2017 AFJ Awards Competition Call for Entries and Rules

ASSOCIATION OF FOOD JOURNALISTS
Annual Awards Competition
CALL FOR 2017 ENTRIES

Entries must be submitted electronically by midnight EST Friday, March 15, 2017 OR postmarked on or before March 15, 2017

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 offers an electronic entry process and strongly encourages electronic entries; however, mail-in entries are still permitted in most categories. 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.

A note about contest procedure: The awards competition chair is responsible for producing the Call for Entries, adding and eliminating categories and tweaking rules each year based on input from members; publicizing the contest within AFJ and outside; writing and distributing press releases listing the finalists and winners; and planning and emceeing the awards ceremony at the annual conference.

All hands-on contest duties—collecting and processing entries, securing judges, communicating with judges, tallying results, paying judges, etc.—are carried out exclusively and confidentially by AFJ’s executive director, with financial transactions executed by AFJ’s treasurer.

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

Nancy J. Stohs, Awards Competition 2017 chairwoman
(414) 224-2382

nstohs@journalsentinel.com

OR

Amanda C. Miller, AFJ Executive Director

(917) 548-1591

afj.amanda@gmail.com

Good luck!

COMPETITION CATEGORIES

There are a total of 14 categories in the 2017 AFJ competition. Three are for newspapers only: Best Newspaper Food Coverage, Best Newspaper Food Feature (both with circulation divisions) and Best Newspaper Special Food Project. Most of the other 11 categories welcome entries across all publishing platforms.

All entries must have been published in 2016. Note: Stories published late in the calendar year, even if a magazine is marked as the January issue of the following year, are eligible for entry in the earlier year.

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 writing, creative ideas, story mix, graphics, 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 2016.

THREE identical sets of the sections or pages must be submitted with one completed entry form.

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. For consistency in judging we are asking for paper copies only for this category.

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

BEST NEWSPAPER SPECIAL FOOD PROJECT

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.
    (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: Entries can be submitted digitally, as hard copies or both.

Digital option: Attach all relevant URLs to the electronic entry form.(Note: Because of the sheer size of special projects, we are not permitting pdfs to be submitted.) Hard copies can be complete sections OR clippings pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (larger clippings folded inward). In the latter case, staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top.

Provide your 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.

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: Submit an active URL to the story online.

Alternatives: (1) a Word document or PDF with the story copied and pasted from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form; (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives; or (3) 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).

For hard copies, staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top and submit by mail.
Circulation verification is required for this category. (See Circulation Verification under General Rules and Procedures, below).

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: Submit an active URL to the story online.
Alternatives: (1) a Word document or PDF with the story copied and pasted from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form; (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives; or (3) newspaper clippings (or photocopies), pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (larger clippings folded inward).

For hard copies, staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top and submit by mail.

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: Submit an active URL to the story online.

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

For hard copies, staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top and submit by mail.

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. General-content columns that occasionally touch on food do not qualify.)

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: Submit active URLs to the columns online.

Alternatives: (1) a Word document or PDF with the columns copied and pasted from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form; (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives; or (3) newspaper clippings (or photocopies) of the columns, pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (larger clippings folded inward).

For hard copies, staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top and submit by mail.

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: Submit active URLs to the reviews online.

Alternatives: (1) a Word document or PDF with the reviews copied and pasted from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form; (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives; or (3) newspaper clippings (or photocopies) of the reviews, pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (larger clippings folded inward).

For hard copies, staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top and submit by mail.

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: Submit an active URL or URLs to the story or columns online.

Alternatives: (1) a Word document or PDF with the story or columns copied and pasted from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form; (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives; or (3) newspaper clippings (or photocopies) of the story or columns, pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (larger clippings folded inward).

For hard copies, staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top and submit by mail.

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: Submit an active URL to the story online.

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

For hard copies, staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top and submit by mail.

BEST FOOD BUSINESS STORY (All Platforms)

This category is for any story focused on the business of food, including but not limited to profiles, trend stories, exposés or hard news, 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: Submit an active URL to the story online.

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

For hard copies, staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top and submit by mail.

BEST FOOD/TRAVEL STORY (All Platforms)

This category is for any narrative story combining food with travel, with a heavy emphasis on food. The story should focus on one destination. Accompanying sidebars or lists are permitted.

