Association of Food Journalists
Awards

ASSOCIATION OF FOOD JOURNALISTS
Annual Awards Competition
CALL FOR 2015 ENTRIES

Entries must be submitted electronically by
midnight EST March 16, 2015
OR postmarked on or before March 16, 2015


INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the annual Association of Food Journalists Awards Competition. The competition began in 1986 and recognizes some of the finest work of food journalists.

The contest is open to AFJ members and to food writers and editors who are not members of the association. If you are not a member of AFJ, please consider joining! AFJ offers networking, camaraderie, specialized resources, job listings, professional development and reporting opportunities through its website, a newsletter, email connections and annual conferences. Reduced contest entry fees apply if you are a member at the time of submission. Learn more about AFJ and download a membership application here.

Please read the description of each category you plan to enter carefully, as well as the General Rules and Procedures noted at the end of this document, before you assemble your entries.

AFJ now offers an electronic entry process; however, mail-in entries are still permitted in most categories. Please note: Because of AFJ's longstanding practice of blind judging of entries, submitting links is not permitted for most writing categories. However, there is still a way to enter these categories electronically. Exceptions to the blind judging procedure are Best Newspaper Food Coverage, Best Newspaper Special Food Project, Best Food Blog, Best Food Visual, Best Food Multimedia Presentation, Best Newspaper Food Website and Best Online-Only Food or Dining Publication. The online entry form is here.

You also can submit your entry form electronically but mail in your entries; in that case, a printout of your completed entry form must be included with your mailing.

Questions about competition categories or rules for submission can be directed to:

Nancy J. Stohs, Awards Competition 2015 Chair, (414) 224-2382, nstohs@journalsentinel.com

OR Jennifer Palcher-Silliman, AFJ Executive Director

Good luck!

COMPETITION CATEGORIES

There are a total of 15 categories in the 2015 AFJ competition.Four are for newspapers only: Best Newspaper Food Coverage, Best Newspaper Food Feature (both with circulation divisions), Best Newspaper Special Food Project and Best Newspaper Food Website. Most of the other 11 categories welcome entries across all publishing platforms.

All entries, with the exception of Best Newspaper Food Website, Best Online-Only Publication and Best Food Blog, must have been published in 2014.

AFJ reserves the right to suspend any competition category that does not receive a minimum of 10 entries. If a category is discontinued, those entering it will be contacted to determine if they want their entry judged in the next highest circulation category (if applicable), or if they want a refund of the entry fee. No entries will be returned.

BEST NEWSPAPER FOOD COVERAGE (Print Only)
TWO OR THREE CIRCULATION DIVISIONS

This category encompasses all regularly scheduled food pages published in a newspaper over the course of a week.

Entries will be judged on graphics, writing, creative ideas, story mix, helpfulness to the reader, headlines and overall appeal.

Circulation divisions will be determined after all entries are received to ensure adequate and comparable numbers in each division.

How to enter: One entry is composed of three different weeks of regularly scheduled food sections or pages published in 2014.

If you are submitting hard copies, include THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form. The telephone number minus the area code of the person entering must be written in the upper right corner of each section or page. When food is part of a larger section, the entire section must be included, even if some of the content is unrelated (such as entertainment). Only the food part of the section will be judged.

Electronic entries composed of PDFs of each page of each section can be submitted. PDF files should be named by date and page order (for example, April 15 - 1, April 15 - 2, etc.) Save the complete set to a zip file and submit with the entry form as an attachment. Note: Each zip file has a 50MB limit. If your zip file exceeds it, split the PDFs into two files and attach each separately.

Alternatively, the PDFs can be burned to a CD labeled with the entrant's phone number minus area code and mailed in. Three identical CDs must be submitted.

Circulation verification is required for this category. (See Circulation Verification under General Rules and Procedures, below).

BEST NEWSPAPER FOOD FEATURE (Print/Web)
TWO OR THREE CIRCULATION DIVISIONS

This category is for softer food stories, including interviews, profiles and features on food or cuisine, with or without recipes, published in a newspaper or on a newspaper's online site. Sidebars are permitted.

Entries will be judged on writing, creative approach, knowledge of subject matter and relevance of the topic.

