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APME Journalism Innovation Awards for 2015
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The Associated Press Media Editors is now accepting entries to the Journalism Innovation Awards for 2015, honoring excellence in newspapers, radio, television and digital news sites in the United States and Canada.

This year, the awards have a new name – emphasizing innovation – that reflects APME’s rich heritage and its focus on the future. APME is an industry leader in empowering journalists to thrive in a rapidly changing environment, through NewsTrain workshops, national reporting projects, campus mentoring programs, and annual conferences. It is at the forefront in promoting freedom of information, diversity and community engagement.

The annual awards recognize journalism that successfully combines fundamental excellence with forward-looking innovation. The deadline for entries has been extended to March 11, 2016.

Eligible work must have been posted, published or launched between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2015. News organizations can submit the same entry in up to two categories. The fee is $75 per entry for APME members and $100 per entry for non-APME members.

The fee is $25 per entry for the Innovator of the Year for College Students. To see if you or your organization is a member, please go to http://www.apme.com/search. (If you are not yet an APME member, you may join at this site: http://bit.ly/1JJ1F1H)

Please note the following:

One award – Innovation in News Reporting – has been added. It honors coverage of breaking news that is both urgent and innovative.

One award – Innovator of the Year for Television and Radio – has been deleted. Entries from all media are welcome in the broader Innovator of the Year Award.

Four awards offer monetary prizes:

o The overall winner in the Public Service Awards: $1,500, sponsored by the APME Foundation.

o The overall winner in the First Amendment Awards (the Tom Curley Sweepstakes winner): $1,000.

o The Innovator of the Year Award. $1,000, sponsored by GateHouse Media’s Center for News & Design.

o The Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Reporting: $1,250 for each of two categories, sponsored by the Gannett Foundation.

Several awards recognize work done in different circulation categories. The Public Service Awards, First Amendment Awards, Innovation in News Reporting and Innovation in Storytelling Awards have three categories. The Al Neuharth Awards, Community Engagement Awards, and International Perspective Awards have two categories. Please see the specific awards for details.

Entries should be online only, preferably in PDF format, and accompanied by a cover letter. All relevant photos, video, audio and interactive content should be included or linked.

APME reserves the right to decline selecting a winner in any category.

The awards will be presented at the 2016 APME-ASNE Conference, Sept. 11-14 in Philadelphia. A highlight of the conference: Finalists for the Innovator of the Year Award will make presentations at the conference, and the winner will be selected live by attendees.

The first step in entering is signing up as an "entrant" at the APME contest site. Please keep your entrant username and password. You will need it to return to the site to edit or add more entries before submitting them for judging. Submit all entries before accessing the payment page to check out.

For more information, contact Sue Johnson (sue.price.johnson@gmail.com) or Sarah Nordgren (snordgren@ap.org) at the Associated Press.

Here are the awards. Enter at http://bit.ly/1JCHtyh

Public Service (including the APME Foundation Sweepstakes)

Criteria: Entries will be judged by how resources were used in serving the public good through high quality journalism, with demonstrable benefits to the public and/or its institutions.

Eligibility: Journalists with Associated Press or Canadian Press member organizations, or the organizations themselves, are eligible.

Categories: There will be three awards, recognizing accomplishments by small, medium and large news organizations. Newspapers will be divided by average daily circulation: up to 39,999; 40,000 to 149,999; and 150,000 and up, according to the latest audited figures. Broadcasters should use their DMA ranking to determine what category is appropriate. Wire service work should be entered in the 150,000-or-more category.

Prize: The best of the three winning entries will receive the APME Foundation Sweepstakes Award, and $1,000.
Nominations: Individuals, news organizations, professional societies, journalism schools, state AP associations and others may submit nominations.

Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of stories, series, visuals and/or editorials and community reaction. Up to 20 electronic files may be submitted, as well as a letter outlining the background, execution and accomplishments of the effort. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, and steps the organization took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.

Judging: Judging will be done by the president and three past presidents of APME plus a senior editor of The Associated Press. Judges will select the sweepstakes winner from the three division winners.

First Amendment (including the Tom Curley Sweepstakes)

Criteria: Entries will be judged by how they protect or advance freedom of information principles, and/or overcome significant resistance to the application of the First Amendment. Consideration will be given to work that widens the scope of information available to the public, and advances understanding of the importance of public access to that information.