Entries will be judged primarily on writing, including how well the writer uses the topic of food to convey a sense of place.

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: Submit an active URL to the story online.
Alternatives: (1) a Word document or PDF with the story copied and pasted from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives and submitted as an attachment to the electronic entry form; (2) 8.5-by-11-inch printouts from the newspaper’s website or electronic archives; or (3) newspaper clippings (or photocopies), pasted or taped onto 8.5-by-11-inch white paper (larger clippings folded inward).

For hard copies, staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top and submit by mail.

BEST FOOD PODCAST

This category is for any single food podcast produced and published by a newspaper, magazine, qualifying* online-only publication or broadcast media outlet. (Note: The text of a podcast cannot also be entered in a writing category.) The podcast, whether a single episode of a regular podcast series, or a one-time podcast, must be at least 10 minutes long but no longer than 30 minutes. Judges may not listen to the entire podcast.

Entries will be judged on entertainment value and/or usefulness (depending on topic), audio quality, editing quality, pacing, use of music or sound effects (where applicable), effectiveness of storytelling in this format and overall appeal.

Up to two podcasts can be entered per person, but each one requires a separate entry form and entry fee.

How to enter: In the space provided on the electronic entry form, supply an active link to the web page where the podcast can be accessed.

BEST DIGITAL FOOD PRESENTATION (Web)

This category is for any single presentation of food content in a format other than print that appears on the Internet (except podcasts, which have their own category). The entry can be a video, slide show, interactive graphic or any other single Web-based project published by a newspaper, magazine, qualifying* online-only publication or broadcast media outlet. The presentation can be a stand-alone project OR one that supplements a larger food story. Presentations that use text only do not qualify for this category. (Note: If submitting a broadcast entry, the online text version cannot also be entered in a writing category.)

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 media format.

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

How to enter: In the space provided on the electronic entry form, supply an active link to the web page on which your presentation is posted.

In this category, entrants are permitted a short (150 words or less) explanatory note as to the context of the Internet presentation — Did it play off something in the news? Was it stand-alone? Did it enhance another story in print or online? Attach this as a Word document to the electronic entry form.

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: Submit an active URL to the story online.

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

For hard copies, staple all pages of the entry together. Then paper-clip THREE identical sets of the entry with one completed entry form on the top and submit by mail.

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. Exception: stories appearing in sections entered under Best Newspaper Food Coverage also can be entered in an individual 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 generally are not permitted.

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 2016 from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (available from the publication’s advertising department); or

(b) A statement of verified circulation for 2016 signed by the publication’s publisher, circulation manager, advertising manager or managing editor; or a printed email from one of these individuals. Please do not submit paid circulation numbers.

Note: Average 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.

Mistakes in entries

Entrants are responsible for submitting correct, complete entries. AFJ is not responsible for catching mistakes in entries, but if a mistake is brought to light, it may result in the entry being disqualified.

If submitting entries as URLs, be sure the links remain active. Entries with links that are found to be inactive will be disqualified and the entry fee will not be returned.

Entry fees

FEE

The fee per entry is $45 (USD) for AFJ members who have paid their 2017 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. When more than one entry is submitted under one entry fee, that entry will be disqualified.

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 or PayPal, at the time the online entry form is completed; if at all possible, we strongly encourage the use of PayPal. Signing up for a PayPal account is not required to make a purchase, so please use this option to help our small nonprofit avoid costly fees.

(2) online, for a group of entries, with a credit card or PayPal; choose the first option on the payment page of the online entry form and then click “continue” to submit the entry, listing in your email all of the entries it covers;

(3) 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) (6) 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. 14 at the association’s annual conference Sept. 13-15, 2017, in Philadelphia.

Mailing entries

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 use (917) 548-1591.

Entries must be postmarked on or before March 15, 2017, and sent to the following address:

ASSOCIATION OF FOOD JOURNALISTS
P.O. Box 3488
Chapel Hill, NC 27515-3488

Note: You do not have to overnight your entries for arrival by March 15. 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 2017 Chairwoman
(414) 224-2382
nstohs@journalsentinel.com

OR

Amanda C. Miller, Executive Director, AFJ

afj.amanda@gmail.com

Entries must be submitted electronically by midnight EST March 15, 2017

OR

postmarked on or before March 15, 2017