Sunshine State Awards FAQ


SPJ Florida is pleased to open entries for the 2023 Sunshine State Awards! Here are some questions we get frequently as you put together your work for consideration:


Q: Can Florida-based journalists who don’t cover Florida news apply?

Absolutely! If you write for a national outlet or your work was published in another state, you are still eligible to enter the Sunshine State Awards.

Q: Can I place the same entry in multiple categories?

Yes, so long as it makes sense. A story, package or series can be submitted into more than one applicable category, but each category entry counts for its own individual submission fee.

Q: I am a member of SPJ/NAHJ/NABJ/NLGJA. Are there any special rates for me?

Yes, not only do you qualify for the member rate, but you also get a free entry after your first paid one.

Q: I am a journalism adviser — can I enter work on behalf of my students to get the members’ BOGO rate?

No. We have lower, special rates for students and the different journalism organizations also offer discounted membership fees for students to help offset costs.

Q: I’m a college student but I was published in a professional news outlet. Can I only enter through the college categories?

It’s your choice, you can enter your work into the college categories or the pro categories. 

Q: I am a journalism adviser — can I enter my students’ work in one transaction?

Yes, log in with your personal user profile and then enter as many entries for various people as you’d like. This is the same as an awards coordinator at a newspaper or television station.

Q: Can I use my SPJ membership to give my college students the BOGO rate?

No, we have a special, discounted rate for college students to accommodate them. There is also a lower membership fee for college students from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Q: Who does the judging?

Every year we swap with our sister SPJ chapters across the country to judge each other’s contests. This ensures that there is no bias or conflict of interest. If a judge does find they have a conflict of interest, they are reassigned a new category. We also have journalists from outside of Florida who are fluent in Spanish who judge the Spanish language categories.

Q: When is the awards ceremony?

We are still in the planning stages and also deciding whether to host an in-person or virtual ceremony. Stay tuned!

Q: The news outlet I was published in is submitting work on the reporters’ behalf. Who will get the certificate if we place?

Certificates will be mailed to whomever entered the work — in this case, it will probably go to the newsroom. Each newsroom has their own protocol, either giving it to the reporter to keep or hanging it in their newsroom. Regardless, anyone who would like a copy of a certificate is welcome to order a duplicate after the ceremony for a small fee.

Q: Remind me of the deadlines?

  • Early Bird Rate (enter by Feb. 7): Professionals $29, College Students $20, High School Students $0

  • Standard Rate (enter Feb. 8-March 7): Professionals $35, College Students $25, High School Students $0

  • Late Rate (enter March 8-14): Professionals $40, College Students $25, High School Students $0