Writing

Writing Guidelines

  • Each university may submit two entrants’ work per competition (or two teams in the new team investigative reporting competition).
  • Writing entrants must be undergraduate journalism majors attending a university with an ACEJMC-accredited journalism program or must be recent graduates of said program.
  • Spring, summer or fall 2022 graduates may enter the 2022-2023 competitions but would not be eligible to participate in the 2023 Championship.
  • An entry is a single article written by the entrant and published before the entrant graduated.
  • Only single bylines are allowed with the following exception: NEW: Team Investigative Reporting
    competition.
  • 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, the editor must certify in writing that it is primarily the
    entrant’s work with minimal editing and no editor rewriting.
  • 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.
  • An entrant 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 the online application by a school administrator.
  • Details are sent to all participating journalism schools. Login codes are provided by the program office.
  • To receive information about the program, please contact Program Director Jan Watten:
    jwatten@hearstfdn.org.

Writing Competitions

Feature Writing

Creative feature writing: color or mood article covering news, business, feature or entertainment as opposed to a hard conventional news story or personality profile. Stories should be memorable for their reporting, crafting,
creativity and economy of expression.

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, 2021 through November 1, 2022.

DEADLINE: Entries must be received by November 1, 2022.

Explanatory Reporting

Entries are the best example of explanatory reporting that illuminates a significant and complex subject,
demonstrating understanding and command of the subject, lucid writing and clear presentation. If from a series, only 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, 2021 through December 6, 2022.

DEADLINE: Entries must be received by December 6, 2022.

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 January 1, 2022 through January 24, 2023.

DEADLINE: Entries must be received by January 24, 2023.

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 February 1, 2022 through February 21, 2023.

DEADLINE: Entries must be received by February 21, 2023.

NEW! TEAM Investigative Reporting

For the best example of substantive investigative reporting that covers the subject intelligently and thoroughly, with special attention paid to overcoming particular challenges or difficulties in reporting or publishing, and any significant impact from the reporting.

Each submission should include a description of the reporting that was required and how access to essential information was achieved, noting any special challenges and describing any actual or potential impact.

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. Any corrections or clarifications to the reporting after its publication must be identified and explained.

Entrants MUST be undergraduate students (with the exception of minor help from graduate students who may have assisted with the project.)

Awards may be divided to the individual undergraduates on the winning team. If the entry qualifies for the National Writing Championship, the administering professor will select the lead entrant to participate in the
Championship. Note: only one entrant will be eligible to participate in the Championship.

All articles must be disseminated in print or online or both from March 1, 2021 through March 21, 2023.

DEADLINE: Entries must be received by Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

National Writing Championship

This event is open to eight selected finalists from the writing competitions: five first-place winners
(unless graduated the previous year) and three finalists who placed highest in their combined top two scores.

Dates: June 3-8, 2023.

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