DEADLINE EXTENDED! FINAL DEADLINE MARCH 7

SPJ’s Florida Pro Chapter is pleased to announce the 23rd annual Sunshine State Awards competition, open to all professional print, broadcast and online journalists in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Spanish-language division is presented in partnership with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists South Florida Chapter. We also offer a student division for students at Florida colleges and universities.

The Sunshine State Awards recognize quality journalism in the best tradition of our profession for the calendar year of 2016. Out-of-state journalists will judge all entries and may award first-, second- and third-place honors in each category. The finalist list will be emailed to all entrants by early May. Winners will be announced at the annual Sunshine State Awards ceremony this summer.

ENTRY GUIDELINES

All entries must be submitted online; no hard-copy entries are accepted. Read the category descriptions and follow all instructions carefully. If you have questions, please contact Contest Administrator Tim Dodson at tim@timdodson.com or 305-756-6763.

Pro category entries are $38 each and Student category entries are $25 each.

SPJ & NAHJ MEMBER BENEFIT: get one entry FREE with your first paid entry. The free entry must list a current, dues-paying, individual SPJ or NAHJ member as one of the entrants. To claim the free entry, you must enter the member’s name and SPJ or NAHJ membership number.


CATEGORIES

SPECIAL CATEGORIES DIVISION

  • Eligible: All professional print, television, radio, or online journalists working in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

James Batten Award for Public Service: Named in honor of late Knight-Ridder chairman and CEO James Batten, a champion of “civic journalism.” Entries must contribute to the public good by correcting a wrong, bringing to light an issue or adding significantly to the public debate. Entries will be judged by the significance of the contribution, initiative in overcoming opposition and evidence of courage. Up to 10 items may be entered, including coverage, a required supporting statement of up to 400 words, and other supporting elements of your choice.

Gene Miller Award for Investigative Reporting: Named in honor of late Miami Herald reporter and editor Gene Miller. Investigative reporting in the public interest, in a single report or a series. Stories should be original reporting that exposes a wrong or promotes understanding of a problem, issue, or subject in the public interest. Optional: submit a supporting statement (up to 400 words) to provide additional context.

Diversity Award: Supporting one of SPJ’s core missions to encourage diversity in journalism, this award honors a journalist of color or sexual minority. Submit up to five samples. Optional: submit a supporting statement (up to 400 words) to provide additional context.

First Amendment Foundation Freedom of Information Award: Honors a journalist or news organization for outstanding use of public records in reporting or advocacy of rights such as press freedom and public access. Named after Florida’s First Amendment Foundation. Submit up to three samples. Optional: submit a supporting statement (up to 400 words) to provide additional context.

Integrity Florida Award for Public Corruption Reporting: Honors a journalist or news organization for exposing government corruption. Named after Integrity Florida, a government watchdog. Submit up to three samples. Optional: submit a supporting statement (up to 400 words) to provide additional context.

Journalist of the Year: Honors a single journalist with the most outstanding body of print, broadcast or online work during 2016. Submit up to five samples. Optional: submit a supporting statement (up to 400 words) to provide additional context.

Anchor of the Year: Honors an outstanding broadcast anchor. Submit up to five samples. Optional: submit a supporting statement (up to 400 words) to provide additional context.


NEWSPAPER DIVISION

  • Eligible: Journalists (staff and freelancers) working for newspapers produced and/or circulated in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; wire service bureaus in Florida; and Florida bureaus of national and out-of-state publications.
  • Certain Newspaper and Photography categories are subdivided based on circulation size.
  • See the Special Categories and Online divisions for additional writing categories open to print journalists.

Breaking News Reporting: Deadline coverage of a breaking news event, plus appropriate follows. Submit a single report or series. Judges will consider deadline pressures, complexity of subject and story length, interest, and importance.

Non-Deadline News Reporting (Large/Small): Enterprise reporting that digs deeper into a newsworthy topic or subject. Submit a single report or series.

Feature Reporting (Large/Small): Narrative pieces, trend stories, enterprisers, and human-interest stories that do not fit clearly into other categories. Submit a single report only; no series. Judges will consider originality of approach, the drama evoked, clarity, suitability of the writing to the subject, and writing quality.

Series: Submit up to five samples of a news or feature series on a single topic.

Commentary & Criticism – General: Analysis or interpretation of news events. Submit up to three samples.

