Contest or any Contest related activity; or (v) any printing, distribution, typographical, administrative, human or technological errors involving or associated with the Contest. Sponsor disclaims any liability for damage to any computer system resulting from participating in, or accessing or downloading information in connection with, the Contest.

    Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to modify, cancel or suspend this Contest (or any portion of the Contest) should any virus, bug, computer problem or other cause or problem corrupt or inhibit the administration, security or proper operation of the Contest and, in such situation (or in the event of any type of error), to select participants, alternates, and/or winner from among the eligible entries received prior to and/or after the action taken or in such manner as deemed fair and appropriate by Sponsor. In no event will Sponsor be liable for more than the stated number of prizes in these Official Rules. Sponsor may prohibit an entrant from participating in the Contest or winning a prize if, in its sole discretion, it determines entrant is attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest by cheating, hacking, deception, or other unfair practices or intending to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other entrant or The Washington Post's representatives or by voting fraudulently for self. Releases have not made and/or are not responsible for any representation or guaranty, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to the prize.

    By entering the Contest, each entrant agrees and acknowledges that if he/she is selected as a Challenge Participant, then Sponsor may use his/her name, voice, biographical data, entry information and other submitted materials, likeness and city name in any and all media throughout the universe and in perpetuity for promotional and any other purposes without additional compensation and in the sole discretion of Sponsor, except where prohibited by law. By entering the Contest, each entrant agrees that: (1) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected with the Contest, or any prizes awarded, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (2) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Contest, but in no event will attorneys' fees be awarded or recoverable; and (3) under no circumstances will any entrant be permitted to obtain any award for, and entrant hereby knowingly and expressly waives all rights to seek, punitive, incidental or consequential damages and/or any other damages, other than actual out-of-pocket expenses, and/or any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased. The interpretation of these Official Rules shall be governed by the laws of the United States and the District of Columbia exclusively and solely by and within the courts of the District of Columbia with regard to choice of law principles.
  8. Collection of Information. All information collected from entrants and voters in connection with this Contest will be collected and used by Sponsor to conduct this Contest in accordance with Sponsorís privacy policy available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/interact/longterm/talk/members.htm and consistent with stated uses disclosed to participants at the time of entry and/or voting.
  9. Winner List. For the name of the prize winner, available after December 1, 2009, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Americaís Next Great Pundit Contest, The Washington Post, Editorial Department, 1150 15th Street NW, Washington DC 20071. Requests must be received by May 1, 2010.
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