Committee Tinkers With Edit Awards

Fewer Categories, More Entries in 1999.

AAN papers bucking to land some hardware in the ’99 Editorial Awards contest, take notice.

Changes adopted by the editorial committee at its September meeting in Evanston, Illinois will have a slight impact on your submissions for next year’s competition.

First, the number of categories was scaled back, from seventeen to fourteen. The 1999 categories are:
Arts criticism
Arts feature
Editorial layout
Feature story
Film criticism
Investigative reporting
Media commentary
Music criticism
News story
Online feature
Political commentary

“What we’ve done is drop some of the issue-related categories –like ‘business’ and ‘environmental stories,'” says Editorial chair Safir Ahmed. “We [pared down the number of categories] for two reasons: To make the process simpler. If we continued adding on more categories, we would eventually end up with an endless list.

“We also did it because we felt the old way created a bias for some papers. There are some who have, say, reporters who just cover the environment or only write business stories. And there are others that don’t. We think the new [categories] make it fairer for all papers.”

While the committee reduced the category count, it actually increased the total number of potential entries that can be submitted by each paper. It did this by opening the “news story” and “feature story” categories to three entries per paper. The one-entry-per-paper restriction will continue to apply to the other twelve categories.

“All stories fall into one of two categories,” says Ahmed. “It’s either a news story or a feature story — the types of stories our papers do the most of. We think allowing editors to submit up to three submissions in each of those two categories gives them more leeway in picking out their best stories.”

There will be one other change, for which the AAN staff will shoulder the blame: The entry fee for large papers (circulation over 54,000) will be increased by $10 per entry, to $35.

“The judges gotta get paid,” explains AAN Executive Director Richard Karpel.