There is no restriction on the number of entries from one person, but each requires a separate entry form and an entry fee.

Circulation divisions will be determined after all entries are received to ensure adequate and comparable numbers in each division.

How to enter: Entries can be (1) newspaper clippings (or photocopies), pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (clippings larger than the letter-size paper can be folded inward); (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives; or (3) a Word document or PDF containing the story copied and pasted from the newspaper's website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form.

If submitting hard copies, black out the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appear (bylines, photo credits, folio, etc.). The telephone number minus the area code of the person entering must be written in the upper right corner of each page. Staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top.

If attaching a Word document or PDF to the electronic entry form, be sure you have deleted the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appeared. Include your phone number minus area code at the top of the document.

Circulation verification is required for this category. (See Circulation Verification under General Rules and Procedures, below).

BEST NEWSPAPER SPECIAL FOOD PROJECT (Print)

This category is for in-depth coverage of any specific food issue or topic, published by a newspaper. The project can take several forms:

  • a series, consisting of two or more consecutively published articles on a single subject (excluding regular columns);
  • a complete section or dedicated portion of a section on one topic; or
  • a coordinated group of stories printed in more than one section of the newspaper on a given day.

(A project from a wire service, syndicate or newspaper group is accepted from any subscribing newspaper in which it appears.)

Entries will be judged on reporting and writing (use of multiple sources, readability, accuracy, timeliness, organization, cohesiveness of articles) and on relevance or general interest. Online extras, such as photo galleries, videos, etc., will be taken into account by the judges if active links are provided.

There is no restriction on the number of food projects that one person or publication may enter, but each requires an entry fee and separate entry form.

How to enter: If the project is a series or coordinated group of stories, all stories must be included in the order in which they appeared. Special sections should be submitted in full.

Entries can be (1) newspaper clippings, pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (clippings larger than the letter-size paper can be folded inward); (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives; or (3) PDFs of the pages comprising the series or project.

Provide active links (on a separate piece of paper attached to each entry) to online galleries, graphics or other extras if you want them taken into consideration.

If submitting hard copies, the telephone number minus the area code of the person entering must be written in the upper right corner of each page. Staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top.

Electronic entries composed of PDFs of the complete series or project can be submitted. PDF files should be numbered in order. Save to a zip file and submit with the entry form as an attachment. Note: Each zip file has a 50MB limit. If your zip file exceeds it, split the PDFs into two files and attach each separately.

Alternatively, the PDFs can be burned to a CD labeled with the entrant's phone number minus area code and mailed in. Three identical CDs must be submitted.

BEST NEWSPAPER FOOD WEBSITE

This category judges the online versions of newspaper food sections. Sites will be judged on appearance, ease of navigation, mix of content, interactivity and use of visuals such as photo galleries, videos and other multimedia components. Unlike all the other contest categories (except for Best Online-Only Food or Dining Publication), this category will be judged in real time (2015 vs. the calendar year 2014).

How to enter: Include the site's URL with your entry.

BEST ONLINE-ONLY FOOD OR DINING PUBLICATION

This category judges Web publications that do not have a print component. (See requirements under "Qualifying online-only publication.") Sites will be judged on appearance, ease of navigation, mix of content, interactivity and use of visuals such as photo galleries, videos and other multimedia components. Unlike all the other contest categories (except for Best Newspaper Food Website), this category will be judged in real time (2015 vs. the calendar year 2014).

How to enter: Include the site's URL with your entry.

BEST NON-NEWSPAPER FOOD FEATURE (All Platforms)

This category is for softer food stories, including interviews, profiles and features on food or cuisine, with or without recipes, published in print or online by any qualifying* publication other than a newspaper. Sidebars are permitted.

There is no restriction on the number of food features that one person or publication may enter, but each requires an entry fee and separate entry form.

Entries will be judged on writing, creative approach, knowledge of subject matter and relevance of the topic.

How to enter: Entries can be (1) the publication's clippings (or photocopies), pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (clippings larger than the letter-size paper can be folded inward); (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the publication's website or electronic archives; or (3) a Word document or PDF containing the story copied and pasted from the publication's website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form.

