The Pulitzer board did not award a prize for feature writing this year.
The Poynter Institute’s Roy Peter Clark, a former Pulitzer juror and a friend of features folks, speculated this week that part of the reason for the snub is that features journalism is a bit hard to define.
What is features writing anyway?
Members of our organization, the Society for Features Journalism, produce some of the finest narrative storytelling in journalism. Some of us drive cultural and artistic discussions in our communities. Many of us still tell stories no one else would spend to time to do.
And, yes, some of us are writing celebrity blogs, compiling Top 10 lists, making how-to videos, posting reality show recaps and cooking up crazy reader contests.
It’s all features.
Features writers, editors and producers have been rattled by the recession and the changes in the news industry. Arts critics are rare these days, and features sections have been decimated or eliminated.
But know this: Many of the survivors — lifestyle and arts and entertainment journalists — are leading newsrooms into a digital age and finding new ways to reach out to readers and tell stories. Innovative work in newsrooms is being driven by the features staffs, who, through powerful and resourceful storytelling, learned the hard way to create something exciting, often from nothing.
Quality features journalism is spreading beyond traditional print newsrooms. Some of the recent winners in our SFJ national writing awards were from CNN and Today.com.
Did features journalism take a hit Monday when the Pulitzer board decided to withhold a prize in features writing?
Features Editor, The State, Columbia, SC
P.S. SFJ guarantees prizes in its annual writing and best section contest. Enter by clicking here
We’re all about bringing good news on tax day. We are extending the deadline for entry in the 26th Annual Excellence in Features Journalism Awards!
Take a deep breath … you have one more week to pull together your best work. If you’ve waited to look over the contest rules and the submission guidelines, check them out here.
We have new categories too: Narrative Storytelling, Blog Portfolio and Digital Innovation, along with your old favorites.
THE NEW CONTEST DEADLINE: April 25, 2014
We hope the new contest platform makes it easier to submit, but if you have questions, we’re here for you! Please email your faithful contest committee: Suzy Leonard: firstname.lastname@example.org and Jim Haag: email@example.com.
SFJ’s Penny Bender Fuchs Diversity Fellowship Program is seeking applications from journalists of color who are interested in attending our annual conference, happening Aug. 20-23 at the Freedom Forum in Nashville. Programming will have heavy emphasis on multimedia, leadership and writing.
Diversity fellows learn what’s happening in features departments nationwide while networking with outstanding journalists specializing in lifestyle coverage. Fellowships cover SFJ conference registration, airfare and hotel. Fellows will also receive a $300 stipend to be used toward conference-related expenses such as baggage and transportation fees and meals not covered by the conference.
Fellows are asked to contribute to the conference by completing a project and presenting a short report to the group at the conclusion of the event.
The 2014 SFJ Excellence-in-Features Awards is now taking entries. We’re using an online system this year, which we hope will make the experience less cumbersome. Here’s how to get started:
For details on the categories, check out the BNC site or find them under the “Contest” heading here labeled “26th annual Excellence in Features Journalism.”
The deadline for entries is April 18.
Also, this year we have three new categories:
Narrative Storytelling: A single story told in a narrative style, using techniques such as character development, use of dialogue, sense of place, scene building, narrative arc and adherence to theme. Sidebars accepted. Each entry consists of one story. All entries, regardless of circulation group, compete in one group.Blog Portfolio: Three blog posts by the same writer on any feature topic, including commentary and reviews. Each entry consists of three blog posts. All entries, regardless of circulation group, compete in one group.Digital Innovation: New or improved online ventures, which can include new or upgraded websites, apps, social-media experiments or other ways to share information in the digital world. Entries will be judged on creativity and impact. Must include a description of no more than 250 words on how the innovation came about, its goals and its success. Submit explanation as a Word document attachment. One entry consists of one innovation, such as an app or a website. All entries, regardless of circulation group, compete in one group.
According to JournalismDegree.org, they are among the “151 Twitters Worth A Follow” in its recently released “Best in #Journalism” list.
So the Society for Feature Journalism — @WeAreSFJ — is in good company at spot #106!
Here’s JournalismDegree’s description of our Twitter account: “The Society of Features Journalism helps journalists refine their craft through some of the most innovative posts across the internet. They’re incredibly active in retweeting other notable journalism publications, which only makes their feed stronger.”
JournalismDegree.org describes itself as “a site dedicated to providing timely and relevant information about journalism degrees and programs.”
It decided to put out this list because of Twitter’s effect on journalism.
“These are some of the journalists, bloggers, and news organizations that are pushing the limits of what can be accomplished with Twitter,” the site explains. “Budding journalists and seasoned pros should be following every one of these accounts.”
Thank you! We are honored to have been included on this list and we’ll keep tweeting away.