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SPJ Region 10 2023 Contest Opens Feb. 12

Get your best work of 2023 together because the annual SPJ Region 10 Excellence in Journalism Contest is opening Monday, Feb. 12. The deadline is 8:59 p.m. PST Monday, March 11. This year, we’re accepting submissions through BetterBNC.com, so keep reading to learn how to create an account there and how to submit your work.

The Region 10 includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. The date range of journalistic materials relating to this geographic region must have been published, broadcasted, aired or posted online from Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2023. Journalists who live in the geographic region who had articles run in national outlets are welcome to submit. 

Winners will be announced in May by the Western Washington and the Greater Oregon Pro chapters.

How to Enter

We have made some changes to this year’s contest, so make sure you read the below directions closely. Of course, if you have questions, contact Awards Administrator Terry Williams at spjnwcontest@gmail.com

  1. In today’s changing media environment, it’s common for newspaper companies to produce video or audio news clips for use on various platforms or online. Or TV stations will post written news or feature reports on a website, supported by video that airs.
  2. To simplify the process of entering the 2023 Excellence in Journalism Contest and prevent confusion, the Board of Directors of SPJ Region 10 decided to modify the starting point for all entrants.
  3. This year, and for all subsequent years, all entrants will use the “Open CallContestant” instructions below.
  4. If you will be handling the entries for your company, it works the same way as before. You will create an Open Call account in your own name and be able to make the entries for your company entrants. Each entry will be customized according to the medium – Video, Audio, Writing, etc.
  5. The contest deadline is 9 p.m. PST March 11, 2024

Open Call Contestant Instructions

For all media organizations and freelancers.

**If you already have an Open Call Contestant account from previous years, log in as usual using your previously created login email and password. If you have forgotten your password, the system will send it to you. **

Create your account: Go to www.BetterNewspaperContest.com. Click Open Call Login and click Create your Open Call Account. Fill in all info. You will see a message that a verification link has been sent to your email.

Once you receive the verification link message, click on the link or copy into your browser. Complete the credentials portion – please let us know if you will be entering for your company or your own entries. Once you see the “Credentials Updated” message, click on Available Contests. Select the “2023 Region 10 SPJ Journalism Awards.”

Submit Your Entries

  • On the Manage Entries page, click Submit Entry
  • Select appropriate “Division” for your entry. Note that this is changeable for each entry. If, for example, your newspaper wishes to enter a video, that division is available for that entry.
  • Select the appropriate Category from the dropdown.
  • Select Publication/Company. If your publication, website or station is not on the list, please call Terry Williams at 619-743-3669 to add it. Let her know which size division to indicate.
  • (If applicable) Read the corresponding Category Note (directly below the Category selection box), describing what is expected for the category’s entry content.
  • Complete the Headline/Title field.
  • Based on the type of entry, add content:
  • To add URL links to content, copy and paste the content’s web address into the provided Web URL field.
  • To upload digital file attachments (other than audio/video), click Choose File, navigate to the desired file, select Open, and click Upload. Allowed file types are PDF, DOC, TXT, JPG, GIF, and PNG. If more than one attachment is desired for this entry, repeat these steps.
  • For Audio or Video: To host your content online, either upload it to a free streaming content website (e.g. YouTube) or talk to your IT person about adding it to your station’s website. Make sure the content will be accessible online throughout the contest and awards judging process, until April 30.
  • Add Credits for those responsible for the entry content, up to five credits. If there are more than five, please use Staff. Be sure to add your own name here, if applicable.
  • Add Comments and/or paywall instructions (if applicable) but keep them brief (100 words).
  • Click Submit.
  • IMPORTANT: Please ensure that items are not behind a paywall or a password-protected area. If they are, you must provide username/password info in the Comments section of your entry. Judges may disqualify your entry if work samples are inaccessible.

This is your account. You can come back to it at any time during the call for entries time period until March 11, 2024. Once you have completed all your entries, click on Entry Fee Calculator and check to be sure all your entries are included. Click on button to go to PayPal to pay immediately (write in your fees due on the PayPal page).

Changes on PayPal, because of course there are. In the past, PayPal seamlessly accepted credit card payments on their system. Now they try to get you to create a PayPal account and have you attach your credit card to the account. If you don’t already have a PayPal account and don’t want to follow that process, please contact Terry Williams at 619-743-3669 and she will send you an email invoice that you can pay through your credit card.

Instructions and Catergories

The SPJ Region 10 Excellence in Journalism Contest is open to journalistic materials relating to SPJ’s Region 10 that were published, broadcast, aired, or online during the contest period from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023. Entries will be submitted using a web-based program, www.betterbnc.com.  