Commentary & Criticism – Arts: Analysis or interpretation of arts/cultural events, including arts reviews. Submit up to three samples.

Profile Reporting: Submit up to three profiles of people, which can include obituary writing. Judges will consider originality of approach; the drama evoked, clarity, suitability of the writing to the subject, and sustained writing quality.

State and Local Election Reporting: Coverage of the 2016 statewide and/or local elections. Submit up to three samples.

Presidential Election Reporting: Coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Submit up to three samples.

Data Reporting: A news or feature story driven by data, and/or that uses data collection and analysis to shine a spotlight on an important topic or disclose an abuse of power. Submit one single report or series on one topic. Judges will consider originality of approach, clarity, and accompanying story.

Editorial Writing: Submit three samples on a single topic or multiple topics.

Editorial Cartoon: Submit three samples on any topic.

Headline Writing: Submit up to five of your best headlines. Judges will consider originality, drama, and clarity.

Beat Reporting: Submit a portfolio of up to four stories demonstrating sustained excellence in covering this beat. Judges will consider variety, source development, story generation and familiarity with the beat. Optional: submit a supporting statement (up to 250 words) to provide additional context. Awards will be given in each of the following areas of coverage:

  • Arts 
  • Business
  • Community (including municipalities and industry-specific groups)
  • Consumer Issues
  • Crime & Courts
  • Education
  • Environment, Health & Science
  • Food & Travel
  • Government & Politics
  • Hardship Issues (children’s issues, homelessness, poverty, disabilities, etc.)
  • Minority Issues
  • Religion
  • Sports

Special Publication or Section: Best overall quality, including news value, writing, design, story mix, etc., in a special, one-time-only or annual section of a publication. Must consist of editorial content produced by editorial staff.


PHOTOGRAPHY & DESIGN DIVISION

Breaking News Photography: Deadline coverage of a breaking news event, plus appropriate follows. Submit a single photo or series.

Feature Photography: A single published photo, either stand-alone or part of a story.

Photography Story: A collection of photos printed together that tell a story – either news or feature in nature. Not for continuing coverage of a subject.

Art/Photo Illustration: Specially designed art and/or photos to illustrate a story. Submit three tear sheets by a single artist or team.

Infographic: Standalone infographic or part of a story. Submit up to three samples.

Front Page Design (Large/Small): Submit three samples, by one artist or team, representing the newspaper’s front page or section front.


MAGAZINE DIVISION

Public Service Reporting: Entries must contribute to the public good by correcting a wrong, bringing to light an issue or adding significantly to the public debate. Entries will be judged by the significance of the contribution, initiative in overcoming opposition and evidence of courage. Submit up to three samples on one issue. Optional: submit a supporting statement (up to 400 words) to provide additional context.

Investigative Story: Original reporting that exposes a wrong or promotes understanding of a problem, issue, or subject in the public interest. Submit a single report or series. Optional: submit a supporting statement (up to 400 words) to provide additional context.

Feature Story: Submit a single report on a topic. Judges will consider originality of approach, the drama evoked, clarity, suitability of the writing to the subject, and writing quality.

Profile Story: Submit a single news report, feature or column that showcases a person. Judges will consider originality of approach, the drama evoked, clarity, suitability of the writing to the subject, and writing quality.

Commentary & Criticism: Analysis or interpretation of news or cultural events, including art reviews. Submit up to three samples.

Food and Travel Writing: Submit a single travel or food story. Judges will consider originality of approach, the drama evoked, clarity, suitability of the writing to the subject, and sustained writing quality.

Trade or Special Interest Publication: Best overall quality, including news value, writing, design, story mix, etc., in a publication focusing on a specialized audience. Submit two complete issues.

Cover Design: Submit three samples.

Inside Design: Submit three samples. Can be a spread or story design.

Best Single Issue: Submit a sample of your best issue. Judges will consider content, design and overall layout.


TELEVISION DIVISION

Best Newscast: Best overall news and feature quality, including news value, writing, production, story mix, etc. Submit one complete broadcast of your choice.

Investigative Reporting: Submit a single report or a series. Stories should be original reporting that exposes a wrong or promotes understanding of a problem, issue, or subject in the public interest.

Spot News Reporting: Reporting of a single event in a single broadcast under deadline. Provide the date and time aired.

Government & Politics Reporting: A single report or a series of up to three pieces.

