2020 Awards Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers about the Education Writers Association journalism contest
Most common questions about the awards are listed here.
Q) I work for a magazine/weekly/podcast/an online-only news outlet. Where should I enter?
A) To respond to the changing nature of journalism, EWA in 2018 eliminated the previous platform-based awards categories. Now journalists of any medium or platform can enter and compete in any of the categories: Audio Storytelling, Beat Reporting, Features, Investigative, News, Public Service, Visual Storytelling, or the Eddie Prize. Note that the previous “broadcast” categories have been adjusted to allow for entries for any journalist’s entry that is either primarily audio or primarily visual, no matter what the outlet. So enter the category and newsroom size division that is most appropriate for your work.
Q) May freelance journalists enter?
A) Yes, as long as they meet EWA’s definition of “journalist,” as defined in EWA Bylaws, Article II, Section 1.1. Eligible journalists are defined as: “individuals whose primary professional activities involve reporting, writing, producing, editing, or otherwise preparing the news and editorial content of independent news media products. The definition of journalist also includes freelancers whose primary body of work is for independent news media, staffers at press associations or journalism education associations, journalism instructors, and journalism students.” Enter whichever category fits your entry, and enter the newsroom size division of the publishing outlet(s).
Q) I am a non-journalist but also contribute to a news outlet or magazine. May I enter?
A) No. EWA accepts only those entries produced by journalists that ran in a journalism outlet.
Q) Why aren’t works by non-journalists eligible for these awards?
A) There are many thoughtful writers in the teaching, think tank, and research communities who contribute much to education journalism by providing news tips, quotes, research and perspective. However, this contest honors the very best of independent education journalism. EWA is grateful to its community members for their continued support for expanding the breadth and depth of independent education journalism.
Q) How do I calculate the size of my newsroom to determine which division to enter?
A) Calculate the journalism staff size by counting all the full-time-equivalent (FTE) journalism-related employees in the newsroom at the time the entry was produced. In addition to reporters, the calculation should include, among others, all editors, designers, online producers and multimedia content producers, such as photographers, data analysts and videographers. Two half-time editors, for example, would add up to one FTE.
Q) I have a submission that ran as part of a partnership with another journalism organization. Which newsroom size division should I enter?
A) Enter in the newsroom size division for which the larger collaborating partner would be eligible. See the Rules page on additional things to consider if your work included partnering with one or more other outlets.
Q) I work for a small bureau or division that is part of a large news organization. Which newsroom size do I enter?
A) Enter the size division reflecting the newsroom resources available to you to produce the work. If you received no material support from any other office or division, enter based on your local newsroom. But if your work benefited from reporting from other bureaus, say, or editing, programming, or graphics from a centralized desk, enter in the division that corresponds to the staffing of the combined newsrooms.
Q) How will you know the size of my newsroom?
A) We generally operate on the honor system, though if the judges check and discover you have entered a newsroom size division smaller than you should, they can disqualify your entry. If you enter a larger division than you should, they may move your submission to its rightful place. We adopted the FTE newsroom staff model of gauging the size of the publication because we believe that metric has more to do with the resources of an outlet than does circulation size or web traffic.
Q) May I enter the same story in two different categories to hedge my bets?
A) Generally, no. The only exceptions are those entered in the beat category or for the Eddie Prize. But don’t get too stressed about picking the right category. Judges can and do occasionally move entries to categories if they feel they are better fits elsewhere. See our Rules for more specifics.
Q) How do I enter for an Eddie Prize?
A) Create an account on EWA’s awards website. There is no entry fee for the Eddie. However, entrants who wish to also be eligible for any other EWA award, including the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting and its $10,000 prize, must enter a category in addition to the Eddie.
Q) What if I want to submit something from a previous employer?
A) If you’re entering work from a previous employer, just be sure to note that in your entry letter.
Q) Who judges these entries?
