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How to Enter 2002: Eligibility

The final year for the Batten Awards for Excellence in Civic Journalism was 2002. For information on the successor awards, the Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism, which begin in 2003 and are sponsored by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, visit http://www.j-lab.org/batten.html.

The Batten Award for Excellence in Civic Journalism was created to spotlight journalism that is more than exemplary public-service journalism. It specifically seeks to reward journalism that tries, from the outset, to engage people in community issues and to support their involvement - active and deliberative - in the life of their community, without advocating a particular outcome.

The competition, for a $25,000 cash prize, is open to news reports aired, published or posted online during the 2001 calendar year. The deadline for entries is Friday, February 8, 2002.

Eligible are print or online news reports, broadcasts, series and accumulated bodies of work. Past Batten Award winners have developed journalism marked by one or more of the following characteristics. It:

  • Interacts in useful ways with readers, viewers and listeners.

  • Helps people identify issues or problems.

  • Taps into the concerns of various stakeholders.

  • Engages people in considering choices, trade-offs and consequences.

  • Examines possible solutions.

  • Illuminates the common ground on difficult issues.

  • Makes use of the Internet to involve citizens.

  • Demonstrates a shift in newsroom techniques to tap into the community.

  • Advances participatory democracy in other ways.

The entry may address an immediate problem or it may exemplify civic-journalism approaches that help newsrooms report on everyday community concerns. Because this is the final year for the Batten Award, the judges will also consider work that exemplifies how a news organization has moved toward civic journalism in the past decade.

In a NOMINATING LETTER, applicants must:

  • Describe the problem their journalism sought to address or the shift in reporting approaches used.
  • Define what the news organization hoped to accomplish with the journalism.
  • Explain why the newsroom sought a civic-journalism approach.
  • Summarize the project and list what civic-journalism philosophies and tools were used.
  • Assess their efforts, including how they think they achieved their goals and how they assisted readers and viewers in understanding the subject.
  • Describe what impact their journalism had on the community.

Entry Rules

Deadline: February 8, 2002

All entries must be aired or published in the 2001 calendar year. Entries are to be postmarked to arrive by February 8, 2002 and mailed to:

The Pew Center for Civic Journalism
7100 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 101
College Park, MD 20740-3637

The date appearing on the newspaper or the air date of the story or broadcast will determine the entry's eligibility in the contest year.

Entries may include a single story or broadcast or a related series of stories or broadcasts. Individuals and media alliances are encouraged to submit entries.

If the entry is a series, at least half of the individual stories or broadcasts must have been published or aired during 2001.

Winners in any one year will be eligible for future awards without restriction.

The winner or winners will be selected by an impartial board of journalists - the James K. Batten Advisory Board. The judges' selection will be final and not subject to review by the board or staff of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism or The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The James K. Batten Award judges shall have discretion to pick more than one winner. (If an Advisory Board member is from a news organization entering the competition, that member shall recuse him/herself from judging that organization's entry or entries.)

James K. Batten Award winner(s) will be announced in the spring of 2002. The winner(s) will be expected to participate in a panel during the 2002 James K. Batten Award Symposium and invited to take part in other activities designed to educate the profession about civic journalism.


Print Entry Guidelines

Print Entries must include:

1. A nominating letter, summarizing the extent of coverage and the techniques used. (Note requirements in the Eligibilty section.)

2. Two (2) sets of tearsheets - at least one an original set - displaying the stories to be entered. Full unmarked tearsheets are preferred.

3. In the case of series or year-long efforts, enter NO MORE THAN YOUR 15 BEST DAYS of coverage.

4. A copy of the completed Batten Award Application, attached to each story packet.


Television Entry Guidelines

Television Entries must include:

1. A nominating letter, summarizing the extent of coverage and the techniques used. (Note requirements in the Eligibilty section.)

2. Contest Entry: Not to exceed 10 minutes in length. Two (2) videotapes, one BETA SP and one 1/2-inch VHS, consisting of a compilation of highlights from the original stories, series, or special program being submitted. No promotions, please. Voice-overs and narratives are only permitted if they were part of the original piece that aired.

3. Original material: Not to exceed 60 minutes in length. Two videotapes, one BETA SP and one 1/2-inch VHS, consisting of the original story, series of stories or program being submitted. Material may be edited for time but voice-overs and narratives must have been part of the original piece that aired.

4. A copy of the completed Batten Award Application, attached to each submission.


Radio Entry Guidelines

Radio Entries must include:

1. A nominating letter, summarizing the extent of coverage and the techniques used. (Note requirements in the Eligibilty section.)

2. Contest Entry: Not to exceed 10 minutes in length. Two (2) copies of entry on high-quality audio cassette, consisting of a compilation of highlights from the original stories, series, or special program being submitted. No promotions, please. Voice-overs and narratives are only permitted if they were part of the original piece that aired.

3. Original material: Not to exceed 60 minutes in length. Two (2) copies of a series, or a special report, or a program special, on high-quality audio cassette, consisting of the original story, series of stories or program being submitted. Material may be edited for time but voice-overs and narratives must have been part of the original piece that aired.

4. A copy of the completed Batten Award Application, attached to each submission.


Online Entry Guidelines

Online entries may illustrate an exemplary use of online technology to accomplish the goals the award recognizes. Or they may be submitted to illustrate full use of a news organization's resources in pursuing the goals of civic journalism. Eligible entries may include Web pages, e-mail, Listservs or discussion groups.

If the entry is a stand-alone online submission, it should include original reporting aimed at the general public, and it should add value to widely available information.

Online entries should include:

1. A nominating letter, summarizing the extent of coverage and the techniques used. (Note requirements in the Eligibilty section.)

2. Two (2) copies of "screen shots" printed in color and submitted like a notebook, with the first page being the first mention of the material on the web site or on the Internet. That should be followed by successive links in the order in which they were accessible on the site. Please include an easy-to-follow site map of all related pages, indicating the pages entered in the judging. One of the screen shots should include a visible URL. In the case of year-long efforts, enter NO MORE THAN 50 PAGES.

3. A Mac-formatted CD-ROM or Zip Disk of the site. Entries will be tested on a Macintosh computer with Netscape and MacOS 8.6 operating system.

4. A copy of the completed Batten Award Application, attached to each submission.



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