Writing

Writing Guidelines

  • Each university may submit two entrants’ work per writing competition.
  • A competition entry must be a single article written by a single undergraduate journalism major (or recent journalism graduate). Only single bylines are allowed.
  • Entries must have been disseminated in print or online or both in a campus or professional publication.
  • Articles must be appropriate for the competition in which they are submitted, and must be produced and published within the time limitations specified.
  • If a story has a credit line, the entrant must include a statement describing the writing, reporting or editing work contributed by the person(s) cited in the credit line.
  • Sidebars, subordinate in length and content to the article submitted, written by the same entrant on the same topic and published the same day, will be considered part of a single entry.
  • If the entry is from a professional publication, it must be verified in an accompanying letter by the publication’s editor attesting that the entry is student work with minimal editing and no editor rewriting.
  • Corrections and clarifications: If a correction was published or issued online after the original story was presented to the audience, the correction or clarification must be submitted as well.
  • A student may enter multiple writing competitions with the following exceptions: if the entrant wins first place, if the entrant qualifies for the Championship, or if the entrant places twice in the top five.
  • An entrant who has won first place in the Writing Championship is not eligible to compete in future writing competitions.
  • An entry submitted once may not be resubmitted in any other competition or in any other competition year.

How to Enter

  • Competition entries are submitted through our new online application. Details will be sent to all participating journalism schools. Login codes are provided by the program office a month before the first deadline. If you have not received a login code, please contact Program Director Jan Watten: jwatten@hearstfdn.org or 415-908-4565.

Writing Competitions

Feature Writing

Creative feature writing: color or mood article covering news, business, feature or entertainment as opposed to a conventional news story or personality profile. Sidebars subordinate in length and content to the article may be included.

All articles must be disseminated in print or online or both from October 1, 2016 through October 31, 2017. DEADLINE: Entries must be received by TBA

Enterprise Reporting

Original reporting – including explanatory and investigative journalism – across any topic. If from a series, one article of the series may be submitted but must be accompanied by not more than one page summarizing the remaining articles and describing resultant actions, if any. Sidebars subordinate in length and content to the article may be included.

All articles must be disseminated in print or online or both from December 1, 2016 through December 5, 2017. DEADLINE: Entries must be received by TBA

Sports Writing

A news, feature story or commentary in sports, which must relate to an event or issue, not to a sports personality. Sidebars subordinate in length and content to the article may be included.

All articles must be disseminated in print or online or both from February 1, 2017 through January 30, 2018. DEADLINE: Entries must be received by TBA

Personality / Profile Writing

A personality sketch of an individual on or off campus.

All articles must be disseminated in print or online or both from March 1, 2017 through March 13, 2018. DEADLINE: Entries must be received by TBA

Breaking News Writing

Entries should be a report of an event written under deadline pressure. The entry should clearly demonstrate how quickly and accurately the entrant used available journalism tools to cover the story, with emphasis on a demonstrated use of real-time reporting. The article must be a major coverage of the event, and not a sidebar, analysis, etc.

All articles must be disseminated in print or online or both from March 1, 2017 through April 17, 2018. DEADLINE: Entries must be received by TBA

National Writing Championship

Dates: TBA. This event is open to eight selected finalists from the writing competitions: five first-place winners and three finalists who placed highest in their combined top two scores.

Judging

Writing entries are judged based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of the writing and the reporting that supports it
  • Stories must be well defined and framed clearly
  • Knowledge of subject
  • Understandability
  • Clarity
  • Reporting depth
  • Construction
  • Originality