If submitting hard copies, black out the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appear (bylines, photo credits, folio, etc.). The telephone number minus the area code of the person entering must be written in the upper right corner of each page. Staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top.

If attaching a Word documentor PDF to the electronic entry form, be sure you have deleted the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appeared. Include your phone number minus area code at the top of the document.

BEST FOOD ESSAY (All Platforms)

This category is for a single essay-style piece by a writer about a food subject published by a newspaper, magazine or qualifying* online-only publication. (The essay can be one published as part of a writer's regular column.)

There is no restriction on the number of essays that one person or publication may enter, but each requires an entry fee and separate entry form.

Essays will be judged largely on the overall quality of the writing.

How to enter: Entries can be (1) the publication's clippings (or photocopies), pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (clippings larger than the letter-size paper can be folded inward); (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the publication's website or electronic archives; or (3) a Word document or PDF containing the story copied and pasted from the publication's website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form.

If submitting hard copies, black out the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appear (bylines, photo credits, folio, etc.). The telephone number minus the area code of the person entering must be written in the upper right corner of each page. Staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top.

If attaching a Word document or PDF to the electronic entry form, be sure you have deleted the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appeared. Include your phone number minus area code at the top of the document.

BEST STORY ON FOOD POLICY OR FOOD ISSUES (All Platforms)

This category can include hard and breaking news, investigative reporting, consumer, nutrition or government policy issues, published by a newspaper, magazine or qualifying* online-only publication.

Entries (story plus sidebars, if any) will be judged on reporting (accuracy, timeliness, multi-sourcing) and on writing (readability and organization).

There is no restriction on the number of stories that one person or publication may enter, but each requires an entry fee and separate entry form.

How to enter: Entries can be (1) the publication's clippings (or photocopies), pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (clippings larger than the letter-size paper can be folded inward); (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the publication's website or electronic archives; or (3) a Word document or PDF containing the story copied and pasted from the publication's website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form.

If submitting hard copies, black out the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appear (bylines, photo credits, folio, etc.). The telephone number minus the area code of the person entering must be written in the upper right corner of each page. Staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top.

If attaching a Word documentor PDF to the electronic entry form, be sure you have deleted the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appeared. Include your phone number minus area code at the top of the document.

BEST FOOD COLUMN (All Platforms)

This category is open to any regularly published food column in a newspaper, magazine or qualifying* online-only publication. (Note that restaurant criticism should be entered in the Best Restaurant Criticism category, and columns focusing exclusively on beer, wine or spirits should be entered in Best Writing on Beer, Wine or Spirits.)

Each entry will be judged on the quality of the writing and on how well it entertains, informs and reflects the personality of the writer.

Three examples should be submitted. A person may enter this category only once for the same column.

How to enter: Entries can be (1) the publication’s clippings (or photocopies), pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (clippings larger than the letter-size paper can be folded inward); (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the publication’s website or electronic archives; or (3) a Word document or PDF containing the story copied and pasted from the publication's website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form.

If submitting hard copies, black out the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appear (bylines, photo credits, folio, etc.). The telephone number minus the area code of the person entering must be written in the upper right corner of each page. Staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top. If attaching a Word document or PDF to the electronic entry form,

If attaching a Word document or PDF to the electronic entry form, be sure you have deleted the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appeared. Include your phone number minus area code at the top of the document.

BEST RESTAURANT CRITICISM (All Platforms)

This category is for restaurant reviews regularly published by a newspaper, magazine or qualifying* online-only publication.

Entries will be judged on writing and on subject knowledge.

Three examples should be submitted. A person may enter this category only once for the same column.

How to enter: Entries can be (1) the publication's clippings (or photocopies), pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (clippings larger than the letter-size paper can be folded inward); (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the publication's website or electronic archives; or (3) a Word document or PDF containing the story copied and pasted from the publication's website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form.

If submitting hard copies, black out the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appear (bylines, photo credits, folio, etc.). The telephone number minus the area code of the person entering must be written in the upper right corner of each page. Staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top.

If attaching a Word document or PDF to the electronic entry form, be sure you have deleted the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appeared. Include your phone number minus area code at the top of the document.

