2022 Excellence in Journalism Awards

Our contest is now open!

You can begin submitting entries in the 2022 contest. This year we are using the Better Newspapers Contest platform (also known as BetterBNC). It will provide a much smoother entry process, and one that many of you are already familiar with from other contests. If you already have an Open Call account on BNC, just go to this link to log in.

You’ll see this log-in screen.

Once you’ve submitted your information to the contest, the contest administrators will verify your eligibility to submit entries, and you’ll receive an email confirming that your account has been enabled for our contest.

If you already have an Open Call Contestant login, use it. If you don’t, just click the link at the lower right corner of the login screen that says “Create your Open Call Account.” You’ll see a screen that looks like this.

Fill out all the necessary information and click the submit button.

Once your contestant account has been enabled by the contest administrators, search the list of contests for NJ-SPJ 2022 Excellence in Journalism Awards. (Depending on your previous participation in contests, you may see more than one contest option, including past contests you entered.)

You can enter as many categories as you want. When you have finished submitting entries, you’ll calculate your fees and go to a checkout page on our website to pay for your entries using a major debit/credit card or Paypal. Simple as that.

When you have finished submitting entries, you’ll calculate your fees and click the link to go to a checkout page on our website to pay for your entries using a major debit/credit card or Paypal. It’s as simple as that.

If you have any problems or questions, please email 2022contest@njspj.org.


Here are the rules and criteria for the 2022 Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Journalists who regularly cover the Garden State have kept their communities informed as a once in a lifetime pandemic continued. Beyond the pandemic, they continued to cover the business of the state or a municipality, shined a spotlight on a community wrong and highlighted the joy among communities. Also, they covered an election that turned out to be a tighter contest than expected.

To borrow a cliché, the news continued…

The 2022 New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism contest aims to honor the best coverage of the state, from the cities to the shore.

For this year, the contest has been revamped with new categories added to highlight coverage of business, government, the arts and coverage of cities and suburbs. We also wanted to honor Spanish-language coverage and encourage the next generation of journalists, in conjunction with the Garden State Scholastic Press Association.

Also, we are introducing divisions to establish fair competition among entries. For example, if you wrote a story for TapInto, you will not be competing against the Star-Ledger.

Our goal in revamping the contest is to not only encourage more people to enter, but to recognize coverage of the Garden State from the outlets based in New Jersey as well as our neighbors in New York City and Philadelphia.

If you have any questions about the contest, reach out to our contest co- chairpersons: Alyssa Nancy Lidman at alyssa.nancy.lidman@gmail.com or P. Kenneth Burns at kenneth.burns@outlook.com.

Download this eligibility information and contest categories in a PDF file.

ELIGIBILITY:

This contest is open to all news outlets who regularly covers New Jersey.

A journalist is not required to be a resident of New Jersey so long as their work focuses on New Jersey, its issues and its communities.

Outlets based in Pennsylvania and New York are encouraged to submit entries of their coverage of New Jersey.

Entries for the competition must have been published or aired between Jan. 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2021

DEADLINE TO ENTER:

Because of technical issues getting the contest started, the deadline will be extended appropriately, but will not be earlier than May 18, 2022.

GENERAL RULES:

  1. Submitting the same entry in different categories is strictly prohibited, except in categories where a compilation of work is required.
  2. There is no limit to the number of entries that can be made in each
  3. Judges may shift a story to a category deemed more appropriate.
  4. Judging of entries will be performed by an out-of-state SPJ Chapter, unless otherwise
  5. All contest entries become property of NJ-SPJ
  6. Contestants agree to let us reproduce their work for the purpose of promoting future

FEES:

$20 for SPJ members

$25 for non-SPJ members

Fees are non-refundable. Entries without payment will not be considered. Proceeds will be used to fund NJ-SPJ programs.

