Colorado Pro Chapter Announces Top of the Rockies 2023 Contest

Administered for more than a decade by the SPJ Colorado Professional Chapter on behalf of SPJ chapters in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming.

For more information and questions: Email contest chair Deb Hurley Brobst at deb.hurley.brobst@gmail.com for answers to contest-related questions.

Website: https://betternewspapercontest.com

Top of the Rockies is a regional, multi-platform contest for reporters and news organizations in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The contest grew from a Colorado-only contest on the heels of the closure of the Rocky Mountain News in 2009 to ensure a robust and competitive field. It is sponsored and managed by the SPJ Colorado Pro.

Contest opens: Wednesday, Dec. 14
Contest closes: 10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25

Awards will be announced at the reception in April at the Denver Press Club.

Cost: $15 per entry

Note 1: You do not need to be an SPJ member to enter the contest, but we always welcome new members.

Note 2: The SPJ Colorado Professional Chapter board of directors does not allow entries in which content was subsidized by private businesses with an interest in the covered topic.

Contest rules:
• Entries must have been published (print or online)/broadcast in the 2022 calendar year.
• An entry may be placed in one writing category and one visual category. The entry also may be placed in the Public Service and/or Multimedia Story.
• Media outlets are limited to three entries per category.
• All categories are open to news media outlets in all platforms. You’ll be up against the best from all platforms in the region.

Divisions: Top of the Rockies has four divisions based on newsroom staff size: small newsrooms; medium newsrooms; large newsrooms; extra-large newsrooms. News organizations are allowed to compete in a division with a larger staff size; they are not
permitted to drop a division. If your news organization has not been placed in one of the divisions, contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb.hurley.brobst@gmail.com.

How to enter:
There are two types of contestants in the website. Which one are you: A media outlet or a freelancer?
If you are a media outlet:
Visit the betternewspapercontest.com website.
Click on “Contestant Login.”
Select 2023 Top of the Rockies under “Select a Contest.”
Check to see if your media outlet is listed under “Select Media Organization.” If you DO NOT see it, contact Deb Hurley at deb.hurley.brobst@gmail.com.
If you see your media outlet, select it and type in your password. If you DO NOT know your password, contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb.hurley.brobst@gmail.com.
Then place your entries. When your media outlet is done placing entries, pay your bill by clicking on “Calculate Entry Fee” in the top right corner and follow the directions. You can print a receipt after you pay your fees.
If your media outlet’s website has a pay wall, please make sure your entries are available to the judges. Either make sure they are free content or submit a PDF instead. Nothing frustrates judges more than not having access to entries because they are blocked. Blocked entries may be disqualified at the discretion of the judges.
If you are a freelancer:
Visit the betternewspapercontest.com website.
Click on “Open Call Login.”
If you have entered before, put in your e-mail address and password. The contest coordinator DOES NOT have access to your password, so click “forgot password” and follow the directions if you need to reset it.
If you are new to our contest, click on “create your Open Call account” and follow the directions.
Email Deb Hurley Brobst at deb.hurley.brobst@gmail.com if you have any questions.
Place your entries. When you are done placing entries, pay your bill by clicking on “Calculate Entry Fee” in the top right corner and follow the directions.
If your media outlet’s website has a pay wall, please make sure your entries are available to the judges. Either make sure they are free content or submit a PDF instead. Nothing frustrates judges more than not having access to entries because they are blocked.

About the awards process
Colorado SPJ hosts a free winners’ reception with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at the Denver Press Club, and a list of winners will be available on our website, coloradospj.wordpress.com. Certificates will be available to pick up at the reception. All remaining certificates will be mailed to entrants.
All judges’ decisions are final in category placement as well as entry evaluation. Entries will be judged on overall excellence, service to the community, balance and contributions to the public’s understanding of issues and events. Judging criteria may also include depth of research, quality of presentation, and difficulty in obtaining information. Deadline pressure is a factor only in those categories identified as “deadline.”
If, in the opinion of the judges, none of the entries in a given category meets the standards of excellence, no award will be made in that category. Judges may reject entries that do not conform with contest rules.

