NAJA calls for 2021 National Native Media Awards entries through April 30

2021 National Native Media Award entries accepted through April 30, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY — 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 US and Canada.

IMPORTANT: Entrants are encouraged to thoroughly read the instructions 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.

The anchor links immediately below regarding contest entires will assist in navigating the critical parts of the submission process and BNC technical support info is below the anchors.

*See Fees, Payment and Shipping for information regarding COVID-19 contingencies for the distribution of awards in the event a ceremony is not possible.

Student, Associate or Pro Categories/DivisionsRegistered ‘Authorized Entrants’ vs. Open CallCirculation & Other NNMA RulesCategory Descriptions Fees, Payment & ShippingFull BNC Contestant InstructionsJudges Info & InstructionsSpecial Awards

To submit a technical support request anytime throughout the awards process, click the “Help & Support” link at the top left of the main BetterBNC webpage. 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 am – 5 pm PT.

BNC is optimized for the Google Chrome browser; and Firefox for PC and Mac. Please have a recent version installed for the best contest experience.

Student, Associate & Pro Categories/Divisions
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The Professional Division is for Indigenous journalists and the Associate Division is for non-Indigenous journalists. Associate entrants may only enter ‘best…of Native America’ categories and are the only entrants allowed to enter them.

The Student Division is for Indigenous undergraduate and graduate students.

Registered ‘Authorized Entrants’ vs. Open Call
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Registered authorized entrants are for those who have an account set up on BNC. Outlets may set up an account by contacting contest administrator Sterling Cosper at: scosper@naja.com.

Note: outlets that have any combination of student, associate and pro entrants (see the previous section for more information) must have separate accounts for each. If you already have an account, look for your account type in parenthesis next to your organization’s name at login.

Authorized Entrant Login:

  1. Select the contest you would like to enter
  2. Select your Media Organization
  3. Enter your email address
  4. Enter your password
  5. Click “Login”

Open Call entries are for those who do not wish to set up an account. Entrants may select their outlet from existing registered accounts during the submission process or enter them manually. Open Call accounts may submit under the associate or pro divisions but must follow the rules regarding them. Once you file for an account, contest admin Sterling Cosper: scosper@naja.com must approve it before you can make above a certain number of entries.

Open Call Login:

  1. Click “Open Call Login” in the blue bar at the top of the page
  2. If you already have an Open Call Contestant account, enter your email address and password, then click “Login” and skip to section “g. Request to make entries in a contest” below
  3. If you do not already have an Open Call Contestant account, click “Create your Open Call account”
  4. Fill out the form
  5. Click “Submit” at the bottom of the page

Once you fill out the form to create your Open Call Contestant account, the system will send you a validation email with a link that must be clicked before you can log into your account.

g. Request to make entries in a contest (Open Call Only):

  1. Hover over the red “Open Call Contestant” text in the blue bar at the top of the page
  2. Select “My Contests” in the menu that appears
  3. In the “Available Contests” section, check the box next to the contest you would like to enter
  4. Hover over the red “Open Call Contestant” text again
  5. Select “Manage Entries”

View the full BNC contestant instructions here.

Circulation & Other NNMA Rules
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View Division type information here.

  • 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)

Rules and Eligibility Guidelines

  • Contest entries will be accepted through April 30, 2021.
  • Submitted entries must have been published, broadcasted, or posted on or between Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020.
  • 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 in the comments 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.

Category Descriptions
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Print and/or OnlineRadio/PodcastTVMultimedia

Please note changes from last year. ‘Print’ and ‘Online’ have been merged into ‘Print and/or Online’ and this has been updated from ‘Print/Online.’ Also, all ‘Multimedia’ categories are under one ‘Multimedia’ heading and have been deleted from ‘Print and/or Online’, ‘Radio’ and ‘TV.’

Associate entrants may only enter ‘best coverage of’ categories and are the only entrants allowed to enter them. The Student Division is for Indigenous undergraduate and graduate students.

Print and/or Online

  • Best Digital Publication: Open to tribal media publishing digitally.  
  • Best News Story: A story that touches on a hard news story dealing with health, education, politics, economic development, race relations, or policy. 
  • Best Feature Story: Tells an insightful and meaningful story regarding an individual/event etc. Entries must be less than 10 minutes; Any entries more than 10 minutes may enter the Best Multimedia category.
  • General Excellence: Recognizing excellence in print editions. For Indigenous-owned media outlets (tribal media) that are at least 50% Native-owned, managed or controlled. Entrants must submit links to three or more editions to be considered for this category. Include links to at least three issues and no more than five.
  • Best Layout: Recognizing the best in page design and layout. For Indigenous-owned media outlets (tribal media) that are at least 50% Native-owned, managed or controlled. Entrants must submit links to three or more editions to be considered for this category.
  • Excellence in Beat Reporting: Include links to at least three pieces and no more than five.  
  • Best Photo of Native America: Open to associate entrants only.
  • Best Coverage of Native America: Open to associate entrants only.
  • Best Column: Include links to at least three columns and no more than five.
  • Best Health Coverage
  • Best Environmental Coverage
  • Best Elder Coverage
  • Best News Photo
  • Best Feature Photo
  • Best Sports Story
  • Best Sports Photo