A) EWA recruits veteran reporters, editors and journalism professors, many of them previous EWA prize winners, as judges. Judges are purposely assigned categories and newsroom divisions that avoid conflicts of interest, and they recuse themselves from judging entries from their own employer or close friends. If you are interested in volunteering as a judge, which is a great opportunity to read and learn about the best education journalism of the year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q) May I send my payment for entry later?
A) Yes, but payments must be postmarked by December 31, 2020, when the entries are turned over to the judges. Do not send cash. Mail checks to: EWA, Attention: Awards, 1825 K St. NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006.
Q) When must the stories I’m entering have run or been published?
A) The majority of elements of entries must have been published, posted or broadcast in an independent news outlet for the first time in 2020. EWA does accept series in which some of the parts appeared during the 2019–2020 school year, but a majority of the series’ pieces must have run in calendar year 2020. There’s one additional caveat to this exception: Stories published or broadcast in 2019 that were recognized in last year’s EWA awards are ineligible for consideration in this year’s awards.
Q) Your entry deadline is Dec. 15. What if I want to enter a story that will run or be posted later in December?
A) Go ahead and complete as much of the entry form as possible and pay your fee before the Dec. 15 deadline. Email us at awards (at) ewa.org to give us a heads up, and we’ll allow you to add a link or upload a file on the day your piece appears. Submit those additional links no later than Dec. 31.
Q) What are the entry fees?
A) For every category but the Eddie Prize, the per-entry fees are $60 for EWA members and $110 for non-members. (There is no charge for entering the Eddie Prize competition.)
Q) Do I need a letter of support or endorsement from an editor?
A) No. You can enter all on your own. You do not need a letter or any other approval from an editor. The same rule applies for freelancers.
Q) What should I include in my cover letter?
A) The cover letter can be written by the entrant(s) or an editor. Briefly state why the entry matters and include background information if appropriate about reporting challenges, such as whether the entry required significant public records requests, the thinking behind any innovations in presentation, and the impact of the work, such as whether it uncovered a critical issue or violation or resulted in any positive changes in the community. The suggested length for your cover letter is one page.
Q) Does my entry have to be submitted online?
Q) What is the latest date for entering?
A) All entries must be completed before 11:59 p.m. (Pacific) on December 15.
Q) How many articles or stories, or how much audio or video, can I submit in each entry?
A) It depends on the category: Beat reporters can submit up to five pieces. All other categories are limited to one story (or package or series) with no more than four parts. All audio and video submissions are capped at a total viewing or listening time of one hour.
Q) Are the fees per article or per entry?
A) The payment is per entry, not per article. For example, if a category permits up to four articles or pieces, and you submit four articles for that entry, you pay one fee of $60 for members, or $110 for non-members.
Q) What format should I use to submit my work?
A) URLs alone are enough and preferred (though make sure to provide usernames and passwords to get around paywalls) but you can also submit JPEGs, MOVs, MPEGs, MP3s or MP4s, PDFs, PNGs, WAVs, or WMVs.
Q) May I take back an entry I submitted? What about a refund?
A) Once an entry is submitted, you cannot delete it, so use the application process carefully. We cannot refund your application fee, either.
Q) Do you accept entries in languages other than English?
A) At this time, we can only accept entries written or spoken in English.
Q) What are the cash prizes per award?
A) They are $1,000 for winning a category; $2,500 for the Moskowitz Prize for Outstanding Beat Reporting; $7,500 for the Edwin Gould Foundation’s Eddie Prize; and $10,000 for the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting.
Q) Is there a limit to the number of entries I may submit?
A) No, but each entry requires its own entry fee and entry form.
Q) May one person with a media outlet create entries on behalf of other staff members?
A) Yes. You will have to create separate entries for each different entrant, of course.
Q) I work with another reporter on many stories. May teams enter the beat reporting category?
A) The beat reporting awards recognize the work of individual reporters. Teams of two or more reporters are not eligible. However, one of the five stories in your submitted package may have a co-byline credit.
Q) When will the winners be announced?
A) Finalists are announced in April. Winners are announced typically in the late spring.