Sunshine State Awards

Every year for the past half-century, the Society for Professional Journalism has honored the best in Florida journalism.

The state’s largest and oldest journalism contest recognizes the best writing, photography, and design for both pros and students.

The 2023 contest is over. Click here to see the winners. Here are the past winners.

The 2024 contest is now open. Click below to…

How it works

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

Yes. If you work for a national outlet or your journalism was published in another state, you’re 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. But each entry requires its own submission fee.

Q. I’m 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’m a journalism adviser. Can I enter my students’ work in one transaction?

Yes. Log into 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. I’m a journalism adviser. Can I enter work on behalf of my students to get the members’ BOGO rate?
Q. Can I use my SPJ membership to give my college students the BOGO rate?

No. But we have low special rates for students, and SPJ offers a low membership rate for college students.

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

It’s your choice. You can enter either college or pro categories – or both, as long as you pay the applicable entry fees.

Q. Who does the judging?

Each year, we swap with SPJ chapters across the country to judge each other’s contests. This ensures no bias or conflict of interest. If a judge does find they have a conflict, they’re assigned another category. We also have Spanish-speaking judges outside Florida who judge our Spanish-language categories.

Q. When is the awards ceremony?

We move venues, counties, and dates each year to accommodate as many winners as possible. So stay tuned for the next one.

Q. My news outlet is submitting work on the staff’s behalf. Who gets the certificate if we win?

Certificates will be mailed to whoever entered the work. In this case, the newsroom. Each newsroom has its own protocol, either giving the certificate to the reporter or displaying it in the building. Regardless, anyone who wants a copy can order a duplicate after the ceremony for a small fee.