Eligibility: Journalists with Associated Press or Canadian Press member organizations, or the organizations themselves, are eligible.

Categories: There will be three awards, recognizing accomplishments by small, medium and large news organizations. Newspapers will be divided by average daily circulation: up to 39,999; 40,000 to 149,999; and 150,000 and up, according to the latest audited figures. Broadcasters should use their DMA ranking to determine what category is appropriate. Wire service work should be entered in the 150,000-or-more category.

Prize: The best of the three winning entries will receive the Tom Curley Sweepstakes Award, and $1,000.
Nominations: Individuals, news organizations, professional societies, journalism schools, state AP associations and others may submit nominations.

Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of stories, series, visuals and/or editorials and community reaction. Up to 20 electronic files may be submitted, as well as a letter outlining the background, execution and accomplishments of the effort. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, and steps the organization took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.

Judging: Nominations will be judged by members of the APME Executive Committee, the chairman of the APME First Amendment Committee and distinguished experts on public access issues.

Innovator of the Year

Criteria: Entries will be judged by how journalists or their organizations create, execute and sustain a cutting-edge concept that could be successfully be adopted by other news media. The innovation can be in product development, organizational change, audience advancement, or any other effort that enhances the viability of news organizations.

Prize: The best entry will receive $1,000.

Eligibility: Journalists with Associated Press or Canadian Press member organizations, or the organizations themselves, are eligible.

Nominations: Individuals, news organizations, professional societies, journalism schools, state AP associations and others may submit nominations.

Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of stories, series, visuals and/or editorials and community reaction. Up to 20 electronic files may be submitted, as well as a letter outlining the background, execution and accomplishments of the effort. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, and steps the organization took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.

Judging: The selection of three finalists will be made by a panel of APME board members. The finalists will make presentations at the ASNE/APME conference in September, and a vote of attendees will determine the winner.

Innovator of the Year for College Students

Criteria: Entries will be judged by how university students or their organizations create, execute and sustain a cutting-edge concept that could be successfully adopted by other college media. The innovation can be in product development, organizational change, audience advancement, or any other effort that enhances the viability of student journalism.

Eligibility: Students enrolled at a U.S. or Canadian college or university, or departments within the school, or programs within the school (i.e. a student newspaper), are eligible.

Nominations: Journalism schools, individuals, news organizations, professional societies, state AP associations and others may submit nominations.

Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of stories, series, visuals and/or editorials and community reaction. Up to 20 electronic files may be submitted, as well as a letter outlining the background, execution and accomplishments of the effort. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, and steps the organization took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.

Judging: Judging will be done by a panel of APME board members.

Innovation in Investigative Journalism (The Al Neuharth Award)

Criteria: Entries will be judged by how they advance the role of community watchdog in helping a community understand and address important issues. Consideration will be given to innovative use of interactivity, new tools and creative use of any digital medium.

Eligibility: Journalists with Associated Press or Canadian Press member organizations, or the organizations themselves, are eligible.

Categories: There will be two awards, recognizing accomplishments by small and large news organizations. Newspapers will be divided by average daily circulation: up to 75,000; and 75,000 and up, according to the latest audited figures. Broadcasters should use their DMA ranking to determine what category is appropriate. Wire service work should be entered in the 75,000-and-up category.

Prize: The best entry in each category will receive the Al Neuharth Award, and $1,250.
Nominations: Individuals, news organizations, professional societies, journalism schools, state AP associations and others may submit nominations.

Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of stories, series, visuals and/or editorials and community reaction. Up to 20 electronic files may be submitted, as well as a letter outlining the background, execution and accomplishments of the effort. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, and steps the organization took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.

Judging: Judging will be done by a panel of APME board members.

Innovation in News Reporting

Criteria: Entries will be judged by how they report on a breaking news event or issue by combining urgent, compelling reporting with innovative tools that advance and enhance the audience experience.
Eligibility: Journalists with Associated Press or Canadian Press member organizations, or the organizations themselves, are eligible.

Categories: There will be three awards, recognizing accomplishments by small, medium and large news organizations. Newspapers will be divided by average daily circulation: up to 39,999; 40,000 to 149,999; and 150,000 and up, according to the latest audited figures. Broadcasters should use their DMA ranking to determine what category is appropriate. Wire service work should be entered in the 150,000-or-more category.

