SFJ Excellence-in-Features writing, design awards taking entries for 2019

awards

The 31st 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 – other than those in the Best Features Digital Presence category – must have been published in print or online between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018.

First-place winners in each category will receive $300. Winners will be announced in June and honored at SFJ’s national conference in Detroit in September.

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

The deadline for entries is March 15, 2019.

To enter, go to the Better Newspaper Contest website at https://betternewspapercontest.com.

If you have any questions, please email wearesfj@gmail.com or ask us on Twitter at @wearesfj.

Here are the categories:

001 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.

002 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.

003 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. Enter the word count in the “Comments, Credits & Other Info” field on the entry form. Each entry consists of one story.

004 Food Feature

A single story focusing on food, not including reviews or commentary. Can be a trend story, personality profile, narrative piece, how-to or other feature treatment of a food topic. Each entry consists of one story.

005 Food Criticism

A single story, such as a restaurant review, that offers opinions about a topic or restaurant in the food industry. Each entry consists of one story.

006 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.

007 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. Each entry consists of one story.

008 Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio

Three stories by the same writer on one features specialty topic, such as arts and entertainment, fashion, health, religion, technology or travel. (Food writing entries should be entered in the Food Writing Portfolio category.) Entries can be trend stories, profiles, interviews, news features, general features or narratives covering the same topic. Columns and commentary are excluded. Each entry consists of three stories from the same writer.

009 Food Writing Portfolio

Three stories by the same writer on any food topic. Entries can be stories, columns or reviews. Each entry consists of three stories from the same writer. 

010 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.

011 Arts & Entertainment Commentary Portfolio

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

012 Sports Feature

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

013 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. NOTE: All entries, regardless of circulation group, compete in one group.

014 Video Storytelling

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

015 Integrated Storytelling

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

016 Podcast

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic told through a podcast. One entry consists of links to three podcasts by the same person or persons.

NOTE: All entries, regardless of circulation group, compete in one group.

017 Diversity in Digital Features

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic that highlights the diversity within a publication’s audience. Diversity can include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs or other ideologies. One entry consists of a story or a series of stories on the same diversity topic. Multiple bylines accepted.

018 Digital Innovation

New or improved digital 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 or enter explanation in the “Comments, Credits & Other Info” field on the entry form. One entry consists of one innovation, such as an app or a website.

NOTE: All entries, regardless of circulation group, compete in one group.

019 Special Section

A special section published either in print and/or online once a year. (For sections published two or more times, enter Best Niche Product.) Submit one section from the 2018 calendar year or provide the URL in the comments section on the entry. 

Each entry must also include a PDF of the cover or homepage of the section. On the back of each hard-copy issue, attach a printed entry label, which automatically appears after each entry is submitted.

Mail entries to SPJ-SFJ Contest 2019, Eugene Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46208. Entries must be postmarked by March 8, 2019.

020 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 2018 calendar year. Each entry must also include PDFs of the covers from both of the submitted entries. One entry consists of one copy of each of the two issues and the two PDFs. On the back of each hard-copy issue, attach a printed entry label, which automatically appears after each entry is submitted.

Mail entries to SPJ-SFJ Contest 2019, Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208. Entries must be postmarked by March 8, 2019.

021 Best Features Digital Presence

The best your publication has to offer in digital A&E, features and lifestyle coverage. Submit links to a website; features channel; app; and/or social-media page such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter. Entries are judged on content, which includes timeliness, depth of coverage, voice and style. One entry consists of links to a website, features channel, social-media pages or app.

022 Best Section

The best your publication has to offer in printed A&E, features and lifestyle coverage. Submit five sections from the 2018 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.

Entries are judged on content, which includes the range of topics, depth, voice and style; service, which includes the inclusion of everyday people, useful information and the level of reader interaction; and design, which includes the use of photos and illustrations, headlines, navigational tools and the “wow” factor.