JUDGING 

All entries will be judged by professional journalism organizations or individuals outside the contest area. The Awards Committee reserves the right to change the category in which entries are submitted and to refuse entries not meeting eligibility. In the case of an entry dispute, the decision of the committee will be final. 

Entries must be related to Region 10 geographical area. The relation can be broad, and this rule is not intended to exclude solutions reporting that examines how a problem in this region is being addressed in another location. 

A publication need not be based in Region 10, as long as the above criteria are met. Submissions from reporters based in and covering the Northwest for national publications, wire services or as freelancers are welcome. 

A journalist who has since moved outside Region 10 may submit work that meets the criteria at the time of publication. 

Work submitted must be published by an entity whose primary purpose is the gathering and  dissemination of news and not a foundation, advocacy or research organization. This rule does not  exclude work published by a news organization that is grant-funded or reporting that is grant-funded. 

Again, if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to call or email Awards Administrator Terry Williams at 619-743-3669 or spjnwcontest@gmail.com.

DEADLINE 

The contest deadline is March 11, 2024, at 9 p.m. PST. 

Winners will be announced in May by the Western Washington and the Greater Oregon Pro chapters. 

FEES 

$25 per entry for SPJ members (at least one journalist credited on the submission must be a member, or the submitting newsroom must be a newsroom member) 

$30 per entry for non-SPJ members 

All proceeds from this contest support the efforts of SPJ Western Washington Professional and SPJ  Greater Oregon Pro Chapters. In Washington, contest proceeds fund scholarships for student journalists. In Oregon, proceeds help pay for a lobbyist who works on our behalf in Salem to improve public records law.

General Rules

More than ever, journalists are working in teams and across platforms. Newsrooms of any medium can submit to any section. For example, TV journalists don’t need to solely submit their work to the video section. Entries should be submitted based on the type of work being judged, not the publisher’s platform. For example, video documentaries by newspaper organizations will be judged in the audio/video division, and written articles by broadcasters in the writing division.

If you have a  piece with multiple elements, like a written article accompanied by an audio piece, then submitting it  to the Writing section means judges will only judge the written article. If you submit it to the Audio  section, then judges will only judge the audio piece. If you want the piece judged as a whole, with all  elements taken into consideration, the Multimedia category might be the best fit. Please note that  newsroom size designations differ in the audio and video sections. 

Full-time equivalent newsroom employees include anyone contributing to the news operations of a  publication of outlet: reporters, editors, copy editors, news directors, designers, photographers,  producers, digital producers, web designers, hosts, anchors, etc. Two part-time employees count as one full-time employee. 

Work created in partnership with multiple news organizations should be submitted in the larger  organization’s division. 

Some topical categories will allow submissions of up to three written pieces as part of one story to allow reporters to include related follow-up coverage, sidebars, etc. 

Individual entrants may not enter more than three entries in a given category.  

Divisions and Catergories

WRITING 

Size Divisions: 

Small: 1-5 FTE newsroom employees 

Medium: Between 6 and 20 FTE newsroom employees 

Large: 21-45 or more FTE newsroom employees 

X-Large: 46 plus FTE newsroom employees 

Categories: 

General Excellence in Newspapers or Digital Publications: Submit the 10 best written pieces published in the month of May 2023. 

Arts & Culture Reporting: Coverage of any one news story about people, culture, trends, issues or  events related to art, traditions, music, film, religion, or other lifestyle content. Note that this is for journalistic coverage of these topics; reviews with a more editorial tone belong in the reviews  category. May submit up to three related pieces, such as a main article and sidebar, or an initial story and follow-up coverage. 

Breaking News: Coverage of any one breaking news story published on deadline and/or as it occurs.  May submit up to three related pieces, such as a main article and sidebar. 

Business & Economics Reporting: Coverage of any one news story about people, trends, issues or events related to companies, financial markets or consumer reporting. May submit up to three related pieces, such as a main article and sidebar, or an initial story and follow-up coverage.

Crime & Law Enforcement Reporting: Coverage of any one news story about people, trends, issues or events related to courts, crime or other facets of the criminal justice system. May submit up to three related pieces, such as a main article and sidebar, or an initial story and follow-up coverage. 

Editorial & Commentary: A commentary or personal essay by one author or editorial board that  demonstrates critical commentary or group editorial work. May submit up to three related pieces.

Education Reporting: Coverage of any one news story about people, trends, issues or events related to education. May submit up to three related pieces, such as a main article and sidebar, or an initial story and follow-up coverage. 

Environment & Natural Disaster Reporting: Coverage of any one news story about people, trends, issues or events related to the environment or natural disasters. May submit up to three related  pieces, such as a main article and sidebar, or an initial story and follow-up coverage.

