The Northwest Science Writers Association is pleased to announce the fifth year of The Best of the Northwest Awards! Our awards recognize and celebrate outstanding writing published by our members during the past year.
Awards will be given in three categories:
- Journalism writing
- Institutional writing
Award winners in each category will receive a first prize of $300 cash and an award certificate.
An Honorable Mention may also be awarded in each category at the judges’ discretion. Recipients of Honorable Mentions will receive $50 and a certificate.
Rules for Participation
- Submitted work must have been either published or broadcast between October 1, 2022 and November 16, 2023.
- Writing submissions may be up to 10,000 words in length. Permissible submissions include but are not limited to articles, book excerpts, press releases, and scripts of audio/visual work (note that if a script is submitted in one of the writing categories, the script alone, not the multimedia, will be evaluated). Multimedia submissions may be up to 1 hour in length.
- Written articles bylined by more than one writer may be submitted as long as all coauthors meet the eligibility criteria. Multimedia may also be submitted on behalf of multiple members. Any award in such cases will be shared among all coauthors equally.
- Failure to meet all submission requirements may disqualify an entry from consideration.
- To be eligible, writers must be members of NSWA at the time of submission, during judging, and when the award is announced. Current board members and their families are not eligible.
- There is a limit of one submission per participant.
For all submissions:
- Submissions are due by 11:59 PM PDT on December 22, 2023.
- Submissions must be in English, but English translations of entries published in another language will be considered.
- Submissions may be made by the participant or by another NSWA member on the participant’s behalf. Participants submitting their own work may enter one piece or a series if all pieces in the series are part of the same story and total no more than 10,000 words or more than 1 hour in length.
- Each entry must be submitted using the online form that includes:
- Phone number
- Information on nominator (if nominating someone else’s work)
- Date published
For the Journalism or Institutional Writing categories:
- Writing must be made in Microsoft Word or RTF file format, with normal paragraphing format (indent first line of each paragraph, do not skip a line between paragraphs).
- IMPORTANT: Do not include the writer’s or nominator’s name or the name of the publication anywhere on or within your submission, as judging is blinded.
- Do include the title and page number as a header on every page.
For the Multimedia category:
- Submissions must be made as a hyperlink to an accessible webpage
- Submissions do not need to be anonymized (this is due to the higher potential difficulty in asking participants to anonymize video or audio pieces)
Q. Can I just send a link to the publication where it is published?
A. Not for the writing categories. To make the judging as fair as possible, all entries in those categories will be presented to judges as text only, without identifying the writers or the places of publication. We therefore ask that you submit a Word document without images or elaborate formatting.
Q. Why is the multimedia category not anonymized?
A. We feel it may be too difficult to reasonably ask members to do, as it may require video or audio editing software. Submissions may involve the participants’ voices or faces as well, which could be difficult to remove. If you have any concerns about this process, we are open to feedback at email@example.com.
Q. Does everyone who worked on a multimedia submission need to meet eligibility criteria?
A. No, but only the contributions of the eligible members will be considered for judging. For example, you may submit a piece that includes both scripting and photography, but if the photographer is not eligible for consideration, we will only judge the piece based on the script.
Q. Will this be an annual award?
A. Our hope is to offer this award annually, as funding allows.
Q. I’m a freelance writer and want to submit an article I wrote for a magazine/website published by a university/hospital/NGO/government agency. I reported and wrote it just as I would any other piece of journalism, but I was paid by the institution. Should I submit to the journalism or institutional writing category?
A. The institutional writing category. To be eligible for the journalism award, writing must have been published by an outlet that has full editorial independence from its source of funding.
Q. I work for and wrote the article for an institution and the article mentions the institution. Should I remove the institution’s name?
A: No. You don’t need to remove the institution’s name from the article.
Q. Can I submit writing to multiple categories in the same year?
A. No. Please choose one.
- Judging will be done by a committee made up of NSWA Board members, and the decision of the judges is final. Each writing entry is judged anonymously; neither the author’s identity nor the publication in which the work appeared is revealed to the judges. The multimedia category is not anonymized.
- Awards are judged on the basis of style, clarity, accuracy and originality in presentation and content. The significance and impact of the piece may also be considered during discussion and judging.
- Winners will be announced and given their awards at the NSWA Annual Meeting and Holiday Party in January 2023.
Submission deadline: 11:59 PM PDT on December 22, 2023
Winners will be announced at the Annual Meeting/New Year’s Party in January 2024.