2024 PMJA Annual Awards Contest
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The PMJA Annual Awards Competition is designed to recognize the very best in public media work done by local public media outlets.  Award winners are celebrated at PMJA’s annual conference. 

Who can enter? 

Public radio newsrooms and collaboratives, freelancers, independent podcast producers and students! As long as your work has been broadcast or published in the public media system, you may be eligible. 

Judging 

All entries are judged by current and former public media journalists. Our 50+ judges represent leading professionals and past award winners from across the nation.  Award winners will be notified in April 2024.   

Please read all of the instructions carefully as PMJA has made significant changes to the awards competition for 2024.  

Questions regarding the contest? Reach out to awards@pmja.org

Eligibility 

  • All entries must have aired or published during Calendar Year 2023. 
  • Except where indicated in the instructions, all entries must be submitted by an organization that holds a non-commercial radio license from the FCC. 

Categories 

  • PMJA awards categories are split into 3 sections - Audio, Digital and Student.  The full list of categories is detailed below these rules. 
  • Categories that do not require broadcast on terrestrial radio are indicated in the directions. 
  • Time limits for each category are indicated in the description of those categories. Entries can be cut to fit the time limit indicated by choosing a continuous segment to submit. Editing within the piece or segment is not allowed. 
  • Entries may be submitted to multiple categories. 
  • There is no limit to the number of entries each entrant can make in each category. 

Divisions 

Stations are divided into divisions based on staff size:  

  • Division A – 1-3 full-time news staff 
  • Division B – 4-7 full-time news staff 
  • Division C – 8-15 full-time news staff 
  • Division D – 16-29 full-time news staff 
  • Division E – 30 or more full-time news staff 

Other entrant divisions: 

  • Independent Division - Available only in the Podcast category.  
  • Freelancers – Freelancers can enter the special ‘Features produced by freelancers’ category. 

Student Entries 

  • Student entries can either be entered through the school where the work was completed or the public radio station on which the work aired. 
  • Student entries must meet the following criteria:  
    • Produced by students while enrolled in high school, a two-year or four-year college or university, or graduate school. 
      • Entries produced by a student while working as an intern in a professional journalism setting are eligible. 
      • Students with any full-time professional journalism experience are ineligible. 
      • A group entry that includes a contribution from someone with full-time professional experience will be disqualified. 
    • Broadcast or published through an eligible public media station. Class exercises that were not broadcast or published are ineligible. 

Guidelines on What is Considered Local 

  • All work on the entry must be performed exclusively by the station. (Example: edited by an NPR editor or produced by a network show producer would only be eligible to enter under Local Reporting for National Network categories.) 
  • Except where allowed by the podcast category, entries distributed by a national distributor (NPR, PRI, APM, etc.) will only be eligible for the Local Reporting for National Network categories (Example: a piece that airs on The World or a show that is distributed by NPR would not be eligible for local categories) 
  • A show or piece that is produced and aired locally and is then shared with other stations is allowed under the local categories. (Example: Local product that is distributed in its original form via PRX, a state network, or independently organized distribution is allowed) 

Deadline 

All Entries must be submitted by Feb. 23, 2024 DEADLINE EXTENDED March 1, 2024. The entry system will automatically close at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time the night of March 1. 

Entries submitted February 24 - March 1 will incur a $10 late fee for each entry.

Fees - A late fee of $10 is now added to each entry submission.

  • PMJA member rate: $65 per entry. 
  • Nonmember rate: $100 per entry. 
  • Student rate: $40 per entry. 

All payments must be made online or mailed with a postmark on or before Feb. 23, 2024 March 1, 2024. If payment is not received within one week of Feb. 23 March 1, entries will be disqualified. 

For all winning entries, a single award plaque will be mailed to the winner.  Instructions for ordering duplicates will be provided with each award.

Payment Instructions 

  • Payment is due at the time of entry submission by credit card or by invoice. 
  • If you are paying by check, print the entry fee page and send it, along with your check payable to PMJA to: 
    PMJA Awards P.O. Box 838 Sturgis, SD 57785 

PMJA AUDIO CONTEST CATEGORIES

Audience Engagement Program - One news/public affairs program with an audience engagement component. Audience engagement can include call-in, social media, emails, and other types of engagement. TIME LIMIT 60 MINUTES

Collaborative Effort - Recognizes the efforts by two or more local stations working together on a specific project or a public radio station working with another entity on a specific project. This category is open to formal collaborations (LJC, RJC, etc.) and to less formal collaborations. Informal collaborations should contact awards@pmja.org for entry in this category. Collaborations will compete at the division of the largest station involved in the effort. TIME LIMIT 30 MINUTES

