Journalism holds the powerful to account, shines a light on corruption, and is a catalyst for positive change in local communities.
It’s also under attack more than at any time in modern American history, and so it’s more important than ever to recognize outstanding responsible journalism and its critical role in democracy.
Part of RTDNA’s mission is to help the public better understand why responsible journalism is essential to their daily lives and we can do so by highlighting the best examples of impactful work through the Murrow Awards.
Crafting a winning entry
The hard work is already done. Your story has been researched, reported, written and recorded. It’s creative, compelling and memorable. You’ve upheld the RTDNA Code of Ethics’ guiding principles of truth and accuracy, independence and transparency, and accountability. Your work has impacted your community and left a lasting impressing. Now, it’s time to be recognized.
How do you translate your great reporting into a winning entry?
- One great tip from Anzio Williams of Murrow-winning NBC 10 Philadelphia: Have someone who did not work on the story look over the piece and entry with a critical eye, just like the judges will, to ensure it’s your best work.
- Read category rules carefully and be sure to select the best category or categories for your work. Remember that some categories, like Excellence in Sound and Excellence in Video are looking for a single news story, while others like Excellence in Writing may include up to three stories.
- Make it as easy as possible for the judges to access the piece, whether it’s hosted on your website, YouTube, SoundCloud, or elsewhere. You want judges to spend their time being wowed by your work, not sifting through multiple or broken links. Remember, if you’re submitting a compilation, put the pieces together into one file.
- The one or two sentence short description on the entry form can be a great way to let the judges know what they’re about to see, so take advantage of the opportunity for a “teaser.” Supplemental materials, while not required for most categories, can also give judges more context for the story.
Nuts and bolts
If you’re new to the entry process or need a refresher, here’s a quick walk-through of the entry system.
A quick look at the most common entry problems can also save you a headache as you get started.
- Are you having trouble logging in to the awards site at awards.rtdna.org with the login information you saved from last year? That’s because past years’ credentials are not saved in the system. You’ll need to create a new account, which will be valid just through this year’s deadline.
- Are your membership login credentials not working at awards.rtdna.org? That’s because membership portal logins are separate from the awards system. You’ll want to create an award account.
- Make sure your membership is up-to-date before you enter. If you would like to take advantage of the member discount, be sure your membership is current and is verified on the entry form before you confirm your entries and pay the non-member fee.
- Should your piece win, the entry title and media organization will be printed on your award as you listed them on the entry form. Check for spelling, capitalization, punctuation, etc.
- Review your entries carefully before you confirm and pay. You won’t be able to go back to fix anything once you’ve checked out! Pay special attention to drop-down menus. They’re easy to miss! Make sure you have selected your Region and the correct market size.
Review the complete rules before you get started and, if you have additional awards questions as you go, email email@example.com.
The 2020 competition entry period runs from December through February.
In a sea of “fake news,” misinformation, opinion media and other types of content, it’s important to recognize how journalism stands apart. As journalists, we must persevere, holding each other accountable to our highest standards, and recognizing Murrow-worthy work.