One hard copy of each section is required. One entry consists of one copy of each of the five sections and PDFs of three of the submitted section fronts (PDFs of the section fronts only). On the back of each section, attached a printed version of the entry label, which automatically appears after each entry is submitted.

Mail entries to SPJ-SFJ Contest 2019, Eugene Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208.

Entries must be postmarked by March 8, 2019. Also, attach PDFs of the front or cover page from three of the submitted entries.

023 Finest in Features Sweepstakes

This award honors three publications in each circulation category that garner the most awards in the other 21 categories. No entry is necessary. Instead, points are assigned for each of the other winning entries (20 points for a first-place finish, 15 for second, for example), and the publications with the highest number of points receive the sweepstakes awards.

024 Best College Features Journalist

Open to any college student whose work appeared in or on an officially recognized student media source (newspaper, website, podcast, TV station, radio station, etc.). Journalists should submit up to three features that appeared in the calendar year.

Fee to enter is $25. The winner will receive a $250 award.

 

Show & Steal 2017: Sharing our favorite ideas that went viral, engaged readers

By Laura T. Coffey
writer, editor, producer, TODAY Parenting Team and TODAY.com
and Sharon Chapman

features editor, Austin American-Statesman

Huge thanks to all the hard-working features editors who shared so many amazing coverage ideas at the Society for Features Journalism conference in Kansas City! Remember, journalists are encouraged to borrow and adapt the ideas discussed at our Show & Steal presentations each year. We’re all doing more with less, we’re all eager for good ideas that worked — and, thankfully, we’re all in this together.

This year, editors shared dozens of smart submissions in the following categories:

Let us plan your year: Yes, the holidays, but also think seasonally — spring, summer, back-to-school, winterizing, hurricane prep — anything that happens annually. We want to help each other plan a calendar of content ideas.

New ideas that worked: A digital feature, a new digital presentation, a new way you grew audience or got reader solicitations. Content, events, whatever you tried that worked!

That’s entertainment: The name says it all — the best of your culture coverage, both high and low.

Editor’s favorite: Cool multiplatform presentations and anything else you loved.

It went viral: We all need the traffic. Tell us how you scored page views and engagement.

Also, in the wake of this year’s destructive hurricanes, we added a special category about how to handle coverage of hurricanes and other natural disasters while living through the danger on a personal level. Thank you to the Houston Chronicle in Texas and the Sun-Sentinel in Florida for taking the time to tell us how you did what you did.

Here are the Show & Steal ideas for 2017. Click on the link below the images for the PDF slideshow:

Plan your year

yearPlanYearShowandSteal2017


It went viral, for these reasons

viral

ViralShowandSteal2017


Making the most of entertainment

entertainment

EntertainShowandSteal2017


Hurricane lessons for everyone

hurrican

Hurricane coverage


Editors loved these ideas!

editorfave

EditorsfavoriteShowandSteal2017


New ideas that worked

new ideas

NewIdeasShowandsteal2017

SFJ Honors the Best in Features Journalism

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.17.52 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 23, 2015

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES
Terry Scott Bertling, SFJ president, 210.250.3112
Andrew Nynka, SFJ executive director, 301.314.2631

The Society for Features Journalism has honored seven Pulitzer Prize winners and a host of other journalists as part of its 2015 Excellence-in-Features Awards contest.

Also receiving recognition were 10 newspapers for outstanding features sections and journalists in 15 other categories. Winners were announced today.

More than 800 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 in the United States and Canada. Winners will be recognized at SFJ’s national conference Aug. 26-29 in College Park, Md.

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Digital Tool Tuesday

Digital Tool Tuesday

Digital Tool Tuesday Welcome to a new weekly feature of SFJ, in which we share tips about a digital tool to leverage for lifestyle and arts and entertainment coverage. The tool: Storymap

Storymap screenshot from the Burning of Columbia

Storymap screenshot from the Burning of Columbia

What does it do? Creates clickable map that allows you to tell a story at each point.

What’s cool about it? Embed video and photos at each point, bringing a map to life.

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