SPJ Colorado professional chapter announces 2022 top of the rockies 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.

The contest website can be accessed by visiting 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 Chapter.

Contest opens: Monday, Dec. 13

Contest closes: 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21

Awards will be announced at the reception on Saturday, April 9, at the Denver Press Club.

Cocktail hour will be from 5:30-6:30 p.m., with the awards announcement at 6:30 p.m. Free hors d’oeuvres; cash bar.

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 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 2021 calendar year. 
• An entry may be placed in one writing category or 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 now 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 new 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 2022 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 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. If, due to COVID-19, the awards ceremony is canceled, we will make available on our website a list of winners, and the certificates will be mailed to contestants.

All judges’ decisions are final in category placement as well as entry evaluation. Entries will be judged on overall excellence, service to the community, 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.

2022 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.

Pandemic 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.

Co pro chapter member moderates reporting panel

Colorado Pro chapter board member Cara DeGette, editor of the Greater Park Hill News, served as moderator for a panel discussion on strategies for reporting and writing on our homeless neighbors. 

The panel, held at the Denver Press Club on Nov. 17, included, from left, Marcus Hill, a staff reporter at the Colorado Springs Independent; Robert Davis, a Contributor to Denver VOICE; and Jeremy Jojola , 9News investigative reporter.

COLORADO SPJ PRESIDENT PRESENTS 2021 FIRST AMENDMENT AWARD

Colorado SPJ president Doug Bell presents the chapter’s 2021 First Amendment Award to Denver Post reporter Dave Migoya prior to their skate on Sunday, Sept. 26, at the South Suburban Sports Complex. Migoya and attorney Steve Zansberg won the award for their battle to make criminal court records more accessible to the public and the press.

Register for A Frank Conversation about Burnout

Please join COLab and the Denver Press Club for a candid conversation about newsroom burnout, what it looks like — and what we can do about it.

The discussion, moderated by COLab’s Tina Griego, will feature the stellar panel of Dr. Marc Moss, a Denver MD whose work on burnout and resilience has received national recognition, Selyn Hong, NPR’s director of Employee & Labor Relations and Investigations, Linda Shapley, managing editor at ColoradoPolitics.com, and Elizabeth HernandezDenver Post reporter.

Date: Thursday, July 22

Time: 6:30 p.m. mixer. Panel from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO 80204

The discussion also will be streamed live and registrants will receive a Zoom link as soon as we have one.

To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-frank-conversation-about-burnout-tickets-161278613675?aff=ebdssbdestsearch.

Colorado Pro Chapter Calls for Self-Nominations for Board Positions

The Colorado Pro Chapter is seeking self-nominations for six positions up for election on the
board including four directors at-large, the president-elect and the treasurer.

Board meetings are held every month, and board members may attend in person or via conference call. Board members may reside anywhere in Colorado, and must be members in good standing with national SPJ and the Colorado Professional Chapter.

To indicate your willingness to run for a position and to serve on the board, please e-mail Elections Chair Deb Hurley at deb.hurley.brobst@gmail.com your name, the position you are interested in, a photo, a biography of no more than 250 words and a statement of no more than 200 words
explaining why you want to be on the board.

The deadline to self-nominate yourself is June 27.

The election information will be e-mailed to all members of Colorado Pro on June 28, and members will have until July 8 to cast their ballots.

If you have any questions about the process, the duties or how you can get involved with Colorado Pro — whether as a board member or as a volunteer — please contact Deb Hurley by calling
303-601-8098 or emailing at deb.hurley.brobst@gmail.com.
 
Position: President-elect
Term of office: 1 year as president-elect, 2 years as president, 1 year as past-president
Duties: The president-elect serves one year as assistant to the president, then two years as president, organizing meetings and overseeing other activities.

Position: Treasurer
Term of office: 2 years
Duties: The treasurer serves a two-year term and manages the books for the chapter. Responsibilities include watching investments, paying scholarships, preparing the annual budget and tracking general expenses.

Position: Members of the board of directors
Term of office: 2 years
4 positions are open
Duties: The board is responsible for the general direction and planning of chapter activities. Board members are required to attend board meetings and participate in the chapter’s professional development programming.