Feature, Hard News: Excellence in writing, reporting, story and development in one feature related to a traditionally hard news subject, like public policy, criminal justice or business. Only one piece  should be submitted in this category. 

Feature, Soft News: Excellence in writing, reporting, story and development in one feature related to  a traditionally soft news subject, like art or lifestyles. Only one piece should be submitted in this category. 

Government & Politics Reporting: Coverage of any one news story about people, trends, issues or  events related to government affairs or public policy. May submit up to three related pieces, such as a  main article and sidebar, or an initial story and follow-up coverage. 

Health Reporting: Coverage of any one news story about people, trends, issues or events related to  health, including mental and medical health, as well as public health. May submit up to three related  pieces, such as a main article and sidebar, or an initial story and follow-up coverage.

Investigative Reporting: A single in-depth article that investigates a problem as it relates to a single  topic, issue, person or group of people. Submissions should include no more than five related pieces,  such as an article, follow-up coverage or sidebars. 

LGBTQ+ Equity Reporting: Coverage of any one news story that addresses social inequities related to people in the LGBTQ+ community. Up to three related pieces can be submitted in this category, such as an article with a sidebar, or a story with follow-up coverage. 

Poverty & Homelessness Reporting: Coverage of any one news story about people, trends, issues or events related to poverty or homelessness. May submit up to three related pieces, such as a main article and sidebar, or an initial story and follow-up coverage. 

Racial Equity Reporting: Coverage of any one news story that addresses social inequities related to race or ethnicity. Up to three related pieces can be submitted in this category, such as an article with  a sidebar, or a story with follow-up coverage. 

Review: A review of a restaurant, live performance, musical or art piece, or theater production.

Series: Excellence in writing, reporting, story and development of one story told over time. Submissions should include no more than five related pieces, such as an article, follow-up coverage or sidebars. If your series is longer than five pieces, including sidebars or other accompaniments, select the strongest collection of material. Multi-year series should be submitted according to the year that they concluded. 

Sports Column: Excellence in writing, reporting, story and development in a regular sports column  written by the same person over time. Must provide three columns. 

Sports Feature: Coverage of any one feature story about people, trends, issues or events related to  sports. May submit up to three related pieces, such as a main article and sidebar, or an initial story and follow-up coverage. 

Sports Reporting: Coverage of any one news story about people, trends, issues or events related to  sports. May submit up to three related pieces, such as a main article and sidebar, or an initial story  and follow-up coverage. 

Technology & Science Reporting Coverage of any one news story about people, trends, issues or  events related to technology or science reporting. May submit up to three related pieces, such as a main article and sidebar, or an initial story and follow-up coverage.

MAGAZINE 

Magazines or publications published on a semi-monthly basis or less frequently should submit articles to the  magazine category, to reflect the unique deadline, style and service provided by these publications. Magazine photos and illustrations/graphics should be submitted to the Photo & Design section. 

Categories: 

General Excellence in Magazines: Submit the ten best pieces published in the month of May 2023. 

Arts & Culture: A single piece about culture, trends, issues or events related to art, traditions, music, film, religion, or other lifestyle content. Note that this is for journalistic coverage of these topics; reviews with a more editorial tone belong in the reviews category. 

Environment & Natural Disasters: A single piece about people, trends, issues or events related to  the environment or natural disasters. 

Food & Restaurants: A single piece about food, restaurants or their connected industries.

Health & Science: A single piece about people, trends, issues or events associated with health or the scientific world. 

Investigative Reporting: A single in-depth article that investigates a problem as it relates to a single  topic, issue, person or group of people. 

Magazine Print Page Design: Submit up to three examples of print page design. These can be published on different days and reflect different sections of the magazine. 

Personal Profile: A single piece profiling an individual or group. 

Review: A review of a restaurant, live performance, musical or art piece, or theater production. 

Technology, Business & Economics: A single piece covering trends, people or issues in technology, business, financial markets or consumer reporting. 

PHOTO & DESIGN 

Size divisions: 

Small: 1-5 FTE newsroom employees 

Medium: Between 6 and 20 FTE newsroom employees 

Large: 21-45 or more FTE newsroom employees 

X-Large: 46 plus FTE newsroom employees 

Note: Magazine print page designs have their own category in the Magazine section. Magazine  photos and online illustrations/graphics should be submitted to the Photo & Design section. Note: Photos must have been published in a publication. Submit a link to a website where the photo  was published. If it only appeared in print, please submit a PDF of the page it was printed on in addition to the original image JPG. 

Categories: 

Feature Photography: One candid photo that reflects a person, trend, issue, or event beyond basic  news. 

General News Photography: One photo of a planned news event. 

