Top of the Rockies

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You can find results of the 2019 Top of the Rockies contest here:

spreadsheet of results.

For more information and questions: Contest Chair Deb Hurley Brobst (dchurley@aol.com)

  

Contest rules for the 2019 contest:

  • Entries must have been published/broadcast in the 2018 calendar year.
  • Any story may be entered in up to one published or broadcast category, one photo category and the multimedia story category.
  • Publications are limited to three entries per category.
  • Entrants do not need to be SPJ members. If you are interested in SPJ membership, visit spjcolorado.com/about.
  • Almost all categories are now open to broadcast, print and digital entries. You’ll be up against the best from all platforms in the region, not just your fellow print reporters or broadcast journalists.
  • For broadcast entries, except for enterprise reporting categories, all entries may not exceed 5 minutes; enterprise reporting entries may not exceed 15 minutes.
  • Entries in which content was subsidized by private businesses with an interest in the covered topic are not allowed.

Circulation and online-only organizations

In an attempt to make the Top of the Rockies contest more competitive, the board of the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has organized its circulation classifications into four groups: less than 10,000; 10,001-30,000; 30,001-75,000; more than 75,000. Additionally, online only-organizations are placed in a print circulation division based on geographical location, scope of content and editorial influence. Any news organization wishing to compete in a circulation classification higher than theirs is allowed do so. However, organizations are not permitted to drop a classification.

On television and broadcast categories

  • Large Market Station: Markets 1 – 50 with largest print circulations; Small Market Station: Markets 50+ with second largest print circulation
  • Large market stations will compete with the print organizations in the largest print circulation bracket
  • Small markets will compete with news organizations with the second-largest print circulation bracket with the option of moving up but not down

How to enter

There are two types of contestants in the BNC website.

Which one are you: A media outlet or a freelancer?

If you are a media outlet:

  1. Visit the betternewspapercontest.com website
  2. Click on “Contestant Login”
  3. Select 2019 Top of the Rockies under “Select a Contest”
  4. Check to see if your media outlet is listed under “Select Media Organization.” If you DO NOT see it, contact Deb Hurley at dchurley@aol.com.
  5. If you see your media outlet, select it and type in your password. If you DO NOT know your password, contact Deb Hurley at dchurley@aol.com.
  6. Then simply place your entries. When your media outlet is done placing entries, pay your bill by clicking on Calculate Entry Fee in the top right-hand corner and follow the directions.
  7. 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. There is nothing that frustrates judges more than not having access to entries because they are blocked thanks to a paywall.

If you are a freelancer:

  1. Visit the betternewspapercontest.com website
  2. Click on “Open call login”
  3. If you have entered before, put in your e-mail address and password. The contest coordinator DOES NOT have access to your password, so you will have to click “forgot password” and follow the directions if you need to reset your password.
  4. If you are new to our contest, click on “create your Open Call account” and follow the directions.
  5. E-mail Deb Hurley at dchurley@aol.com if you have any questions.
  6. Simply place your entries. When your media outlet is done placing entries, pay your bill by clicking on Calculate Entry Fee in the top right-hand corner and follow the directions.
  7. 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. There is nothing that frustrates judges more than not having access to entries because they are blocked thanks to a paywall.

About the awards process

Winners attend the awards ceremony at their own or their company’s expense. All judges’ decisions are final.

Entries will be judged on overall excellence, service to the community, and contributions to the public 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.

About Top of the Rockies

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 Society of Professional Journalists – Colorado Pro chapter.

Because of the changing landscape of media, the contest includes a wide range of categories and divisions within print and magazines, online journalism, radio and television. We hope this online format for entering the contest will be more convenient and efficient for you and your organization.

Eligibility

Entries must be submitted by an individual or a news organization in the SPJ Region 9 area – Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. National news organizations may also participate, but the contest will only accept submissions that focus on Region 9 stories.

Entrants do not need to be SPJ members. If you are interested in SPJ membership, visit spjcolorado.com/about.

About the 2019 categories

This year’s categories are the same as last year with one addition:

Best Solutions Journalism

Best story or series that includes in-depth reporting on response/s to a problem.

2019 CATEGORIES

GENERAL NEWS

  • General Broadcast Excellence in Radio: A single broadcast
  • General Broadcast Excellence for Television: A single broadcast, not to exceed 15 minutes.
  • General Podcast Excellence: Up to three podcast episodes.
  • General Website Excellence: Judged on the excellence of content, interactivity, design, navigation, multimedia and community tools.
  • News Reporting, Single Story: Spot or Scheduled. Single news story (and related sidebars, if applicable). This includes all but sports, education, political, legal affairs and business reporting.
  • 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.
  • News Feature: Includes profiles, analysis and other news stories written in a feature format.
  • 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.
  • Best Solutions Journalism: Best story or series that includes in-depth reporting on a response/s to a problem.
  • Special section: A package of stories exploring one issue in depth.
  • Personal/Humor Columns: Submit 3 columns per entry.
  • News Columns: Submit 3 columns per entry.
  • Editorials: Submit 3 editorials per entry.
  • Headline writing: Submit 3 headlines with the accompanying articles.
  • Information graphic: Submit a graphic with the accompanying article.
  • 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.

SPECIALIZED REPORTING

  • Sports General Reporting: Single story, package or series.
  • Sports Columns: Submit 3 columns per entry.
  • Sports Enterprise Reporting: An article, or a package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional enterprise or investigative effort.
  • Business General Reporting: 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 (classical or popular), art, architecture, theater or dance.
  • A&E and FoodCriticism: Submit 3 columns or reviews.
  • A&E and Food Enterprise Reporting: A single story, package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional enterprise or investigative effort.
  • Education General Reporting: A single story, package or series.
  • Education Enterprise Reporting: An article, or a package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional enterprise or investigative effort.
  • Politics General Reporting: A single story, package or series.
  • Politics Enterprise Reporting: An article or a package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional enterprise or investigative effort.
  • Legal General Reporting: A single story, package or series.
  • Legal Enterprise Reporting: An article or a package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional enterprise or investigative effort.
  • Science and Technology General Reporting: A single story, package or series.
  • Science and Technology Enterprise Reporting: An article, or a package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional enterprise or investigative effort.
  • Environment or Agriculture Reporting: A single story, package or series.
  • Environment or Agriculture Enterprise Reporting: An article or a package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional enterprise or investigative effort.
  • Health General Reporting: A single story, package or series.
  • Health Enterprise Reporting: An article or a package or series of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional enterprise or investigative effort.
  • Marijuana General Reporting: An article or a package or series of stories.
  • Marijuana Enterprise reporting: An article, or a package or sies of stories on one topic that demonstrates exceptional enterprise or exceptional effort.
  • Religion General Reporting: A single story, package or series.

ONLINE

  • General Website Excellence: Judged on the excellence of content, interactivity, design, navigation, multimedia and community tools.
  • Blog: Honoring an important or insightful perspective unique to the Web. Three submissions per entry.
  • Multimedia Story: A cohesive Web package that may include words, photos, graphics, audio, video and/or graphics.

PHOTOJOURNALISM

  • Spot News Photography: One or more photos on a breaking news story.
  • News Photography: One or more photos on a news story.
  • Feature Photography: One or more photos where original subject matter is enhanced by the presentation or imagination of the photographer.
  • Sports Photography: One or more photos on a sports subject.

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