Radio/Podcast

  • Best Newscast: A standard newscast (2 to 20 minutes) from any radio station’s daily broadcast. Judging based on anchor delivery, selection and ordering of stories, and use of sound.
  • Best News Story: A story from a minute to five minutes long, that touches on a hard news story dealing with health, education, politics, economic development, race relations, or policy.
  • Best Feature Story: More human-interest oriented or soft, it can be about the arts, community events or unique profiles of individuals or groups.
  • Excellence in Beat Reporting: Include links to at least three broadcasts and no more than five.
  • General Excellence: For Indigenous-owned media outlets (tribal media) that are at least 50% Native-owned, managed or controlled. Include links to at least three issues / clips and no more than five.
  • Best Coverage of Native America: Open to associate entrants only.
  • Best Sports Story

TV 

  • Best Newscast: A standard newscast (2 to 20 minutes) from any TV station’s daily broadcast. Judging based on anchor delivery, selection and ordering of stories, and use of sound.   
  • Best News Story: A story from a minute to five minutes long, that touches on a hard news story dealing with health, education, politics, economic development, race relations, or policy. 
  • Best Feature Story: Entries must be less than 10 minutes; Any entries over the allotted time may enter the Best Multimedia category (see the bottom of this section).
  • Excellence in Beat Reporting: Include links to at least three broadcasts and no more than five.
  • General Excellence: For Indigenous-owned media outlets (tribal media) that are at least 50% Native-owned, managed or controlled. Include links to at least three issues / clips and no more than five.
  • Best Coverage of Native America: Open to associate entrants only.    

Multimedia

Category 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 published content. Entries may be a minute to an hour long.   

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Fees, Payment & Shipping
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The regular entry fee is $30 per entry for professional, associate, student or tribal members, $15 per entry for student members and $55 per entry for non-members through April 30, 2021.

Entrants may reduce their entry fees by volunteering to judge another category / division. See the full judging information here.

Payment Information

  • The entry fee is $25 per entry for professional, associate, student or tribal media members, $10 per entry for student members, and $50 per entry for non-members. Entries will be accepted through April 30, 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. 

BNC Payment info (see full BNC instructions here.)

a. When all entries are submitted log into your account
b. Navigate to the Manage Entries page
c. Click “Calculate Entry Fees”
d. Follow the on screen instructions to pay for your entries

Shipping
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.

Full BNC Contestant Instructions
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BetterBNC homepage

e. Authorized Entrant Login:

  1. Select the contest you would like to enter
  2. Select your Media Organization
  3. Enter your email address
  4. Enter your password
  5. Click “Login”

f. Open Call Login:

  1. Click “Open Call Login” in the blue bar at the top of the page
  2. If you already have an Open Call Contestant account, enter your email address and password, then click “Login” and skip to section “g. Request to make entries in a contest” below
  3. If you do not already have an Open Call Contestant account, click “Create your Open Call account”
  4. Fill out the form
  5. Click “Submit” at the bottom of the page

Once you fill out the form to create your Open Call Contestant account, the system will send you a validation email with a link that must be clicked before you can log into your account.

g. Request to make entries in a contest (Open Call Only):

  1. Hover over the red “Open Call Contestant” text in the blue bar at the top of the page
  2. Select “My Contests” in the menu that appears
  3. In the “Available Contests” section, check the box next to the contest you would like to enter
  4. Hover over the red “Open Call Contestant” text again
  5. Select “Manage Entries”
Submit Entries

a. Click “Submit Entry” from the Manage Entries page
b. Select a Division (group of Categories)
c. Select a Category
d. Select the Media Organization where the entry was published or performed (Open Call Only)
e. Enter the entry headline or title
f. Add entry content (may vary by category)

  1. To upload digital file attachments (other than audio/video), click “Browse”, navigate to the desired file, and then click “Open”. Allowed file types are PDF, DOC/DOCX, TXT, JPG, GIF, and PNG. To upload additional attachments to a single entry, click the “Browse and Attach More Files” button. BetterBNC will allow up to about a 20MB file, however, we suggest keeping your files around 5MB in case the judges have a slow connection. For files larger than 20MB, you can click the “RealView” icon on the Submit Entry page to create a free account, upload your files, and then copy and paste the URL into the URL field on the Submit Entry page. You may also use a similar third party website that provides hosting services (scribd.com, issuu.com, etc.)
  2. To add web/audio/video content, copy and paste the content’s URL address into the provided Website URL field. To host your content online, either upload it to a free streaming content website (e.g.YouTube) or talk to your IT person about adding it to your station’s/publication’s website. Make sure the content will be accessible online throughout the duration of the contest and awards process. Here are some examples of free streaming content websites where you can upload audio and video content:

    * Audio: www.kiwi6.com, www.tindeck.com
    * Video: www.youtube.com, www.vimeo.com

  3. IMPORTANT: Please be sure that items are not behind a paywall or a password-protected area. If they are, you must provide username/password info in the Comments section of your entry. Judges may disqualify your entry if work samples are inaccessible.

g. Add Comments
h. Enter Credits
i. Click “Submit Entry”

Pay for Entries

a. When all entries are submitted log into your account
b. Navigate to the Manage Entries page
c. Click “Calculate Entry Fees”
d. Follow the on screen instructions to pay for your entries

Download BNC contestant instructions

Judges Info & Instructions
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Entrants may reduce their entry fees by volunteering to judge another category / division. 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

For questions about volunteer judging, contact NAJA Program Manager Sterling Cosper at scosper@naja.com.

Special Awards
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2020 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award

The 2020 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. 

2020 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. 

2020 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.