BEST WRITING ON BEER, WINE OR SPIRITS (All Platforms)

This category is for stories or columns on beer, wine and/or spirits or cocktails published by a newspaper, magazine or qualifying* online-only publication.

Entries will be judged on writing and on subject knowledge.

One entry can be composed of a single story (with sidebars, if applicable) or two examples of a regularly published column. A person may enter this category only once for the same column.

How to enter: Entries can be (1) the publication's clippings (or photocopies), pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (clippings larger than the letter-size paper can be folded inward); (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the publication’s website or electronic archives; or (3) a Word document or PDF containing the story copied and pasted from the publication's website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form.

If submitting hard copies,black out the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appear (bylines, photo credits, folio, etc.). The telephone number minus the area code of the person entering must be written in the upper right corner of each page. Staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top.

If attaching a Word document or PDF to the electronic entry form, be sure you have deleted the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appeared. Include your phone number minus area code at the top of the document.

BEST FOOD VISUAL (All Platforms)

This category is for a single food photo, art illustration or photo illustration published by a newspaper, magazine or qualifying* online-only publication. The visual piece must be submitted in context — that is, as it appeared in the publication or on the Web page, with headlines and text incorporated as part of a cohesive layout.

Entries will be judged on visual impact, content and relevance.

This category can be entered more than once, but each entry requires a separate entry form and an additional entry fee.

How to enter: Attach the visual in JPEG or TIFF format to the electronic entry form. Also attach a PDF showing the layout in which the visual was used in print or - for online-only publications - provide a link to the visual as it was used on a website.

BEST FOOD BLOG

This category is for food blogs written by professional journalists or freelancers. The blog cannot be affiliated with any organization other than a media company. Paid advertising is permitted on the blog.
Blogs must be ongoing and in existence at the time of entering this contest and must have new postings at least six (6) times a month. The blog must adhere to journalistic standards such as accuracy, fairness and attribution. This category can be entered only once for the same blog.
Entries will be judged on entertainment value and/or usefulness (depending on topic), relevance to the bigger project the entry supplemented (when applicable) and effective matching of content to multimedia format.

How to enter: Include the blog’s URL with your entry.

BEST WRITING ON FOOD - STUDENT DIVISION (All Platforms)

This category is for a single story or a column on food written by a college or culinary arts student and published by a newspaper, magazine or qualifying* online-only publication.

Entries will be judged on writing, creative approach, knowledge of subject matter and relevance of the topic.

One entry includes a single story (with sidebars, if applicable) or two examples of a regularly published column. A student may enter this category only once for the same column.

The student must have been enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree-granting program or culinary school at the time the story(ies) was (were) written. The student does not have to have been a journalism major.

Note that there is no entry fee for this category.

How to enter: Entries can be (1) the publication's clippings (or photocopies), pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (clippings larger than the letter-size paper can be folded inward); (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the publication’s website or electronic archives; or (3) a Word document or PDF containing the story copied and pasted from the publication's website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form.

If submitting hard copies:black out the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appear (bylines, photo credits, folio, etc.). The telephone number minus the area code of the person entering must be written in the upper right corner of each page. Staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top.

If attaching a Word documentor PDF to the electronic entry form, be sure you have deleted the name of the writer and publication and web/email address wherever they appeared. Include your phone number minus area code at the top of the document.

GENERAL RULES AND PROCEDURES

Although the same writer and/or publication may enter all relevant competition categories, there are restrictions in some categories. In general, the same story cannot be entered in two different categories. Exceptions: stories appearing in sections entered under Best Newspaper Food Coverage also can be entered in an individual writing category, and stories published as part of a blog also can be entered in a writing category.

Qualifying online-only publication*

*"Qualifying online-only publication" refers to independent Web publications or blogs that are NOT hosted or sponsored by a food or food-related company; a chef, restaurateur or restaurant group; a public relations firm representing a food company or a food-related organization or movement; a trade association, advocacy group or government agency. Such publications do not qualify for this competition. Publications can be affiliated with a media company. Paid advertising is permitted on qualifying websites.

Cover letters or other explanatory notes

Cover letters, explanatory notes or other markings on entries are NOT PERMITTED, with the exception of Best Multimedia Presentation (see the category, above, for details).

