ENTRY DEADLINE: February 23 DEADLINE EXTENDED! Enter by 5 p.m. March 2!  WE ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTING ENTRIES

SPJ’s Florida Pro Chapter is pleased to announce the 21st annual Sunshine State Awards competition, open to all professional print, broadcast and online journalists in the state of Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Spanish-language division is presented in partnership with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. 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. Out-of-state journalists will judge all entries and may award first-, second- and third-place honors in each category. Finalists will be notified in mid-late April and winners will be announced at the annual Sunshine State Awards ceremony.

All entries must have been published, broadcast or placed online in 2014.

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. A supporting statement up to 300 words, providing additional context, may also be submitted.

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 5 samples. A supporting statement up to 300 words, providing additional context, may also be submitted.

First Amendment Foundation Freedom of Information Award: The First Amendment 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 3 samples. A supporting statement up to 300 words, providing additional context, may also be submitted.

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.

Journalist of the Year: Honors a single journalist with the most outstanding body of print, broadcast or online work during 2014. Submit up to 5 samples. A supporting statement up to 300 words, providing additional context, may also be submitted.

Anchor of the Year: Honors an outstanding broadcast anchor. Submit up to 5 samples. A supporting statement up to 300 words, providing additional context, may also be submitted.

NEWSPAPER DIVISION

  • Eligible: Journalists (staff and freelancers) working for newspapers produced and/or circulated in Florida Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands; wire service bureaus in Florida; and Florida bureaus of national and out-of-state publications.
  • Online journalists may also enter the writing categories in this division. 
  • Certain categories contain sub-categories based on circulation size:
    Large: Publications with circulation of 100,000 or more (including their associated online content), as well as all wire services
    Small: Publications with circulation of less than 100,000 (including their associated online content) as well as standalone online products

Breaking News Reporting (Large/Small): 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 sustained writing quality.

Series: Submit up to six samples of a news or feature series on one 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.

Editorial Writing: Submit three samples; can be on one topic or multiple topics.

Editorial Cartoon: Submit three samples on any topic.

Headline Writing: Submit up to 5 of your best headlines. Judges will consider originality, drama, and clarity.

Beat Reporting: Submit a portfolio of work (no more than five stories) that show sustained excellence in covering a beat. Judges will consider variety of stories, source development, story generation and beat familiarization. A 250-word supporting statement per category is optional. Awards will be given in each of the following areas of coverage:

  • Arts (not criticism)
  • Business
  • Community: includes municipalities and industry-specific groups
  • Consumer Issues
  • Crime/Courts
  • Education
  • Elections
  • Environmental/Health/Science
  • Food/Travel
  • Government/Politics
  • Hardship Issues (children’s issues, homelessness, poverty, disabled, etc.)
  • Minority Issues
  • Religion
  • Sports

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

PHOTOGRAPHY & DESIGN DIVISION

  • Spanish-language publications may enter these categories if translations for cutlines/major story elements are provided.

Breaking News Photography (Large/Small): Deadline coverage of a breaking news event, plus appropriate follows. Submit a single report 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. Can represent 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 3 samples on one issue. A supporting statement up to 300 words, providing additional context, may also be submitted. 

Investigative Story: Original reporting that exposes a wrong or promotes understanding of a problem, issue, or subject in the public interest.

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 sustained writing quality.

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

Election Story:Submit a single election report. Could be a news or feature report, or a column. Judges will consider originality of approach, the drama evoked, clarity, suitability of the writing to the subject, and sustained writing quality. 

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

Trade/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 

Anchor of the Year: See special categories section.  

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.

Election Coverage: A single report or a series of up to three pieces. 

Government Coverage: 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 sustained 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.

Election Coverage: A single report or a series of up to three pieces.

Government Coverage: 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, suitability of the writing to the subject, and sustained 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.

ONLINE DIVISION 

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

Blog – Affiliated: Blogs that are associated with or sponsored by a print or broadcast media.

Blog – Independent: Stand-alone blogs sites not sponsored by print or broadcast media.

News Web Site: News Web sites 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.)
  • Quality of the writing
  • 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.

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 mediums.

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.

Infographic: Interactive infographic. Submit up to three samples.

Video: Either standalone videos or videos supplementing a story. Submit up to 3 samples.

Blog Writing (short form): Submit up to 3 samples (under 400 words).

Blog Writing (long form): Submit up to 3 samples (over 400 words).

