SOCIETY OF FEATURES JOURNALISM HONORS THE BEST IN ITS FIELD
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES:
Betsey Guzior, SFJ President, 803-771-8441
Merrilee Cox, SFJ Executive Director, 301-314-2631
The Society for Features Journalism has honored four Pulitzer Prize winners and three Pulitzer finalists as part of its 2014 Excellence-in-Features Awards contest.
Also receiving awards were nine newspapers for outstanding features sections and journalists in 14 other categories. Contest winners were announced today.
More than 600 entries were judged in the contest, which honors the craft of feature storytelling and the people who do it for a living at news organizations and wire services in the United States and Canada.
Pulitzer Prize winners who won SFJ awards included:
–Liz Balmaseda of the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, who place first in arts-and-entertainment commentary in the small newspaper division. She won a Pulitzer for commentary in 1993.
–Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post, who placed first in SFJ’S Arts and Entertainment Commentary Portfolio category in the large-newspaper division. He received a Pulitzer for criticism in 2013.
–Eli Saslow of the Washington Post, who placed first in Narrative Writing in the large-newspaper division for “Into the Lonely Quiet,” a poignant look at a family who lost a child in the Newton, Conn., school shooting. He won a Pulitzer this year for Explanatory Reporting.
–Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post, who placed second for his General Commentary Portfolio in the large-newspaper division. He has won two Pulitzers for Feature Writing.
Others honored by SFJ included this year’s three Pulitzer Feature Writing finalists, a category in which no award was given. They are:
–Scott Farwell of the Dallas Morning News, who won SFJ’s Series or Project award in the large-newspaper division for “The Girl in the Closet,” a series about a woman’s efforts to lead a normal life after years of severe abuse. He was a Pulitzer Feature Writing finalist for that series.
–Christopher Goffard of the Los Angeles Times, who placed first and second in SFJ’s General Feature category. He was a Feature Writing finalist for “The Manhunt for Christopher Dormer,” which was not entered in SFJ’s contest.
–Mark Johnson of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who was the writer of the series “The Course of Their Lives,” which earned two SFJ awards. He was a Pulitzer Feature Writing finalist for that series.
Also winning awards was Carlos Frias, who was an SFJ Diversity Fellow last year. Frias, of the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, received honors in General Feature, Short Feature and for his body of work in General Commentary and Feature Specialty Writing.
Winning best-section honors in the small-newspaper category (circulation of 90,000 or less) were the Colorado Springs Gazette, Edmonton (Canada) Journal and Portland (Maine) Press Herald.
In the medium-size category (circulation of 90,001 to 199,999), the winners were the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram, St. Louis Post Dispatch and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk.
Winners in the large-newspaper category (circulation of 200,000 and above) were the Los Angeles Times, Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Washington Post.
Among smaller newspapers, those receiving the most awards were the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, with nine, and the Edmonton (Canada) Journal and (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union, with seven apiece. In the middle-sized newspaper category, the big winners were The Virginian-Pilot with 10 awards, CNN.com with five and the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman with four. In the large-newspaper category, the Washington Post received 13 honors, the Los Angeles Times won 11 and the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times had nine.
SFJ will recognize the winners at its national conference Aug. 20-23 in Nashville. SFJ is an organization that promotes and celebrates features journalism.
For a complete list of this year’s winners, please see this link: http://featuresjournalism.org/sfj-26th-annual-contest-winners-by-category
FOR CONTEST INQUIRIES:
Suzy Fleming Leonard, contest co-chair, 321-543-4261
Jim Haag, contest co-chair, 757-446-2977
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: May 2, 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: email@example.com and Jim Haag: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
SFJ would like to recognize the wonderful work being done on a daily basis by you and your colleagues around the country. The full list of winners can be found on our contest page.
All winners will be formally recognized at our annual conference at Poynter in October.
Congratulations one and all!