Circulation verification

Circulation must be verified for entries in Best Newspaper Food Coverage and Best Newspaper Food Feature. Only one of the following forms of circulation verification should accompany entries in those two categories:

(a) A report for 2014 from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (available from the publication’s advertising department); or

(b) A statement of circulation for 2014 signed by the publication's publisher, circulation manager, advertising manager or managing editor; or a printed email from one of these individuals.

Note: Daily (not Sunday) circulation will be used to determine the circulation category of a newspaper.

If all entries in one mailing appear in the same publication, only one copy of circulation verification is required.

Circulation verification is not needed for entries in any of the other categories.

ENTRY FEES

FEE

The fee per entry is $45 (USD) for AFJ members who have paid their 2015 dues prior to entering.

Food journalists employed at a publication where there is an AFJ member in good standing also may enter at the member rate of $45 (USD) per entry.

AFJ members submitting multiple entries pay $45 (USD) each for their first three entries; a fourth entry can be submitted free of charge.

The fee per entry for non-AFJ members is $55 (USD).

There is no entry fee for students entering Best Writing on Food - Student Division.

Note that entry fees are calculated per submission, not per person.


PROCESS

Entry fee(s) must accompany the entry. Entry fees are non-refundable except when a category is eliminated by AFJ, in which case a full refund of the fee will be made. If an entry is disqualified for not following the rules, written notice will be given, but the entry fee will not be returned.


PAYMENT

Entry fees may be paid

(1) online for a single entry, with a credit card, at the time the online entry form is completed;

(2) online, for a group of entries, with a credit card; choose the first option on the payment page of the online entry form and then click "continue" to submit the entry. Fill out the Credit Card Authorization Form and email it to Jennifer Palcher-Silliman, listing in your email all of the entries it covers;

(3) by downloading, printing and completing the Credit Card Authorization Form and attaching the completed form to a mailed-in entry (or batch of entries) or completing it and emailing it to Jennifer Palcher-Silliman; or

(4) attaching a check drawn on a U.S. bank and payable to AFJ to the entry form and mailing it to AFJ in the same packet as your contest entries.

Should an accounting department request this information, AFJ is a tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (4) corporation, tax identification number 23-7324877.

JUDGING

AFJ secures the best-qualified judges. Two judges will work independently of each other in each category. They will confer only if there is a tie.

If mailing in your entry, copies of each entry - one for each judge - plus another for AFJ files are required. That is a total of three (3) copies of each entry. If only one copy of the entry is sent, the entry will be disqualified and the entry fee will not be refunded. Note: This rule does not apply if submitting complete entries as attachments or links with the electronic entry form.


PRIZES

First, second and third place winners will receive certificates. First-place winners in each category also will receive a cash prize of $300 (USD).

If more than one writer produced the first-place winning work, the total prize money will be divided between or among all of the names listed on the entry form.

Winners will be notified that they are finalists in mid-May so that they can make arrangements to attend AFJ’s Annual Awards Competition banquet and presentation Sept. 17 at the association’s annual conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., Sept. 16-18, 2015.


MAILING ENTRIES (optional)

If mailing your entry, it may be sent by FedEx, UPS or United States mail. If sending by FedEx, UPS or United States Express mail, please make the proper notation on the delivery form so that the packet does not require a signature upon delivery. If the delivery form requires a phone number, please contact executive director Jennifer Palcher-Silliman for the correct number.

Entries must be postmarked on or before March 16, 2015, and sent to executive director Jennifer Palcher-Silliman at the following address:

P.O. Box 4456, Cary, NC 27519-4456

Note: You do not have to overnight your entries for arrival by March 16. The postmark date is all that matters.


QUESTIONS

Questions about competition categories or rules for submission can be directed to:

Nancy J. Stohs, Awards Competition 2015 Chairman, (414) 224-2382, nstohs@journalsentinel.com

OR Jennifer Palcher-Silliman, AFJ Executive Director


Entries must be submitted electronically by midnight EST March 16, 2015 OR postmarked on or before March 16, 2015.


Association of Food Journalists

Awards

2015 AFJ Annual
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