Digital First Media Editor-in-Chief Jim Brady announced today that the first annual DFMie awards will recognize the best DFM journalism of 2012.
“Our journalists did a lot of outstanding work in 2012 (and are continuing this year),” Brady said in an email to DFM newsrooms. “We are establishing this rewards program to recognize and reward our very best.”
The annual awards will all be chosen on a national basis, rather than at the cluster level as we do with the monthly awards. We will select a DFM Journalist of the Year for each of four categories: non-daily, small daily (under 10K print circulation), mid-sized daily (10-50K) and metro (over 50K). One of them will also be chosen as the DFM Journalist of the Year. In addition, we will choose the best DFM work in several other categories, which are detailed in the rules below.
The rules are designed to recognize our best work and to keep the volume of submissions manageable for the judges.
Annual DFMie Awards Rules
How to enter: Entries must come from the top editor for each newsroom. If you believe you have a worthy entry for a category, submit it to your editor. Editors may nominate a committee to screen entries for their newsrooms (and may set an earlier deadline for nominations to the committee).
Limitations on entries: An editor (or nominating committee) must determine the categories where you have your best chances to compete. Individual newsrooms may enter only four of the limited-entry categories. We are awarding DFMies in a lot of categories, but we don’t want to make excessive work for newsrooms preparing entries or for judges. However, a newsroom gets a bonus entry for each monthly DFMie won since the awards started in September. For instance, the St. Paul Pioneer Press would get six entries because it won two DFMies. The Willits News could make five entries because it won a DFMie. In the one-entry categories, each newsroom may submit one entry and those entries will not count against the limits for the limited-entry categories. No newsroom may enter any category more than once.
LANG and BANG exceptions: The Los Angeles News Group and Bay Area News Group are, more than any other clusters, working as unified operations, rather than individual newsrooms. LANG and BANG’s lead editors may submit one entry for each category if they want to determine submissions at the cluster level rather than the newsroom level. They can select four categories in which to submit a second entry.
Thunderdome: Like any other top newsroom editor, Robyn Tomlin may submit entries for Thunderdome journalists. Because Thunderdome is not eligible for monthly DFMies, Thunderdome will be limited to six entries in the limited-entry categories.
Self-submissions. Staff members who believe they have produced work worthy of an award are encouraged to nominate their work to their editors. Ask your editor whether he or she thinks you would be one of the ones your newsroom will nominate. If so, the editor may ask you to choose the pieces to submit and write the first draft of the entry. Only top newsroom editors (or cluster editors in the case of LANG and BANG) may submit entries to Steve Buttry.
Entry submissions: Each newsroom (or cluster in the LANG and BANG cases) must submit all of its entries in separate emails to Steve Buttry, sbuttry (at) digitalfirstmedia (dot) com. The email must come from the top editor, even if the editor appointed another editor or a committee to make the selections. The subject line should say “Annual DFMie nominations” and must have the name of the category in the subject line as well. Each entry should start with the name(s) of the journalists being nominated, in boldface, or clearly state that this is a staff entry if you are nominating the work of more than four staff members. Unless the guidelines in a particular category below specify otherwise, an entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation and no more than three links to the works that constitute the entry. If one of those links is a portal to complete coverage of the story or issue, you should designate three primary links to be part of the entry. Judges will be welcome to browse additional links, but they will be asked to read/view only three individual pieces (or whatever the limit is for a particular category). You may substitute a pdf of a print page for one of the links. If social media was an important part of the story, you can create a Storify showing the social media aspects. This won’t count against the three links, but you need to specify that they Storify itself was not part of the coverage at the time. A public-facing Storify that was part of the original coverage counts as one of your links. If you published a how-we-did-it story or video, that can be a bonus link as well.
Deadlines. Entries must be submitted to Buttry by
March 31 Monday, April 8, 2013.
Confirmations of entries. Buttry will send a brief email confirmation of each entry. If you don’t receive an email confirmation by April 3, check with Buttry to make sure your entry was received. He will check spam filters and try to confirm each entry, but the entrants are responsible for follow-through if an entry is not confirmed.
Print content. As Digital First Media, our emphasis is on digital content and all entries must be emailed in a digital format. No hard-copy entries will be accepted. Pdfs may be submitted in place of links if print content or presentation is an important part of the entry.
Entry exceptions. These rules are devised to moderate the amount of work we ask judges to take on, not to keep people from entering their best work. If you feel that a worthy entry cannot be showcased properly, send it to Buttry a week before the deadline as you would like to submit it, with an explanation of why you need to exceed a limit. If he agrees that you need to exceed the limit, the entry will be accepted. If not, you will have a few days to revise the entry.
Informing nominees. We encourage editors to share the nominations they write with nominees. Surprises are nice, but if you don’t tell a nominee she or he has been nominated, only one person gets the surprise and others don’t get the pleasure of learning what their editors thought of their work. Beyond the recognition for the winners, we hope a benefit of these awards will be recognition for the nominees. Editors may make the decision whether to inform their full newsrooms about all the nominations.
Former employees and non-employees. Except the community blogger award, only DFM staff members are eligible to win DFMies. However, someone who was employed by DFM at the time the work was done is eligible to win even if he or she has left the company since then. Stringers, freelancers or unpaid community contributors are not eligible for individual awards. However, team entries including contributions from non-staff members are allowed.
