Community newspapers now eligible to compete for National Newspaper Awards

Community newspapers across Canada will be eligible to enter the National Newspaper Awards this year for the first time. Continue Reading Community newspapers now eligible to compete for National Newspaper Awards

Revisions to contest rules approved September 27 by the organization’s Board of Governors include a provision to open the competition to community newspapers (often known as “weeklies”) provided that they publish original content in print or online at least five days a week.

The National Newspaper Awards were established in 1949 to encourage excellence and reward achievement in Canadian daily newspaper journalism. News agencies operating in Canada have also been eligible since the outset, and over the past decade eligibility has been further extended to news organizations that publish exclusively online on a daily basis. As of the 2018 competition, eligibility is also being extended to organizations that publish print editions weekly or more frequently, provided that they make original content available to readers online on close to a daily basis (i.e. at least five days a week).

NNA Governors also approved the establishment of a formal process to determine eligibility of organizations seeking to enter the competition for the first time. They will be required to submit responses to a questionnaire before December 1 in order for eligibility requests to be considered and ruled on before the contest opens to entries on December 15.

Governors also approved new language intended to clarify eligibility requirements for entrants (in particular freelance journalists) and to clarify expectations on entrants whose work is produced either with outside support or through co-productions involving more than one news organization.

A category that was contested for the first time in 2017, Photo Portfolio/Photo Essay, has been amended to become simply Photo Essay, with portfolio entries no longer accepted. And in all four photo categories, entrants are no longer limited in the number of entries they may submit.

In order to make rules and entry procedures clearer, Governors approved a restatement of the published Rules of Entry and Entry Instructions and Guidelines. The new documents are posted on the NNA website at:

Rules of Entry: http://nna-ccj.ca/rules/
Entry Instructions and Guidelineshttp://nna-ccj.ca/tips-on-entering/

Here are highlights of new language and other changes approved by NNA Governors:

  • The competition is open to organizations that gather news and information daily in Canada and disseminate news and original journalism intended for the reception of Canadians at least five days a week in the case of printed newspapers, or content uploads of such news and original journalism at least five days a week in the case of electronic versions of newspapers, digital publications and news agencies.
  • As in the past, the competition is not open to organizations whose primary purpose and/or primary source of revenue are television or radio broadcasting; magazine publishing; or publishing (digital or print) that is less frequent than five days a week.
  • If an entry has been published by a news organization that has not previously been accepted as eligible for participation in the competition, the organization must apply for eligibility before December 1.
  • The contest may be entered by or on behalf of journalists who were permanently or temporarily employees of an eligible news organization at the time the entered work was performed, and journalists who provided the entered work to an eligible news organization on a freelance or contract basis.
  • Apart from work done by “citizen journalists” (which may be entered only in the Breaking News and News Photo categories), the contest is not intended to be entered by individuals who do not work regularly in daily journalism in Canada. Entrants who were not permanently or temporarily an employee of an eligible news organization at the time the entered work was performed (including freelance journalists) must submit with their entry a description of their journalistic endeavours during the year for which work is being submitted. This requirement extends to all individuals who supplied the entered work to an eligible organization on a freelance or contract basis.
  • Supporting letters, previously and still required for entries In the Project of the Year and Beat Reporting categories and for entries involving any outside funding, involvement or support for the entered work, are now also required:
    • For entries arising from co-productions involving more than one news organization. Such letters must provide details about the co-production arrangement and certify that the entered work was entirely or substantially performed by or for organization(s) eligible to enter the competition.
    • For all entries from individuals whose entered work was done on a freelance or contract basis, rather than as an employee of the organization that published the work. Such letters must outline the individual’s journalistic activity during the year for which the work is being entered.
  • In keeping with longstanding practice, the Rules of Entry as approved by Governors and now posted on the NNA website are in effect for the 2018 competition, which covers work published between January 1 and December 31, 2018. Entries can be submitted between December 15, 2018, and January 15, 2019, through the NNA online entry system.

For more information, contact Paul Woods, Executive Director, National Newspaper Awards, exec@nna-ccj.ca, 905-719-8675.


Steph Wechsler is J-Source's managing editor.