NORMAN, Oklahoma — The Native American Journalists Association will recognize outstanding coverage of Indian Country during the 2021 NAJA National Native Media Awards. The annual competition recognizes excellence in reporting by Indigenous and non-Indigenous journalists across the U.S., and Canada.
This year, entries to the 2021 National Native Media Awards will be submitted using the BetterBNC Media Awards Platform. BetterBNC will manage the entry and judging process and detailed instructions are available for all contestants and judges.
*See Fees & Shipping for information regarding COVID-19 contingencies for the distribution of awards in the event a ceremony is not possible.
To submit a technical support request anytime throughout the awards process, click the “Help & Support” link located at the top left of the main webpage at https://betternewspapercontest.com/ then select the “Start Trouble Ticket” at the top of the next page.
Entrants and judges may also contact BetterBNC technical support by phone at 360-427-6300 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. PT.
IMPORTANT: Entrants are encouraged to thoroughly read the full contest instructions available through the link below before utilizing the BetterBNC contest entry platform to submit entries. Failure to comply with contest rules may lead to delayed results, ranking penalties during judging or full disqualification of entries without a refund.
View the National Native Media Awards info page revamped for this year.
Contest Rules and Eligibility Guidelines
- Contest entries will be accepted through the extended deadline of May 28, 2021.
- Entries may only be submitted via link – no hard copies will be accepted.
- Please provide clear directions for locating entry within any larger master folder(s). Include page numbers and time stamps for footage in the Notes section, as needed.
- Entrants submitting a single story from a full issue should include issue information, page number(s), jumps and headline / cutline in the Notes section of the entry form to provide specific location instructions to judges.
- If an editor or producer is entering the work of an employee at the member rate, the employee must be a current NAJA member or the work will not be considered.
- Individuals may submit up to five separate entries in any one category, as desired. Entries in multiple categories are encouraged. (Example: In the best news photo category, an individual may submit up to and no more than five different photos to compete against each other, in addition to competing with other outlet or individual submissions.)
- General excellence awards are for Indigenous-owned media outlets (tribal media) that are at least 50 percent Native-owned, managed or controlled. Entrants must submit links/clips to/for three-five editions/broadcasts to be considered for this category.
- Best Layout awards are for Indigenous-owned media outlets (tribal media) that are at least 50 percent Native-owned, managed or controlled. Entrants must submit links to three or more editions to be considered for this category.
- Best Multimedia category is open to documentaries, series, or extended interviews/talk shows, compilations of audio, video, images, and original art for online audiences. Can be stand-alone or complementary to aired content. Entries may be a minute to an hour long.
- Best Coverage of Native America category is open to associate members only.
- Best Photo of Native America category is open to associate members only.
- Associate members and non-Native entrants may only enter the Associate Divisions.
- The Student Division is for Indigenous undergraduate and graduate students.
- Only those categories with a minimum of three entries from three or more individuals or organizations will be judged. Categories without the minimum number of entries may be combined, as applicable. NAJA will make all accommodations possible for ensuring entries are included for judging, which may include, but isn’t limited to, combining divisions and categories.
- Judges have the right to withhold an award if they determine that no entries merit recognition.
- Judges have the right to transfer entries from one category to another based on their reading of the contest guidelines. Entrants will not be notified of such a transfer prior to the announcement of awards.
Fees & Shipping
Entry fees are $25 per entry for professional (Indigenous), associate (non-Indigenous) or tribal media members, $10 per entry for student members, and $50 per entry for non-members. Contest entries will be accepted through the extended deadline of May 28, 2021.
NAJA will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. In the event an in-person National Native Media Awards ceremony is not possible, award plaques will be mailed directly to all recipients.
- Student Division
- Associate Division I – (Circulation below 5,000)
- Associate Division II – (Circulation 5,000 – 10,000)
- Associate Division III – (Circulation above 10,000)
- Professional Division I – (Circulation below 5,000)
- Professional Division II – (Circulation 5,000 – 10,000)
- Professional Division III – (Circulation above 10,000)
- ‘Print’ and ‘Online’ have been merged into ‘Print and/or Online’ and this has been updated from ‘Print/Online.’
- All ‘Multimedia’ categories are under one ‘Multimedia’ heading and have been deleted from ‘Print and/or Online’, ‘Radio’ and ‘TV.’
2021 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award
The 2021 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award recognizes important contributions made by journalists in the past, as well as encourages the new generation of Native journalists to achieve career excellence. This award honors NAJA’s mission and the exemplary people who have led the way with outstanding work and contributions to the field of journalism.
The winner of the NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award will receive $5,000 from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. All entrants must be NAJA members, however, there is no entry fee for this category and there is no cost to nominate a member for this award.
2021 NAJA Elias Boudinot Free Press Award
The NAJA Elias Boudinot Free Press Award recognizes a publication or media outlet that has shown dedication and commitment to upholding freedom of the press, information and transparency in Indian Country. All entrants must be NAJA members, however, there is no entry fee for this category and there is no cost to nominate a member for this award.
2021 NAJA Richard LaCourse Award
The NAJA Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Journalism honors groundbreaking work by a Native American journalist or a team that creatively uses digital tools in the role of community watchdog. Special consideration is given to journalism that helps a community understand and address important issues. A $500 cash prize will be awarded to the winner of the NAJA Richard LaCourse Award. All entrants must be NAJA members, however, there is no entry fee for this category.
Entrants may reduce their entry fees by volunteering to judge a category or division they are not entering. For each category judged, entrants may be forgiven one entry fee. Volunteers may judge up to four categories and may not judge a category in which they are competing. Any known conflicts of interest and preferences for categories should be submitted using the judge’s sign-up form.
Download the 2021 NAJA National Native Media Awards Judging Instructions.
For questions about volunteer judging, contact NAJA Program Manager Sterling Cosper at email@example.com.
- The entry fee is $25 per entry for professional, associate or tribal media members, $10 per entry for student members, and $50 per entry for non-members. Entries will be accepted through the extended deadline of May 28, 2021.
- Payment will be accepted via credit card, PayPal or invoice / check for tribal media. PayPal will process all credit card payments at the point of sale (you do not have to have a PayPal account to utilize this service).
- Total payment for multiple entries may be submitted as a single transaction, however, all payments must be received by NAJA on or before the entry deadline in order for the entry to be eligible for judging.
- Checks should be addressed to the Native American Journalists Association: NAJA – OU Gaylord College, 395 W. Lindsey St., Norman, OK 73019.
- Each entry must have a completed entry form and payment. Only complete entries with full payment received on or before the entry deadline will be judged.
- NAJA may not issue refunds but will make every attempt to judge all entries submitted, which may result in some categories or divisions being combined to meet the minimum entry requirement.
- Entrants may reduce their entry fees by volunteering to judge another category / division. For each category judged, entrants may be forgiven one $25 / $50 entry fee. Volunteers may judge up to four categories and may not judge a category in which they are competing. Any known conflicts of interest or preference for categories should be submitted using the judge’s volunteer sign up form.