DIVISIONS:

Metro Division – New York and Philadelphia Outlets

  • M1 – Print-based outlets
  • M2 – Radio and Television Stations licensed to towns outside of New Spanish-language television network-owned stations licensed to New Jersey towns are included in this division.
  • M3 – Digital-based outlets

Garden State Division – New Jersey-based Outlets

  • GS1 – Print-based publications
  • GS2 – Radio and Television Stations who are licensed to towns in New Spanish-language television network-owned stations licensed to New Jersey towns are excluded in this division due to their inclusion in the Metro Division. Cable networks based in New Jersey are INCLUDED in this division.
  • GS3 – Digital-based outlets

Categories

  1. BEST INVESTIGATIVE STORY An individual, series or ongoing story that exposes wrongdoing or provides a public service by examining a community issue/problem.
  2. BEST COVERAGE OF STATE GOVERNMENT Entries must demonstrate a commitment to covering the governor, Legislature, state agencies and other entities of the government. This is not just for daily coverage, but watchdog coverage and connecting the dots between the government and the residents of the Garden State.
  3. BEST COVERAGE OF MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT Entries must demonstrate a commitment to covering the mayor, municipal council and related entities. This is not just for daily coverage, but watchdog coverage and connecting the dots between the government and the residents of the
  4. BEST NEWS SERIES Entries should exhibit coverage of a single topic over a number of stories/segments.
  5. BEST SPORTS FEATURE A single story or series of stories on a person or topic. Non-game coverage is eligible for this
  6. BEST BUSINESS/CONSUMER STORY Any story that focuses on either a business or consumer
  7. BEST BREAKING NEWS COVERAGE Entries should demonstrate one day’s coverage of an unplanned, unexpected news
  8. BEST IN-DEPTH REPORTING Any story that focuses on the following: a person, group of people, a community, a significant news event or significant community
  9. BEST CONTINUING COVERAGE Entries should demonstrate commitment to coverage of a major story that requires more than one day’s worth of reporting. This category is for general news topics outside of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  10. SPECIAL CATEGORY: BEST COVID COVERAGE Entries should demonstrate coverage of the pandemic outside of daily briefings. Coverage should include, but not be limited, to stories about those on the front lines, people in recovery from COVID, acts of kindness, public service
  11. BEST ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT COVERAGE Entries should emphasize coverage of arts and entertainment in New Jersey demonstrating thoroughness, diversity and mastery of
  12. BEST PODCAST The best digital-first program, not simply what aired. It can be an interview or a produced program.
  13. BEST DIGITAL NEWS VIDEO For excellence in video for digital-based platforms. Entries should demonstrate the best quality and imagination in telling the story.
  14. BEST NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY (PRINT ONLY) One photo, published in any format. Entries should demonstrate the skills of the photographer in capturing the story.
  15. BEST TELEVISION NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY For excellence in television news Entries should demonstrate the best quality and imagination in capturing the story.
  16. BEST USE OF SOUND FOR RADIO NEWS STORY Entries should demonstrate technical skill and creativity to tell a story. Entry is limited to 15
  17. REPORTER OF THE YEAR Entry should highlight an individual’s work during the
  18. BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY A stand- alone film/video that addresses an issue, topic or subject that is 30 minutes or
  19. BEST LONG DOCUMENTARY A stand-alone film/video that addresses an issue, topic or subject that is longer than a half
  20. THE AMIRI BARAKA AWARD FOR BEST COVERAGE OF CITIES AND SUBURBS This award is for the best coverage of issues affecting New Jersey cities and their suburbs, particularly those in the same county. Entries should not be about law enforcement, which generally gets ample coverage in suburban media. Entries can be about anything else: Business, housing, health, education, infrastructure, the arts…anything that affects the vitality of cities and
  21. BEST NEW YORK TELEVISION COVERAGE OF NEW JERSEY
  22. BEST PHILADELPHIA TELEVISION STORY COVERAGE OF NEW JERSEY
  23. BEST NEW YORK RADIO STORY COVERAGE OF NEW JERSEY
  24. BEST PHILADELPHIA RADIO STORY COVERAGE OF NEW JERSE

2022 Excellence in Journalism Awards Student Competition
in conjunction with the Garden State Scholastic Press Association

The New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists in conjunction with the Garden State Scholastic Press Association are proud to offer awards to students for work on their student publications.

Middle and high school students will be competing for cash prizes in the following categories:

  • BEST NEWS STORY
  • BEST SPORTS STORY
  • STUDENT REPORTER OF THE YEAR Students must submit a portfolio of 3-5 stories with a recommendation from their journalism teacher/faculty sponsor supporting their

Entries, overall, must demonstrate journalism basics (who, what, when, where, why and how) in reporting a story of interest to their classmates.

Winning entries will receive $50 for middle school students and $100 for high school students.