Contests

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The 27th annual Society for Features Journalism Excellence-in-Features Awards honor the craft of feature storytelling and the people who do it for a living at news organizations and wire services. All entries must have been published in print or online between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2014.

To enter the contest, visit the Better Newspaper Contest website at http://www.betternewspapercontest.com, and click on “Contestant Login” in the upper right hand portion of the screen. In the window that opens, enter your information and select “2015 Society for Features Journalism Excellence-in-Features Awards” from the list of contests. The site includes instructions on how to submit entries.

First-place winners in each category will receive $300. Winners will be announced in June and honored at SFJ’s national conference at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.

The cost of each entry is $45 for all writing, online and video entries; $60 in the Best Niche Product and Best Features Section categories; and $25 for student entries.

There’s a new category, Sports Feature, and a couple of rule changes. Videos now can be as long as 8 minutes in length. And entries for Best Section and Best Niche Product must include PDFs of the covers as well as hard copies. Best Section and Best Niche products are the only categories that also must include actual-copy entries; the category rules on the BNC site explain where to mail them. All other categories, including all of the writing ones, are judged electronically; entries can be uploaded as PDFs, JPEGs, Word documents or other files; the rules will explain what types of files are accepted.

NOTE: Past entrants should be in the system, but some publications were inexplicably deleted from the system. If you are unable to log in using a previous password, try creating a new one.

We’ve extended the deadline until April 24, 2015, for entries in the SFJ Features Contest. For details, go to betternewspapercontest.com.

 

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General Feature

Feature treatment of any A&E, lifestyles or news topic. Entries can be a single trend story, profile, interview, news feature or general feature of 1,000 words or more. Sidebars accepted. Each entry consists of one story. Multiple bylines accepted.

Arts & Entertainment Feature

Feature treatment of an arts and entertainment topic – such as architecture, art, books, dance, movies, music, opera, television or theater. Entries can be a single trend story, interview or feature story. Each entry consists of one story.

Short Feature

Tight, bright writing of fewer than 1,000 words. A word count is required with each entry; entries exceeding the limit will be disqualified. Each entry consists of one story.

Feature Series or Project

Feature treatment of any lifestyle, A&E or news topic that has multiple parts. Sidebars accepted. Can include a written explanation of not more than 250 words on how the story was reported. Each entry consists of the stories that comprise the series or project. Multiple bylines accepted.

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.

Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio

Three stories by the same writer on one features specialty topic, such as arts and entertainment, fashion, food, health, religion, technology or travel. Entries can be trend stories, profiles, interviews, news features, general features or narratives covering the same specialty topic. Columns and commentary are excluded. Each entry consists of three stories from the same writer.

General Commentary Portfolio

A collection of three columns or essays by the same writer on any human interest or specialty topic, excluding editorials. Each entry consists of three examples of the writer’s work, showing a range of reporting styles.

Arts & Entertainment Commentary Portfolio

A collection of three columns, essays or reviews by the same writer on any arts and entertainment topic, including dining reviews but excluding editorials. Each entry consists of three examples of the writer’s work.

Sports Feature

Feature treatment of any sports topic. Entries can be a trend story, interview or feature story. Each entry consists of one story.

Blog Portfolio

Three blog posts by the same writer on any feature topic, including commentary and reviews. Each entry consists of three blog posts.

Headline Writing Portfolio

A collection of three headlines and accompanying decks by the same writer for feature stories or columns. Headlines must be attached to the stories or columns and can be accompanied by related visuals. Entries will be judged on clarity, accuracy and creativity. One entry consists of three headlines and accompanying decks and stories. All entries, regardless of circulation group, compete in one group.

Video Storytelling

The coverage of any A&E, lifestyle or specialty topic using a single video of not more than 8 minutes in length. Entries should demonstrate emotion, humanity or humor. One entry consists of one video.

Integrated Storytelling

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic told through the integrated use of print, online, social media, video and any other platform. One entry consists of the package of stories and other elements used to cover the topic.

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.

Best Niche Product

The best examples of a niche product – such as a magazine or special section – published at least two times a year. Submit two issues of the same niche product from the 2014 calendar year. Two copies of each issue are required, as are PDFs from the covers of both of the submitted entries. One entry consists of two copies of each of the two issues and the two PDFs. On the back of each issue, Entries should be placed in a plain manila envelope, print and attach the entry label, which automatically appears after each entry is submitted. Mail entries to Andrew Nynka, Society for Features Journalism, 1100 Knight Hall, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Entries must be postmarked by April 17, 2015.

Best Section

The best your publication has to offer in A&E, features and lifestyle coverage. Submit five sections from the 2014 calendar year. One must be an arts-and-entertainment-themed section, and one must be a Sunday section. (If your publication doesn’t print on Sunday, submit one section from Saturday or from your premiere weekly section and add a note of explanation). The other three are the editor’s choice from regularly appearing features sections. Two hard copies of each section are required. One entry consists of two copies of each of the five sections and PDFs of three of the submitted section fronts. Entries should be placed in a plain manila envelope, and print and attach the entry label, which automatically appears after each entry is submitted.

Mail entries to:
Andrew Nynka, Society for Features Journalism
1100 Knight Hall, Philip Merrill College of Journalism
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Entries must be postmarked by April 17, 2015. Also, attach PDFs of the front or cover page from three of the submitted entries.

Student General Feature

Feature treatment of any A&E, lifestyles or news topic originally published in a student publication, either in print or online. Entries can be a single trend story, profile, interview, news feature or general feature. Sidebars accepted. Each entry consists of one story. Multiple bylines accepted.

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