SEJ Awards FAQs

NOTE: Visit the main contest page for the complete contest rules or to obtain a contest entry form.

How do I know I'm eligible?

You don't have to be an SEJ member or an environment specialist to enter. Reporters who cover health, politics, science, energy, local government or any other beat are encouraged to enter their work on environmental subjects. Students may enter work that was published or broadcast in a media outlet accessible to the general public. SEJ welcomes entries from outside the U.S., but non-English entries must be accompanied by a complete English translation. Judges for this contest may enter except in a category to which her or his panel is assigned. Members of SEJ's Board of Directors and Awards Committee and SEJ staff may not enter. Exceptions will be made for group entries including an SEJ board member, if that member did not play a significant role.

What should I send SEJ?

No matter which category you're entering, you need to send five copies of your work. Each copy of the entry must have a copy of the entry form on top, followed by the supporting letter, a list of story titles, then the story or stories being entered. If more than one reporter is on the entry, include one sheet listing the reporting team names, phone numbers and email addresses. Fees must be included. Please do not send supplemental materials.

  • Print category stories must be submitted in one of four ways: 1) clearly legible photocopies on paper measuring no smaller than 8.5 inches by 11 inches
     and no larger than 11 inches by 17 inches, 2) clips mounted on paper, cardboard or similar material (clips mounted on cardboard or other stiff paper may not be larger than 11 inches by 17 inches to allow for filing in the SEJ office), 3) reprints, or 4) printouts of PDF versions of print stories. In each case, the submitted material must show the same stories, headlines, photos and graphics that appeared originally in print, without any additions or deletions, and must be accompanied by at least one actual tearsheet or clipping. Tearsheets only are not accepted. News services may submit computer printouts.
     SEJ also requests entrants in print categories to include, if possible, an electronic copy on CD for archiving.
  • Television stories must be on VHS cassettes or DVD (digital video disc). It is the entrant's responsibility to make sure entered DVDs are playable in multiple formats and readable on both PC and Mac.
  • Radio stories must be on audio compact discs. It is the entrant's responsibility to ensure each copy is readable on both PC and Mac.
  • Online entries must be submitted in one of three ways: 1) web addresses that are current and publicly accessible, 2) compact discs showing exactly how the material appeared online or 3) legible printouts of exactly how the material appears (or appeared) online. In each case, the submitted material may not reflect any changes made after the last day of February of the current contest year. Entries must also be accompanied by complete instructions indicating which stories and web pages are to be judged. It is the entrant's responsibility to ensure each copy is readable on both PC and Mac.
  • Book entries must be submitted as published. Computer printouts or proofing copies will not be accepted.

How much does it cost?

Book entries are $50 for members, $80 for non-members who include a membership application with the entry, $125 for non-members.
Student entries are $15 for members, $25 for non-members who include a membership application with the entry, $50 for non-members.
All others are $30 for members, $50 for non-members who include a membership application with the entry, $80 for non-members.
Please note: Payment must accompany your entry.

Where should I send my entry, and when is the deadline?

Your completed packet must be postmarked by April 1, 2010,

and sent to SEJ Awards, P.O. Box 2492, Jenkintown, PA, 19046. Shipping address: 321 Old York Rd., Suite 200, Jenkintown, PA, 19046.

What are the eligible air/publication dates?

Books: January 1 - December 31, 2009
All other entries must have been published between March 1, 2009, and February 28, 2010. A series that begins or ends outside the contest dates may include those stories published outside the contest dates. Check your category for the number of stories allowed.

What types of stories may I enter?

Each story entered in the contest must be predominantly about an environmental subject and must have been published or broadcast in a media outlet accessible to the general public. Stories may be about unrelated environmental topics unless entered in the explanatory, investigative, or outstanding broadcast story categories, which must be about a single subject. The awards committee is the final authority for determining whether an entered story is eligible. Entry fees will not be returned for entries deemed not eligible.

How many stories may I enter?

There are different limits for the various categories, so consult the rules carefully. Also refer to the application form. Related stories published or broadcast on the same day count as one story, as do daily installments of a series.

What should I include in my brief cover letter?

You should describe your story or stories, including the resources that went into reporting them, their impact, and the deadlines and other obstacles you faced. The letter may be from you or a supervisor but it may not exceed one side of an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper, using 10-point type or larger.

May other people be part of my entry?

In addition to journalists working alone, groups may be part of the same entry if the group worked together on the entered stories. Only individuals may enter — not publications, stations, programs or networks. If a group wins, the prize will be divided according to instructions given by the group on the entry form. Group entries may include photographers, producers, artists, etc. Only one of the reporting team must be a member of SEJ to qualify for the member rate.

Which category should I enter?

Choose carefully because you may select only one category per entry. The beat category is to recognize a body of work, which could include deadline or feature reporting. The explanatory or investigative reporting categories are for more involved pieces or series. The online category is reserved for journalism produced specifically for Internet viewing, or republished using tools unique to the Internet, such as hyperlinks, streaming audio, or interactive features. It is not for no-frills reproductions of print, television or radio stories. If you're still uncertain about which category best fits your entry, please contact the SEJ office at (215) 884-8174.

May I enter the small-market print category?

You are eligible to enter the small-market category for print if your stories first appeared in a publication with a circulation of less than 100,000 copies.

May I enter more than once?

Yes, but only if you enter different stories each time and mail each entry separately with a separate entry fee. No story may be included in more than one entry, i.e., the same package of stories cannot be entered in more than one category and each story in a package may be part of only one entry.

Who will select the winners?

Panels of journalists, journalism educators and other qualified individuals appointed by the awards committee will judge qualified entries and pick place-winners. Judges may select no winners in a category if they decide there are no deserving entries. The awards committee, whose members are appointed by the SEJ board, is the final authority for interpreting contest rules and may disqualify entries that do not comply with those rules.

When will the winners be announced?

Winners will be announced in early July. Awards will be presented at SEJ's 20th annual conference in Missoula, Montana, October 13-17, 2010.

What will happen to the winning entries?

Copies of place-winning stories will be retained as an archive by SEJ and may be reproduced on the SEJ Web site and in SEJ publications at SEJ's discretion.

 

Still have questions? Contact SEJ by email or call (215) 884-8174.