SFJ’s 25th Annual Excellence in Feature Writing Contest
25th Annual SFJ Excellence in Feature Writing Contest
The SFJ Excellence-in-Features awards honor the craft of feature writing and the people who do it for a living at news organizations and wire services. Winners of the 25th Annual contest will be announced in May and honored at SFJ’s national conference at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, FL., on Oct. 9-12, 2013
WHEN IS THE DEADLINE?
All entries must be submitted electronically by March 29, 2013.
WHAT ARE THE PRIZES?
First-place winners in each category in all three circulation divisions will receive $300.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
Any freelancer or writer whose work appears in a newspaper, on a news website or wire service in the United States or Canada may enter. Stories written by more than one writer are eligible in the general feature and series/project categories.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
Fees are $45 for general features, $35 for all other categories except student entries, which are $25. Find information on how to pay below.
SFJ has three circulation divisions (use official daily average Audit Bureau of Circulation figures as of Sept. 30, 2012, to determine your division):
- (1) up to 90,000
- (2) 90,001 to 199,999
- (3) 200,000 and up
- Wire service entries must be submitted in Division 3.
- Online-only publication entries must be submitted in Division 2.
Please note: Writing entries must have appeared between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2012. Blog posts and other content published only on the Internet can be entered in all writing categories.
- General Feature: Feature treatment of any lifestyle, A&E or news topic. Entries can be trend stories, profiles, interviews, news features, general features or narrative stories of 1,000 words or more. Sidebars are encouraged. Please include any box or sidebar that explains how the story was reported. Multiple bylines accepted.
- Arts/Entertainment Feature: Feature treatment of any arts and entertainment topic (on movies, music, dance, art, architecture, television, books, theater, opera, etc.). Entries can be trend stories, profiles, interviews, feature stories or narratives. Series or packages not eligible.
- Arts/Entertainment Commentary: A collection of columns, essays or reviews on any arts and entertainment topic, including dining reviews but excluding editorials. One entry in this category consists of three examples of the writer’s work.
- Feature Specialty Reporting: Three examples from one specialty topic such as religion, health, technology, fashion, travel, food, arts and entertainment, etc. Examples can include trend stories, profiles, interviews, news features, general features or narratives from the same specialty topic. Excluded are columns and commentary. Three examples represent one entry.
- General Commentary: A collection of columns or essays on any human interest or specialty topic from any section of the paper, excluding editorials. One entry in this category consists of three examples of the writer’s work, showing a range of personal and reporting styles.
- Headline Writing: Entries consist of three examples of an individual’s headlines and any accompanying decks. Examples should be submitted attached to the story (though the entire story is not required) and can be accompanied by related visuals. Judges will choose the best entry — not the best, single headline — based on clarity, accuracy and creativity. ALL entries in this category, regardless of circulation division, will be considered in one group.
- Series or Project: Feature treatment of any lifestyle, A&E or news topic that has multiple parts. Sidebars are encouraged. Please include any box or sidebar that explains how the story was reported. Multiple bylines accepted.
- Short Feature: Tight, bright writing of fewer than 1,000 words. (About 1½ standard newspaper columns in 9-point type.) No series packages or sidebars. A word count is required with each entry in this category (see entry form). Each word is included in the 1,000-word count, and entries with more than 1,000 words will be disqualified.
- NEW! Video Storytelling: Lifestyle, entertainment or other feature topics covered using video. Entries should demonstrate humor, emotion, or humanity and/or could also provide information or instruction to the viewer. Videos should be no longer than five minutes.
- NEW! Integrated Storytelling: Feature treatment of any lifestyle, A&E or news topic, told through print, online, social media, video or via another information platform.
- NEW! Student General Feature: Feature treatment of any lifestyle, A&E or news topic. Entries can be trend stories, profiles, interviews, news features, general features or narrative stories of 1,000 words or more. Sidebars may be included. Entries must be published first in a student publication, either in print or online. Include any box or sidebar that explains how the story was reported. Multiple bylines are accepted.
HOW DO I ENTER?
Writing entries must have appeared in a newspapers or websites between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2012.
- Entries for writing categories are accepted in two forms: PDFs of original published copies or a web URL (entry must be live during the judging process). Enter using the entry forms below.
- Writers may submit UP TO THREE entries per category (in the feature specialty reporting, general commentary and arts/entertainment coverage categories, one entry consists of more than one sample). There is no limit to the number of entries each newspaper may submit.
- A single story may be entered in no more than two categories. For example, a narrative of less than 1,000 words could be entered in both general and short feature. But two separate entries must be submitted.
Step One: Enter Information
Please complete one form for each entry.
Step Two: Attach PDF file(s)
Please include your category and division in the subject line of the e-mail
Click here to attach your PDF file(s).
Step Three: Payment
Entry fee: $45 for general features, $35 for all other categories except student entries which are $25. Use PayPal, a credit card or mail a check made to SJF. Postmark by March 29, 2013 for all entries. The Tax Identification Number is 94-294-1661. Mailing address:
SFJ / AASFE
1100 Knight Hall
Merrill College of Journalism
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
If paying by PayPal or credit card, please add a $5 service fee to your total. To send funds via PayPal, log on to the site, click the “Send Money” tab and send your fees plus $5 to email@example.com. If you have questions about payment, contact SJF Executive Director Merrilee Cox at 301-314-2631 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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