This award goes to the print weekly or local website that does the best, most comprehensive job covering the community which it serves.
In her long and continuing service to NJ-SPJ, Barbara Reed, a retired Rutgers University journalism professor, has been a strong advocate for grassroots journalism in New Jersey. This award encourages local news outlets to continue this, an effort that will also strengthen the bonds between NJ-SPJ and those working at the local level.
This award is meant to honor the best in grassroots journalism, meaning publications, whether in print or online, that cover local communities exclusively. So, neither daily newspapers nor statewide publications of any kind should apply.
Criteria include quantity and quality of investigative and/or explanatory projects, diversity in covering community events, depth and nuance in covering breaking stories, recognition that a town or a county or a group of towns are not isolated places but part of a larger world, and other distinguishing characteristics.
Competitors will submit five issues if they are a print weekly, or five distinct cover pages if they are entirely web-based. An exceptional job in one area may outweigh other areas: for example, a site that does well doing investigative stories may overcome its lack of community events coverage.
Awards shall be made for first, second and third place. Nominees may submit separately for the Awbrey Award – in other words, submitting for one would not disqualify you for submitting for the other.
NOTE: If your work cannot be submitted digitally, please contact our contest coordinator Alyssa Lidman, email@example.com and she will arrange for a way to submit your hard copies via USPS.