This contest is open to all news outlets who cover New Jersey. Outlets based in New Jersey compete in the Garden State Division. Outlets based in Philadelphia or New York, along with national outlets compete in the Metro Division. Content producers are not required to live in New Jersey.
Entries must have been published or aired during the 2022 calendar year and should be focused on New Jersey. Regional-focused entries with a New Jersey connection are permitted.
DEADLINE TO ENTER:
Entries must be received online by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 14, 2023.
How Do I Enter?
If you entered last year or have entered another contest on the Better Newspaper Contest entry platform previously, you can go directly to the contest here.
If you need to review them, instructions for using the Better Newspaper Contest entry platform are here.
- One first place and one second place award is made in each category. Finalists will be announced prior to the awards ceremony, but winners will not be announced until the Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony.
- Outlets are allowed to publicize their finalists prior to the awards ceremony.
- Finalists, or representative(s) for finalists, must be present at awards ceremony to receive award or be subject to a fee to mail award(s).
- Submitting the same entry in different categories is strictly prohibited, except in categories where a compilation of work is required.
- There is no limit to the number of entries that can be made in each category.
- Judges may shift a story to a category deemed more appropriate.
- Entries may not be re-edited and must appear as published and/or aired.
- Judging of entries will be performed by an out-of-state SPJ Chapter, unless otherwise noted.
- All contest entries become property of NJ-SPJ.
- Contestants agree to let us reproduce their work for the purpose of promoting future contests.
Early Bird Fee (Feb. 15 – Feb.27): $35 per entry
Regular Fee (Mar. 1 – Mar. 31): $50 per entry
Last Chance Fee (Apr. 1 – Apr. 14): $60 per entry
NJ-SPJ members are eligible for a $10 discount if they are a member of both national SPJ AND NJ-SPJ. Fees are non-refundable. Entries without payment will not be considered. Proceeds will be used to fund NJ-SPJ programs.
Metro Division – National, New York and Philadelphia Outlets
- M1 – Print-based outlets
- M2 – Radio and Television Stations licensed to towns outside of New Jersey. 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 Jersey. 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
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. Entries are limited to seven stories.
3. Best Coverage of COUNTY Government Entries must demonstrate a commitment to covering the county executive, county commissioners and other related entities. This is not just for daily coverage, but watchdog coverage and connecting the dots between the government and the residents of the Garden State. Entries are limited to seven stories.
4. 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 municipality. Entries are limited to seven stories.
5. Best News Series Entries should exhibit coverage of a single topic over several stories/segments.
6. Best Sports Feature A single story or series of stories on a person or topic. Non-game coverage is eligible for this category.
7. Best Business/Consumer Story Any story that focuses on either a business or consumer concern.
8. Best Breaking News COVERAGE Entries should demonstrate one day’s coverage of an unplanned, unexpected news event in New Jersey.
9. 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 problem.
10. Best Continuing Coverage Entries should demonstrate commitment to coverage of a major story that requires more than one day’s worth of reporting.
11. Best Arts and Entertainment Coverage Entries should emphasize coverage of arts and entertainment in New Jersey demonstrating thoroughness, diversity, and mastery of coverage.
12. Best Podcast The best digital-first audio program. 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 This category is for print-based and digital based outlets. Entry is of one photo that demonstrates the skills of the photographer in capturing the story.
15. Best Television News Photography For excellence in television news photography. 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 minutes.
17. Reporter of the Year Entry should highlight an individual’s work during the year.
18. Best Short Documentary A stand-alone film/video that addresses an issue, topic or subject that is 30 minutes or shorter.
19. Best Long Documentary A stand-alone film/video that addresses an issue, topic or subject that is longer than a half hour.
20. The Amiri Baraka Award for Best Coverage of Cities and Suburbs This award honors the best coverage of an issue that affects a New Jersey city and its vicinity (suburbs), outside of law enforcement and criminal justice issues. Entries are limited to seven stories.
21. Best Public Affairs Show (TV and Radio) This award is for the best regularly scheduled program focusing on New Jersey. Time limit: 60 minutes; please remove commercials/breaks
Entries for categories 22-25 should be presented as a portfolio. It should include a letter explaining coverage and a combination of stories (daily, in-depth and/or investigative) that focuses on New Jersey. Please limit portfolios to seven stories.
22. Best New York Television coverage of New Jersey
23. Best Philadelphia Television Story coverage of New Jersey
24. Best New York Radio Story coverage of New Jersey
25. Best Philadelphia Radio Story coverage of New Jersey
Spanish Language Categories
26. Best general coverage, Spanish This category is for print and digital based outlets. Entries should demonstrate best overall coverage of New Jersey with stories of interest to their audience
Entries are limited to seven stories.
Mejor cobertura general en español: Esta categoría es para medios impresos y digitales. Las notas postuladas deben demostrar la mejor cobertura general de Nueva Jersey con historias de interés para su audiencia. Las postulaciones están limitadas a siete historias.
27. Best investigative coverage, Spanish An individual, series or ongoing story that exposes wrongdoing or provides a public service by examining a community issue/problem affecting the Spanish-speaking community. Entries are limited to seven stories.
Mejor Cobertura de Investigación, En Español: Una historia individual, en serie de notas o una investigación en curso que expone irregularidades o proporciona un servicio público al examinar un tema/problema en la comunidad que afecta a la comunidad de habla hispana. Las postulaciones están limitadas a siete historias.
28. BEST PUBLIC AFFAIRS SHOWS, SPANISH This award is for the best regularly scheduled Spanish-language program on radio or television that focuses on New Jersey. Time limit: 60 minutes; please remove commercials/breaks
Mejores Programas de asuntos públicos en español: Este premio es para el mejor programa trasmitido regularmente en español en radio o televisión que se enfoca en Nueva Jersey. Límite de tiempo: 60 minutos; por favor, retire los comerciales/pausas.
Entries for categories 28-29 should be presented as a portfolio. It should include a letter explaining coverage and a combination of stories (daily, in-depth and/or investigative) that focuses on New Jersey. Please limit portfolios to seven stories.
Las postulaciones para las categorías 28-29 deben presentarse como un portafolio. Deberá incluir una carta explicando la cobertura y una combinación de historias (diarias, profundas e/o investigativas) que se centren en Nueva Jersey. Por favor, limite los portafolios a siete historias.
29. Best New York Spanish Television coverage of New Jersey Mejor cobertura de televisión en español de Nueva Jersey en Nueva York.
30. Best Philadelphia Spanish Television Story coverage of New Jersey Mejor historia de televisión en español de Filadelfia sobre la cobertura de Nueva Jersey.