2023 Top of the Rockies contest categories.
WRITING CATEGORIES
News Reporting, Single Story: Single news story (and related sidebars, if applicable).
Breaking News Story: A single story or package of a breaking news event occurring over a 24-hour period.
General Reporting, Series or Package: A series of stories on one topic or a package of stories that runs simultaneously (submit all stories).
Enterprise Reporting: An article or a package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional enterprise or investigative effort.
Extended Coverage: A package of stories exploring one issue in depth. This could be a special section.
Feature Writing — long form: Includes profiles, analysis and other stories written in a feature format that are more than 1,500 words or longer than 3 minutes in length.
Feature Writing — short form: Includes profiles, analysis and other stories written in a feature format that are fewer than 1,500 words or shorter than 3 minutes in length.
Best Solutions Journalism: A story or series that includes in-depth reporting on a response/s to a problem.
Podcast: Enter up to 3 episodes.
Social Justice Reporting: A story, series or package of stories on social justice issues.
Climate Reporting: A story, series or package of stories on climate change, global warming or other similar large-scale changes affecting local areas.
Obit Writing: A feature story about someone who has died.
Beat Reporting: A collection of up to six stories from one reporter on a particular beat. Attach a one-sentence description of your beat.
Personal/Humor Columns: Submit up to 3 columns per entry.
News Columns: Submit up to 3 columns per entry.
Editorials: Submit up to 3 editorials per entry.
Public Service: An article or a package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional coverage on a topic or issue that is important to the community.
Multimedia Story: A cohesive web package that can include words, photos, graphics, audio, video and/or graphics.
Sports News: Single story, package or series.
Sports Feature: Single story, package or series.
Sports Columns: Submit up to 3 columns per entry.
Business News: Single story, package or series.
Business Feature: Single story, package or series.
Business Enterprise Reporting: An article, or a package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional enterprise or investigative effort.
A&E and Food Reporting News or Feature: A single story or a series on dining and nightlife, film, television, music, art, architecture, theater or dance.
A&E and Food Criticism: Submit up to 3 columns or reviews.
Education News: Single story, package or series.
Education Feature: Single story, package or series.
Politics News: Single story, package or series.
Politics Feature: Single story, package or series.
Legal News: Single story, package or series.
Legal Feature: Single story, package or series.
Science and Technology News: Single story, package or series.
Science and Technology Feature: Single story, package or series.
Agriculture or Environment News: Single story, package or series.
Agriculture or Environment Feature: Single story, package or series.
Health News: Single story, package or series.
Health Feature: Single story, package or series.
Mental Health News: Single story, package or series.
Mental Health Feature: Single story, package or series.
Religion News: Single story, package or series.
Religion Feature: Single story, package or series.
Headline writing: Submit 3 headlines with the accompanying articles.
VISUAL CATEGORIES
Front Page Design: A front page or cover of your publication.
Single Page Design: A single page or a section cover of your publication.
Feature Page Design: A single page or feature cover of your publication.
Information Graphic: Submit the graphic with the accompanying article.
Editorial Cartoons: Submit up to 3 cartoons that show the point of view of the cartoonist.
Illustration: Artwork accompanying a news or feature story to enhance the story’s meaning.
Spot News Photography/Videography: One or more photos or videos on a breaking news story.
News Photography/Videography: One or more photos or videos on a news story.
Feature Photography/Videography: One or more photos or videos on a feature story.
Sports Photography/Videography: One or more photos or videos on a sports story.
Climate Photography/Videography: One or more photos or videos on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social Justice Photography/Videography: One or more photos or videos on a social justice story.

McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism Grant Deadline is Sept. 30

Got a great idea for a high-impact story that ‘Follows the Money’, but few resources to get it done? If so, check out The McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism, an initiative of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

The McGraw Fellowship provides up to $15,000 and editorial support for experienced journalists to produce deeply-reported investigative or enterprise stories on critical economic, financial and business topics.

Previous McGraw Fellows have explored a wide variety of topics — and you don’t need to be a business reporter to apply. Many have been generalists, or cover areas such as health care, inequality or the environment. Journalists of color and journalists from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Fellowship is open to both freelance and staff journalists in all forms of media with at least five years’ professional experience.

The deadline for Fall 2022 Fellowship applications is September 30, 2022; Spring 2023 applications will be due March 31, 2023. For further information and examples of previous Fellows’ work, go to www.mcgrawcenter.org or contact us at mcgrawcenter@journalism.cuny.edu

Applications Open for the Higher Education Media Fellowship

Applications are now open for the Higher Education Media Fellowship. Selected Fellows are awarded $10,000—$5,000 as a stipend and $5,000 towards a reporting project focused on postsecondary career and technical education (CTE).

The Higher Education Media Fellowship at the Institute for Citizens & Scholars aims to increase the number of journalists with the tools and networks to provide richer and more comprehensive coverage of postsecondary education, particularly career and technical education. The Fellowship program is sponsored by the ECMC Foundation and administered by the Institute for Citizens & Scholars. 

The six-month, non-residential program begins with an expense-paid symposium where Fellows learn about the CTE field, gain professional development, and work with peers and mentors. 
 
The HEM Fellowship is open to all U.S. journalists who are education, business, investigative, or workforce reporters or have work experience that includes reporting on education and associated work force development, social, or public policy issues. The Fellowships is open to journalists working in any medium. 

The application deadline is August 5, 2022.

For more information, visit the Higher Education Media Fellowship webpage.

Journalism Trust Initiative to Host Virtual Event on June 15

Join the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) on June 15 to discuss a new project which aims to put Colorado newsrooms on the forefront of local news innovation.

is an international effort to identify news sources that adhere to professional, industry standards for independent journalism reporting and transparency in a way that is more clearly distinguishable — by humans and by algorithms — as separate and apart from opaque or partisan news sources, community-created content, and other types of information.

This summer, Colorado will become the first state in the nation to pilot the JTI on a statewide scale — starting with a pilot cohort of up to 12 local newsrooms that will receive technical support to complete the JTI self-assessment and strengthen or develop editorial guidelines that help build community trust. JTI is a project of Reporters Without Borders, which works for journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism all over the world.

The Journalism Trust Initiative: Colorado is presented in partnership with the Colorado News Collaborative, the Colorado Press Association and Colorado Media Project; JTI has hired local news and higher education leader Beth Potter to provide hands-on assistance to Colorado newsrooms in the pilot cohort and others over the year to come.

For more information about the event, visit Eventbrite and register online.

PHOTOS: SPJ Region 9 Conference