Nominations: Individuals, news organizations, professional societies, journalism schools, state AP associations and others may submit nominations.

Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of stories, series, visuals and/or editorials and community reaction. Up to 20 electronic files may be submitted, as well as a letter outlining the background, execution and accomplishments of the effort. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, and steps the organization took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.

Judging: Judging will be done by a panel of APME board members.

Innovation in Storytelling

Criteria: Entries will be judged by how they combine feature and/or explanatory reporting in a compelling narrative that integrates a range of digital tools into the full experience of the story.
Eligibility: Journalists with Associated Press or Canadian Press member organizations, or the organizations themselves, are eligible.

Categories: There will be three awards, recognizing accomplishments by small, medium and large news organizations. Newspapers will be divided by average daily circulation: up to 39,999; 40,000 to 149,999; and 150,000 and up, according to the latest audited figures. Broadcasters should use their DMA ranking to determine what category is appropriate. Wire service work should be entered in the 150,000-or-more category.

Nominations: Individuals, news organizations, professional societies, journalism schools, state AP associations and others may submit nominations.

Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of stories, series, visuals and/or editorials and community reaction. Up to 20 electronic files may be submitted, as well as a letter outlining the background, execution and accomplishments of the effort. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, and steps the organization took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.

Judging: Judging will be done by a panel of APME board members.

International Perspective

Criteria: Entries will be judged by how they provide effective and thoughtful coverage that demonstrates the interconnectedness of our world. This could be reflected in a discriminating selection of wire service coverage; stories that shed light on international connections to a local audience; articles involving people living or traveling abroad; or the use of local expertise to shed light on international developments.

Eligibility: Journalists with Associated Press or Canadian Press member organizations, or the organizations themselves, are eligible.

Categories: There will be two awards, recognizing accomplishments by small and large news organizations. Newspapers will be divided by average daily circulation: up to 75,000; and 75,000 and up, according to the latest audited figures. Broadcasters should use their DMA ranking to determine what category is appropriate. Wire service work should be entered in the 75,000-and-up category.

Nominations: Individuals, news organizations, professional societies, journalism schools, state AP associations and others may submit nominations.

Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of stories, series, visuals and/or editorials and community reaction. Up to 20 electronic files may be submitted, as well as a letter outlining the background, execution and accomplishments of the effort. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, and steps the organization took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.

Judging: Judging will be done by a panel of APME board members, and a senior Associated Press editor.

Mobile Platform

Criteria: Entries will be judged by a news organization’s ability to produce or make significant improvements to a mobile (smartphone or tablet) application or platform in 2015. Consideration will be given to entries that advance the state of the art in utility and engagement, including improvements in content, design, functionality and technology.

Eligibility: Journalists with Associated Press or Canadian Press member organizations, or the organizations themselves, are eligible.

Nominations: Individuals, news organizations, professional societies, journalism schools, state AP associations and others may submit nominations.

Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of stories, series, visuals and/or editorials and community reaction. Up to 20 electronic files may be submitted, as well as a letter outlining the background, execution and accomplishments of the effort. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, and steps the organization took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.

Judging: Judging will be done by a panel of APME board members.

Community Engagement

Criteria: Entries will be judged by a news organization’s ability to provide a forum for effective dialogue with its community, play a supportive and contributing role in that dialogue, and seek partnerships that sustain that dialogue.

Eligibility: Journalists with Associated Press or Canadian Press member organizations, or the organizations themselves, are eligible.

Categories: There will be two awards, recognizing accomplishments by small and large news organizations. Newspapers will be divided by average daily circulation: up to 75,000; and 75,000 and up, according to the latest audited figures. Broadcasters should use their DMA ranking to determine what category is appropriate. Wire service work should be entered in the 75,000-and-up category.

Nominations: Individuals, news organizations, professional societies, journalism schools, state AP associations and others may submit nominations.

Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of stories, series, visuals and/or editorials and community reaction. Up to 20 electronic files may be submitted, as well as a letter outlining the background, execution and accomplishments of the effort. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, and steps the organization took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.

Judging: Judging will be done by a panel of APME board members.

Associated Press Media Editors

APME is a professional network, a resource for helping editors and broadcasters improve their news coverage and newsroom operations.

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