Continuing Coverage - A series of stories covering an issue or event as it evolves over time. TIME LIMIT 60 MINUTES

Documentary - A stand-alone program that addresses one issue or topic with a run time of 29:01 or longer. TIME LIMIT 60 MINUTES

Enterprise – A story or series of stories that demonstrates significant journalism that breaks new ground and/or approaches a story from a unique and compelling angle. Enterprise reporting goes deeper than daily reporting, providing fresh perspective, compelling voices, thoughtful analysis and clear and complete treatment of an issue or event. TIME LIMIT 40 MINUTES

Interview - One interview segment. May be part of a news/public affairs program. TIME LIMIT 30 MINUTES

Investigative Reporting – A story or series of stories that uncovers facts that someone or some entity has tried to keep from public scrutiny or tried to reframe or misrepresent. These stories show excellence in documentation and data and have impact or potential for impact and change. TIME LIMIT 40 MINUTES

News/Public Affairs Program - One regularly scheduled news/public affairs program. TIME LIMIT 60 MINUTES

Newscast - One unedited newscast, produced on one of our four newscast days. Those dates were March 3, May 17, September 15 and December 7. TIME LIMIT 10 MINUTES

Series - A scheduled series of stories on one issue or topic. TIME LIMIT 40 MINUTES

Spot News – Best spot on any topic less than 2 minutes in length. TIME LIMIT 2 MINUTES

Use of Sound – One story that shows a creative and effective use of sound to help tell the story. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

Local Reporting for National Networks:

Pieces that have been produced in conjunction with a national network will be allowed in the following categories.  All entries to these categories will be judged against one another without regard to Division.

National News Coverage – This category may include breaking news, news features, series or continuing coverage. TIME LIMIT 60: MINUTES

National Feature - One feature on a cultural or human interest topic. Hard news and investigative features do not belong in this category. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

Features produced by freelancers - A single feature on a cultural, human interest or news-related topic. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES. This category is open to freelance reporters who have produced work for a local public radio station. Work completed by freelancers in other categories will need to be entered by the local station at which the work was aired.

FEATURES:

Arts Feature – One feature for coverage of the arts. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

Climate/Environment Feature – One feature covering climate or the environment. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

Education Feature – One feature covering an education-related topic. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

Government and Democracy Feature – One feature on a topic related to the government or democracy. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

Health/Medical Feature - One feature on a topic related to health or medicine. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES.

Sports Feature – One feature covering a sports or competition-related topic that is not play-by-play coverage of a specific event. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

Human Interest Feature - One feature on a cultural or human interest topic. Hard news and investigative features do not belong in this category. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

News Feature - One feature on a news-related topic not specified in other feature categories. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

Special Feature Category: Economic Impacts on Local Communities - Economic uncertainty was big news in 2023. This year's special feature category is for showcasing the economic uncertainty in your local community. Some possible areas of reporting include housing, inflation, layoffs, recession and more. Each year, PMJA will choose a topic area for this special category. This is a special category for calendar year 2023. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

PMJA DIGITAL CONTEST CATEGORIES

Digital Writing – One story that demonstrates outstanding online news-writing skills. The story may have accompanying multimedia components, but only the written story will be judged.

Multimedia  – Best multimedia reporting on a single story or series of stories on a single topic. Submit all applicable URLs along with a narrative not to exceed one page.

Interview Podcast - One digital-first journalism audio project in the traditional interview style built with the intent of online audiences. Enter the “most representative” episode in a series. TIME LIMIT 60 MINUTES NOTE: For the podcast categories only, there is an Independent Division for non-station produced podcasts. Podcasts that are produced and edited locally but distributed nationally are allowable for this category.

Narrative/Produced Podcast - One digital-first journalism audio project in the traditional narrative or produced style built with the intent of online audiences. Enter the “most representative” episode in a series. TIME LIMIT 60 MINUTES NOTE: For the podcast categories only, there is an Independent Division for non-station produced podcasts. Podcasts that are produced and edited locally but distributed nationally are allowable for this category.

Visual Storytelling – A story (or series) told primarily through the use of visual media. This can include, but is not limited to data visualization, video, photography, social media, etc. The entry can include up to three examples on a single topic.

PMJA STUDENT CATEGORIES

Feature - One feature on a cultural or human interest topic. Hard news and investigative features do not belong in this category. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

News Feature - One feature on a news-related topic. TIME LIMIT 15 MINUTES

Podcast - One digital-first journalism audio project built with the intent of online audiences. Enter the “most representative” episode in a series. TIME LIMIT 60 MINUTES.

Spot News – Best spot on any topic less than 2 minutes in length. TIME LIMIT 2 MINUTES