Graphics & Illustrations: Submit up to three pieces of original graphics or illustrations related to a single topic or article. These could have been published either in print or online.

Photo Essay: A collection of six to 12 images that explore a common theme or story.

Photo Portfolio: A selection of up to 20 images from any one photojournalist. Please submit up to 10  images from one series or project, and up to 10 single images. 

Portrait Photography: One photo that captures a human subject.

Print Page Design: Submit up to three examples of print page design. These can be published on  different days and reflect different sections of the newspaper. NOTE: Magazines can submit their print designs into the Magazine section under the category called Magazine Print Page Design.

Sports Action Photography: One photo of a sports figure, trend, issue, or event in action.

Spot News Photography: One photo of an unplanned breaking news event. 

AUDIO 

Size divisions: 

Small: 25 or fewer FTE newsroom employees 

Large: 26 or more FTE newsroom employees 

Categories: 

General Excellence in Radio: Submit the ten best audio pieces that were published or aired in the  month of May 2023. 

Audio Series: A selection of podcasts or audio stories featuring continued reporting on one subject.  Submit no more than 30 minutes of audio. If the project is longer than 30 minutes, select pieces that  reflect the best of the series. Multi-year series should be submitted according to the year that they  concluded. 

Breaking News: An audio story or segment covering any one breaking news story as it occurs. 

Crime & Law Enforcement Reporting: A single podcast or audio story related to courts, crime or  other facets of the criminal justice system. 

Environment & Natural Disaster Reporting: A single podcast or audio story about the environment  or natural disasters. 

Feature, Hard News: A single podcast or audio story about a traditionally hard news subject, like  public policy, criminal justice or business. 

Feature, Soft News: A single podcast or audio story about a traditionally soft news subject, like art,  entertainment or lifestyles. 

Government & Politics Reporting: A single podcast or audio story about government affairs or  public policy. 

Health Reporting: A single podcast or audio story about people, trends, issues or events related to  health, including mental health and public health. May submit up to three pieces, such as a main article and sidebar, or an initial story and follow-up coverage. 

Investigative Reporting: A selection of podcasts or audio stories featuring in-depth, investigative  reporting on one subject. Submit no more than 30 minutes of audio. If the project is longer than 30  minutes, select pieces that reflect the best of the investigation. 

LGBTQ+ Equity Reporting: A single podcast or audio story that addresses social inequities related  to people in the LGBTQ+ community. 

Racial Equity Reporting: A single podcast or audio story that addresses social inequities related to  race or ethnicity. 

Technology & Science Reporting: A single podcast or audio story about people, trends, issues or  events related to technology or science reporting.

VIDEO 

Size divisions: 

Small: 25 or fewer FTE newsroom employees 

Large: 26 or more FTE newsroom employees 

Categories: 

General Excellence in Television: Submit the ten best television pieces that were broadcast in the  month of May 2023. 

Breaking News: A single video or television segment of any one breaking news story as it occurs. 

Feature, Hard News: A single video or television segment reporting a feature connected to a hard  news subject, such as public policy, business or criminal justice. 

Feature, Soft News: A single video or television segment reporting a feature connected to a soft  news subject, like arts, entertainment or lifestyles. 

General Assignment — Pre-Produced: A single video or television segment on general news  reporting that is not breaking news. 

General Assignment — Same day: A single video or television segment on general news reporting  published on a fast turnaround. 

Investigative Reporting: Videos or television segments that include in-depth reporting on a single  topic, issue, or person that identifies a problem. Submit no more than 30 minutes of video. If the  project is longer than 30 minutes, select pieces that reflect the best of the investigation.

Sports: A single video or television segment on sports reporting. 

Video Series: A multi-part video or television series that explores a common theme or story. Submit  no more than 30 minutes of video. If the project is longer than 30 minutes, select pieces that reflect  the best of the series. Multi-year series should be submitted according to the year that they  concluded. 

AT LARGE – There are no newsroom-size designations for these categories. 

Categories: 

Column: Excellence in writing, reporting, story and development in a regular column written by the  same person over time. Must provide three columns.  

Multimedia Storytelling: A story or stories on one subject that reflects a commitment to multimedia  storytelling. This can include a variety of written articles, videos, podcasts, interactive web graphics, a  live event or other components. Please submit no more than five examples.  

Collaboration: A multi-part series or collection of stories between two or more newsrooms that  explores a common theme or story. These newsrooms could be under the same owner. Submissions  should include between three and five pieces, such as an article, audio segments, videos or sidebars. If the project includes more than five pieces, including sidebars or other accompaniments, select the strongest collection of material. Multi-year series should be submitted according to the year that they concluded. 

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