Continuing Coverage: Sustained excellence in covering an issue of local interest, such as a trial, election or political issue. Submit up to six pieces.

Feature Reporting: Profiles, trend pieces and human interest stories; submit a single report or a series. Judges will consider originality of approach, the drama evoked, clarity, suitability of the writing to the subject, and writing quality.

Public Affairs: Submit a single public affairs program. Entries may be documentaries or regular programming. Entries must be the original work of the station. Town hall meetings are not eligible.


RADIO DIVISION

Best Newscast: Best overall news and feature quality, including news value, writing, production, story mix, etc. Submit one complete broadcast of your choice.

General Coverage: Coverage of an issue of local interest, such as a trial or political issue. Submit up to six pieces.

Investigative Reporting: Submit a single report or a series. Stories should be original reporting that exposes a wrong or promotes understanding of a problem, issue, or subject in the public interest.

Government & Politics Reporting: A single report or a series.

Feature Reporting: Profiles, trend pieces and human interest stories. Submit a single report or a series. Judges will consider originality of approach, the drama evoked, clarity and quality.

Public Affairs: Submit a single public affairs program. Entries may be documentaries or regular programming. Entries must be the original work of the station. Town hall meetings are not eligible.


ONLINE DIVISION

  • See the Newspaper Division for additional categories open to online journalists.

Blog: Best blog of any type, whether independent or associated with a print or broadcast news organization.

News Website: News websites of all sizes, regardless of whether they stand alone or are sponsored by print or broadcast media. Judges will evaluate the following:

  • Site’s overall value to users
  • Depth and originality of news content
  • Appropriate variety of content presentation methods (text, video, audio, etc.)
  • Writing Quality
  • Usability (including navigation and accessibility)
  • Layout

Submit the URL of the home page as well as the URLs of two additional pages of the site for judging. Judges may navigate further to evaluate the entire site.

Online Breaking News: Deadline coverage of a breaking news event, plus appropriate updates or follows written for online. Submit a single report or series. Judges will consider deadline pressures, complexity of subject and story length, interest, and importance.

Multimedia Feature: A feature story utilizing two or more media, not including photography (video, audio, social media, interactive infographic, etc.). Judges will consider complexity of story, execution in all media and creativity. Submit a single report or a series on a single topic.

Package: A special, one-time project that includes but is not limited to the use of published writing (print or web), video, audio, social media or any combination of them. Judges will consider complexity of story and execution in all mediums submitted. One-time projects may include multiple pieces of all media.

User-Generated Content: A story in any format that was an interactive community collaboration. This includes, but is not limited to, blogging, podcasts, videos, and photos.

Infographics and Data Visualization: Graphics that help readers understand the significance of a story by placing it in a visual context, or that illustrate patterns, trends and correlations that might go undetected in text format. Graphics may be standalone pieces or part of a story. Submit up to three samples.

Video: Either standalone videos or videos supplementing a story. Submit up to three samples.

Podcast: Submit up to three links of shows or segments of shows.

Blog Writing: Submit up to three samples.

Blog Writing – In Depth: Submit a single report or series.

Social Media Package: Submit up to three samples of a story or series that utilized two or more social media platforms.


SPANISH-LANGUAGE DIVISION

  • Estos premios son presentados en conjunto con la Asociación Nacional de Periodistas Hispanos – capítulo del Sur de la Florida/National Association of Hispanic Journalists South Florida Chapter.
  • Los premios están abiertos a periodistas (empleados por el medio o independientes/freelancers) cuyos trabajos en español hayan aparecido en la edición digital o impresa de periódicos publicados o distribuídos en la Florida, en medios audiovisuales en la Florida y corresponsales de agencias noticiosas y periódicos de circulación nacional en la Florida.

Periodista del Año – Print/Digital/Online: Esta categoría honra al periodista más sobresaliente del año en los medios hispanos del sur de la Florida. Participantes deben enviar seis muestras de su trabajo como máximo.

Periodista del Año – Television/Radio: Esta categoría honra al periodista más sobresaliente del año en los medios hispanos del sur de la Florida. Participantes deben enviar seis muestras de su trabajo como máximo.

Mejor Reportaje de Investigación – Print/Digital/Online: Esta categoría honra al mejor reportaje de investigación de interés público para el sur de la Florida. Puede ser un solo reportaje o una serie. Los artículos deben ser originales, exponer irregularidades o promover entendimiento de un problema, asunto o sujeto de interés público.

