Information

2019 Award Categories

The Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Awards for Education Reporting competition consists of seven categories. In addition, EWA welcomes entries for the Eddie Prize. 

Entrants should review all categories before entering their submissions. The most notable change since 2018 is the creation of a separate category for investigative journalism.

Below, you’ll find a list of the main rules concerning the categories, as well as explanations of each category. For further details, check out our Rules and FAQ pages.

Size divisions:

All categories but the Eddie Prize have divisions organized by the size of the newsroom(s) that produced the entry.

Entrants should calculate their newsroom size by counting all full-time-equivalent (FTE) editorial employees in the newsroom. In addition to reporters, the calculation should include, among others, editors, designers, online producers and multimedia content producers, such as photographers, data analysts and videographers. Two half-time editors would be counted as one FTE.

If a collaboration brought together newsrooms of different sizes, please submit the entry into the size division for which the larger or largest newsroom is eligible. Please coordinate with any partner organizations to ensure the same material is not submitted by more than one partnering outlet.

 EWA reserves the right to move submissions into categories or size divisions we deem to be more appropriate.

Media formats

All but the Audio and Visual categories are open to media of any format. 

Prizes

The prize for category winners (except for the Eddie) is $1,000. Ties split the prize.

CATEGORIES

Audio Storytelling: This category honors exceptional audio journalism on an education event, topic or issue. Each entry should consist of a single piece (or cohesive package or series), with a total listening time not to exceed one hour. All entries must include a transcript. Judges may consider originality of voice, overall production quality, and innovative use of storytelling techniques.

  • Smaller: <10 FTE newsroom employees
  • Larger: 10+ FTE newsroom employees

Beat Reporting: This category honors individual reporters who demonstrate breadth, depth, persistence, imagination, sensitivity and responsibility in covering the education beat in any medium throughout the year. Entries will be judged as a package that may include breaking news, features, in-depth reporting, news blogging, and data analysis. For print or text entries, the limit is five pieces. Multimedia entries can include more than five pieces, as long as the total run time of all pieces does not exceed an hour. For all entries: No more than one piece may have a byline shared with other reporters.

  • Small: <25 FTE newsroom employees
  • Midsize: 25-99 FTE newsroom employees
  • Large: 100+ FTE newsroom employees

Feature: This category honors excellence in human-interest reporting and presentation. Each entry should consist of a single non-breaking feature story; a package or series of no more than four pieces; or a collection of pieces with a total combined listening or viewing time of less than one hour. Examples include but are not limited to a profile, narrative or interview, focused on a single topic, event or general theme.

  • Small: <25 FTE newsroom employees
  • Midsize: 25-99 FTE newsroom employees
  • Large: 100+ FTE newsroom employees

Investigative: This category recognizes journalism that goes beyond routine reporting and fact-checking to uncover previously hidden or little-known information or wrongdoing. Besides the standard criteria, judges will consider factors such as the difficulty of uncovering the information, the importance of the revelations, and the originality of the investigation. Each entry should consist of a a single piece; a cohesive package or series with no more than four parts; or a collection of pieces with total combined viewing or listening time of less than one hour.

  • Smaller: <50 FTE newsroom employees
  • Larger: 50+ FTE newsroom employees

News: This category recognizes excellence in breaking news, revelatory reporting, and/or news analysis in any medium. Each entry should focus on a single news event, topic or issue and consist of a single piece; a cohesive package or series of no more than four parts; or a collection of pieces with total combined viewing or listening time of less than one hour. Besides the standard factors, judges in this category may also consider time constraints reporters faced in covering breaking news.

  • Small: <25 FTE newsroom employees
  • Midsize: 25-99 FTE newsroom employees
  • Large: 100+ FTE newsroom employees

Public Service: This category recognizes journalism that makes a substantive contribution to the public’s understanding of critical issues of common concern and/or makes a demonstrable positive impact on individuals or a community. Judges will consider factors such as relevance, clarity, enterprise and demonstrated impact. Entries can include explanatory pieces, data projects, opinion pieces, or any other journalistic project that serves the public interest. Each entry should consist of a a single piece; a cohesive package or series with no more than four parts; or a collection of pieces with total combined viewing or listening time of less than one hour.

  • Smaller: <50 FTE newsroom employees
  • Larger: 50+ FTE newsroom employees

Visual Storytelling: This award celebrates exceptional visual reporting of any type. This includes, but is not limited to, journalism that relies heavily on videos, images, graphics, interactives or illustrations to inform the public about an important educational event, topic or issue. Entries do not have to be exclusively visual and can accompany reporting presented in another medium. Entries may include complementary text or audio narrative, for example, but their primary focus should be visual storytelling. Judges may consider factors such as technique, the appropriateness of medium choice, originality, design and overall visual excellence. Each entry should consist of a single piece; a cohesive package or series of no more than four parts; or a collection of pieces with total combined viewing or listening time of less than one hour.

  • Smaller: <35 FTE newsroom employees
  • Larger: 35+ FTE newsroom employees

The Eddie Prize: This prize honors the best work by an eligible journalist on the challenges low-income students face getting into and/or completing college. Judges will evaluate the entries for ingenuity of reporting and trenchant analysis that uncovers, highlights or furthers the discussion about the challenges low-income students face, and problems or conditions related to their efforts to obtain a degree. Special attention will be paid to works that bring to life aspects of this issue that may not have previously come to the attention of the public. There are no size divisions for the Eddie Prize. The winner of this category will receive a $7,500 cash award. (Read more about the Eddie Prize.)

Repeated submissions

Any item submitted in one category may NOT be submitted in a second category, unless that other category is for beat entries or the Eddie Prize. However, the entire beat-entry package should not be identical to an entire package submitted to any other category.

Judging criteria

Entries to the Education Writers Association awards contest will be judged on criteria that include quality of writing and reporting; freshness and depth of insights; clarity of explanation; and innovation and effectiveness of presentation.

Entrants

The EWA awards are limited to the work of professional journalists published, posted or aired by independent news outlets in 2019. Professional journalists are defined in EWA Bylaws, Article II, Section 1.1.

EWA staff is available to answer questions or concerns about the awards, including eligibility and the revised categories. Please email your queries to awards@ewa.org.