Contest period. Work must be done in the 2012 calendar year. For a series or continuing coverage, some of the work must be done in 2012.
Judging. Buttry will recruit non-DFM journalists and journalism professors to handle the judging.
Announcement. We anticipate naming the winners by the end of May.
Awards. Each DFMie will carry an award of $1,000. For entries of up to four contributors, awards will be split equally. Entries of more than $1,000 will be staff entries, which will win $1,000 for a staff party. (If the award is for coverage of a tragic situation where a party would be inappropriate, the staff can decide to donate the prize to a charitable cause associated with the tragedy.)
Banquet. Award winners will be honored at a banquet in Denver at a date to be determined. DFM will pay travel expenses.
Multiple winners. An individual may win more than one award. In fact, the DFM Journalist of the Year will have won another award.
Multiple submissions. An editor may submit essentially the same work for multiple categories (we expect most, if not all, Journalist of the Year entries to be submitted in another category). However, you must submit each as a separate entry.
Changing categories. Judges will be allowed to move an entry from one category to another (including Journalist of the Year) if they choose.
Newsrooms must choose which of these categories present their best chance of winning, with the number of categories you may enter governed by the rules for limited-entry categories.
Coverage of breaking news (staff award). No more than 10 elements (individual elements to include stories, videos, pdfs of print pages, photo galleries, multimedia, Storify of social media coverage). Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation.
Investigative/enterprise reporting. Entry should include no more than 250 words of explanation and no more than five links to works.
Visual journalism. Can be coverage of a single story or portfolio of the year’s best work. No more than 10 elements in entry (video, photo, multimedia). Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation.
Design. Web or print design. Up to three links to web pages or three pdfs. Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation.
Sports journalism. Coverage of a single event or issue. Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation and no more than three links to works.
Feature/lifestyle/entertainment journalism. Coverage of a single event or issue. Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation and no more than three links to works.
Opinion journalism. Editorials, cartoons, columns, blogs, criticism, etc. Commentary about a single issue. Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation and no more than three links to works.
Interactive journalism. Multimedia, map, quiz, graphic, etc. involving user interaction. Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation and no more than three links to works.
Data journalism. Work based on data analysis and/or interactive database. Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation and no more than three links to works.
Political journalism. (This may not be an annual category.) Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation and no more than three links to works. Can be coverage of a single story or issue or best three stories of the year.
Live coverage. Best live coverage of a single issue. Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation and no more than three links to works, all of them produced live.
Use of social media. Entry will be one Storify curation of your social media use in coverage of a single event or issue. It can start with an introduction of no more than 250 words providing context and explanation. Short transitional explanations between sections of the curation don’t count against the 250-word limit. The curation should be mostly social content, but can include links to your web content. Also can include community discussion of your coverage (questions, RTs, replies, tips, etc.).
Community engagement project. Explanation of the project can be up to 250 words, with up to five links, including links to your own site or to bloggers participating in a project or someone in the community praising it. A Storify about the project and social media aspects of it can be one of the five links. You can use a pdf (either print page or letter of appreciation from someone in the community) in place of one of the links.
Staff blogger. Posts can be about a single topic or a portfolio of best work during the year. No more than five links. Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation.
Each newsroom may submit one entry in each of these categories.
Special contribution. Recognizes newsroom leadership, mentoring, training, community work or other contributions that may not show in published work. Nomination not to exceed 500 words. Supporting links not required, but up to three links allowed.
Public service. Nomination not to exceed 500 words. Up to five links allowed.
Print front page. Nomination not to exceed 100 words. One single front page. Designer or editor who laid out the page is the entrant.
Assigning editor of the year. Nomination not to exceed 500 words. Up to three links allowed, but no links required. Nomination can be based on coverage of a single story or issue or on general work for the year.
Innovator of the year. Nomination not to exceed 500 words. Up to three links allowed.
Community blogger of the year. Entry is not a staff member, but someone in your community who blogs for your website or blogs independently, linked to from your website and part of your Community Media Lab or other network. Entry should include no more than 100 words of explanation and no more than three links to works.
Copy editor of the year (a cluster copy desk may nominate two). Nomination not to exceed 250 words. Nomination can discuss grievous errors caught, in detail if needed, but should not name the offending journalists. Up to 10 links/pdfs allowed for print or web headlines (for pdfs, identify the headline(s) written, with headline ID’s not counting against word-limit for nomination).
SEO headline-writing. Up to 10 links. Nomination should include story metrics, not counting against 100-word limit of the nomination.
Journalist of the Year
One nomination allowed from each newsroom, not counting against limits. Nomination may be up to 500 words and may include up to five links. Entry can be portfolio of year’s best work or coverage of a single story or issue. Entries should note print frequency and circulation, which determine which category an individual will compete in. Judges may add the winner of any other category to this category for consideration (even if the submission requirements for the other category vary).
Non-daily journalist of the year (newsrooms without a daily print publication).
Small-daily journalist of the year (newsrooms w/ daily print circulation below 10,000).
Mid-sized daily journalist of the year (newsrooms w/ daily print circulation from 10-50K)
Metro daily journalist of the year (newsrooms w/ daily print circulation above 50K; Thunderdome journalists will compete in this category as well)
From the four Journalist of the Year winners, one DFM Journalist of the Year will be chosen.