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What’s new?

We made some small changes to our contest this year based on feedback from journalists and data about entries from prior years. These changes were made by a committee of SPJ Western Washington and SPJ Oregon board members in consultation with publications around our region.

Our hope is to better reflect the topics journalists in our region cover, make some categories more competitive and better serve audio and video journalists.

As a reminder, newsrooms of any predominant medium can submit to any section. For example, TV journalists don’t need to solely submit their work to the video section. If you have a piece with multiple elements, like a written article accompanied by an audio piece, then submitting it to the Writing section means judges will only judge the written article. If you submit it to the Audio section, then judges will only judge the audio piece. If you want the piece judged as a whole with all elements taken into consideration, the Multimedia category might be the best fit. 

Like last year, some topical categories will allow submissions of up to three written pieces as part of one story to allow reporters to include follow-up coverage, sidebars, etc.

A summary of this year’s changes is below:

  • Decreased newsroom size designations for the writing section and the photo & design section. They went from small (15 or fewer FTE), medium (16-39), and large (40+) to small (12 or fewer), medium (13-35), and large (36+). 

  • Split the section that was once called “Writing, Photo & Design” into two separate sections, so “Writing” and “Photo & Design” stand on their own.

  • Renamed “Diversity Reporting” to “Social Equity.” This category is for reporting about marginalized groups, such as BIPOC and LGBTQ communities, and the social inequalities they face. 

  • Renamed the “Arts and Entertainment” category to “Arts & Culture.” This gives a place for reporting about religion, cultural traditions, art, and entertainment.

  • Created a “Collaboration” category. This is for collaborative pieces between two or more newsrooms. Multiple newsrooms that share the same owner can also submit their collaboration pieces here.

  • Created a “Comprehensive Pandemic Coverage” category. This is similar to the “comprehensive coverage” section, except specific to a newsroom’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.  

  • Renamed “Crime & Justice Reporting” to “Crime & Law Enforcement.” This is still the place to include work about the criminal justice system, general crime stories, and courts.

  • Renamed "Housing & Homelessness" to "Poverty & Homelessness." This category is for pieces about issues specific to homelessness or low-income populations. Pieces about the real estate market are likely better suited for the “Tech, Business, & Economics” category.

  • Combined the “Technology” and “Business” categories. Now they’re encompassed under one category: “Tech, Business & Economics.” We didn’t get enough entries last year to merit two separate categories.

  • Nixed the “Headline” category.” We didn’t get enough entries last year to merit a category specific to headline writing.

  • Nixed newsroom size designations for the “Column” category. Now newsrooms of all sizes will compete together in this category. 

  • Nixed “Sports Feature Photography.” Sports feature photos can either be submitted to the “Portrait” or “Sports Action” categories.