Mejor Reportaje de Investigación – Television/Radio: Esta categoría honra al mejor reportaje de investigación de interés público para el sur de la Florida. Puede ser un solo reportaje o una serie. Los artículos deben ser originales, exponer irregularidades o promover entendimiento de un problema, asunto o sujeto de interés público.

Mejor Cubrimiento Noticias de Última Hora (Breaking News) – Print/Digital/Online: Esta categoría abarca coberturas de noticias de última hora y el seguimiento apropiado al tema. Puede ser un solo reportaje o una serie. Los jueces considerarán en su decisión las presiones de tiempo y dificultades que enfrentó el medio en su cobertura, así como la complejidad del tema, interés e importancia.

Mejor Cubrimiento Noticias de Última Hora (Breaking News) – Television/Radio: Esta categoría abarca coberturas de noticias de última hora y el seguimiento apropiado al tema. Puede ser un solo reportaje o una serie. Los jueces considerarán en su decisión las presiones de tiempo y dificultades que enfrentó el medio en su cobertura, así como la complejidad del tema, interés e importancia.

Mejor Reportaje Especial (Features) – Print/Digital/Online: Se considerarán artículos narrativos y crónicas sobre las últimas tendencias o temas de interés humano que no caben en las otras categorías. Aspirantes deben someter un solo reportaje; series no serán aceptadas. Los jueces tomarán en cuenta la originalidad de la estrategia del autor para contar la historia, la claridad, la pertinencia de la escritura con el tema y calidad del texto.

Mejor Reportaje Especial (Features) – Television/Radio: Se considerarán artículos narrativos y crónicas sobre las últimas tendencias o temas de interés humano que no caben en las otras categorías. Aspirantes deben someter un solo reportaje; series no serán aceptadas. Los jueces tomarán en cuenta la originalidad de la estrategia del autor para contar la historia, la claridad, la pertinencia de la escritura con el tema y calidad del texto.

Informes electorales — Todos los medios: Informar sobre las elecciones en cualquier nivel de gobierno. Presentar hasta tres muestras.

Mejor Trabajo Estudiantil – All Media: Honra a la mejor historia de las noticias por un estudiante en la Florida. Candidatos pueden someter una historia individual o una serie. La historia deben ser originales, exponer irregularidades o promover entendimiento de un problema de interés público.


STUDENT DIVISION

  • Eligible: Students whose work was published in 2016 by a student media outlet in Florida.
  • Sub-categories are based on frequency of school’s flagship publication:
  • The school with the most finalists in the Student categories may be recognized as College Publication of the Year.

College Journalist of the Year: Honors the college journalist displaying the most promise through published or broadcast stories. Submit six of your best stories published in 2016 and a signed recommendation letter from an adviser or teacher.

Best Student Publication: Submit any three print issues from 2016. Every page will be judged on writing, photography, and design.

Best Website: Judges will review 2016 content to determine which site best covered its community. Includes everything from breaking news to videos to slideshows to entertainment reviews.

Best News Story: Can be a breaking story, student government election coverage, an investigation, or anything that delivers on what it sets out to do.

Best News Photo: Any single photo that is not posed or sports.

Best Profile: On anyone about anything. Judges will look more favorably on campus profiles, which are harder to do and much more relevant to your media outlet’s mission.

Best Review: Submit a review of a movie, concert, art exhibit book, play, etc. Judges will favor reviews of either campus or local arts, or national pieces with a unique student angle.

Best Sports Story: Can be a gamer, a profile, analysis, or anything else.

Best Sports Photo: Photo capturing a moment in college sports.

Best Opinion Column: A column on anything but sports, expressing an opinion, slant or viewpoint.

Best Page Design: Can include a front page, a magazine cover, or a photo page. Judges look for creativity but also expect adherence to basic design principles,

Best Video: Can be news, feature, sports, or anything else that covered in your campus community. Five-minute time limit; shorter is better.

Best Coverage of LGBT issues: Submit one or more stories, columns, and photos. This award is co-sponsored by South Florida Gay News, Florida’s largest gay publication, and the South Florida chapter of the Association of LGBT Journalists.

Best Coverage of Race and Minorities: Submit one or more stories, columns, and photos. This award is co-sponsored by the South Florida Black Journalists Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists South Florida Chapter.