Social Media Package: Submit up to 3 samples of a story 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 del sur de la Florida y corresponsales de agencias noticiosas y periódicos de circulación nacional en la Florida.
  • Ciertas categorías tienen subcategories dependiento del tamaño del medio de comunicación:
    Se considera una publicación impresa grande a aquella con circulación de 100,000 ejemplares o más y a servicios de cable
    Se considera una publicación impresa pequeña aquella que tiene una circulación de menos del 100,000 ejemplares. También califican los productos autónomos.

 

Periodista del Año: Esta categoría honra al periodista más sobresaliente del año en los medios hispanos del sur de la Florida. Están invitados a participar periodistas de radio, television, prensa escrita y digital. Participantes deben enviar 6 muestras de su trabajo como máximo.

Mejor Reportaje de Investigación, Prensa: 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 Ultima Hora, Prensa Escrita (Large/Small): 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 decision 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, Prensa Escrita (Large/Small): Se considerarán artículos narrativos y crónicas sobre las últimas tendencias ó 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 pertinenciade la escritura con el tema y calidad del texto.

Mejor Reportaje de Investigación de Television: Candidatos pueden presentar una sola pieza o una serie. Las historias deben ser reportajes originales que exponen un problema o promueven el entendimiento de un asunto o tema de interés público.

Mejor Noticias del Dia de Television: Se calificará la presentación de un solo evento en una sola emisión producida el mismo día. Candidatos deben proveer la fecha y hora en que fue transmitida la pieza, así como grabación de la emisión.

Mejor Reportajes de Television: Esta categoría incluye perfiles, tendencias e historias de interés humano. Candidatos pueden someter una sola pieza o una serie. Los jueces tomarán en cuenta la originalidad del enfoque, el drama que evoca, la claridad y presentación apropiada del tema.

Mejor Corresponsal en el Extranjero: Muchas de las historias que mueven a los residents del sur de la Florida nacen o tienen repercusiones en países claves para nuestra comunidad. Esta categoría busca premiar el trabajo delicado y exigente que hacen los periodistas basados en la Florida a la hora de cubrir hechos noticiosos en otros países. Pueden participar periodistas independientes y aquellos que trabajan con un medio del sur de la Florida.

Mejor Trabajo Estudiantil, Mención Impreso: Honra al mejor artículo en una publicación estudiantil del sur de la Florida. Candidatos pueden someter un artículo individual o una serie. Los artículos deben ser originales, exponer irregularidades o promover entendimiento de un problema de interés público.

Mejor Trabajo Estudiantil, Mencion Digital: Honra el mejor trabajo publicado en un medio digital estudiantil del sur de la Florida. Pueden ser artículos o piezas interactivas.

Mejor Trabajo Estudiantil, Mención Audiovisual : Esta categoría honra la mejor pieza transmitida en una televisora o radio estudiantil del sur de la Florida.

STUDENT DIVISION

 

Eligible: Students whose work was published in 2014 by a student media outlet in Florida.

  • Sub-categories are based on frequency of school’s flagship publication:
    High Frequency: Published five or more times per month (includes daily and multiple issues per week)
    Low Frequency: Published one-four times per month (includes weekly, every other week, monthly or fewer)
    School with the most finalists in the Student categories will be named 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 2014 and a signed recommendation letter from an adviser or teacher.

Best Student Publication (High/Low): Submit any three print issues from 2014. Every page will be judged on writing, photography, and design.

Best Website (High/Low): Judges will review 2014 content to determine which site best covered its community. Includes everything from breaking news to videos to slideshows to entertainment reviews.

Best News Story (High/Low): Can be a breaking story, student government election coverage, an investigation, or anything in between. As long as it delivers on what it sets out to do.

Best News Photo (High/Low): Any single photo that is not posed or sports.

Best Profile (High/Low): 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 (High/Low): Submit a review of a movie, concert, art exhibit book, play, or anything else we haven’t thought about. Judges will favor reviews of either campus or local arts, or national pieces with a unique student angle. Copying the styles of national reviewers will net you nothing.

Best Sports Story (High/Low): Can be a gamer, a profile, analysis, or anything else.

Best Sports Photo (High/Low):  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 (High/Low): Can include a front page, a magazine cover, or a photo page. Judges look for creativity but also adherence to the basics (such as uniform spacing between elements).

Best Video (High/Low): Can be news, feature, sports, or anything else that covered in your campus community. Judges have no preconceptions and are waiting to be impressed. 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 SFGN, 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 chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.