Jack Webster Foundation Logo

Eligibility, Categories & More

The 2021 Webster Awards were presented Nov. 3rd.

THE CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR THE 2021 WEBSTER AWARDS IS NOW CLOSED. However to prepare for 2022 – check out our new and revised categories.  Just scroll down this page to find the information.

Each year, journalists across BC are invited to enter their best work in a variety of different categories with the goal of being the winner of the coveted Webster Award — the hallmark of journalistic excellence in British Columbia.

Submissions are welcome from journalists that cover all aspects of news, subject to the eligibility requirements, over the 16 different categories. An esteemed jury that is completely separate from the Foundation’s board of directors reviews all submissions and the three finalists in each category are announced each fall. An awards event takes place later in the fall when the winners of each category are announced.

“Jack Webster was one of Canada’s most talented journalists. He broke story after story in print, on the radio and latterly on television. Tough, but truthful, he didn’t suffer fools gladly. The awards in his name are legendary and iconic – winning a Webster is our version of a Pulitzer Prize or an Edward R. Murrow award, and much sought after because he set standards all reporters aimed to reach.

No other award in Western Canadian journalism instills a sense of pride greater than a Webster. It is what many reporters have strived for during the past quarter of a century.”

— Clive Jackson, 2018 Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award recipient

The call for submissions for 2021 awards is now closed but you can plan for your 2022 submissions now.

ELIGIBILITY

In order to be eligible for a Webster Award you must meet all of the following REVISED general requirements and the specific eligibility requirements for each award:

  • You must be a BC-based journalist, or if it is a team submission the majority of those on the team must be BC-based journalists,
  • For a team submission, list each person’s name and the name of the city/town where they reside,
  • Submissions must report on stories of interest for BC audiences, 
  • Only submissions published/aired between June 1 of the previous calendar year and May 31 of the current calendar year are eligible,
  • Submissions must have been published in journalism sources, including but not limited to, online, print, video, broadcast, podcast, radio, blogs, newscast, etc.
  • Submissions are encouraged from the gamut of media departments/sections, including news, sports, the arts, business, etc.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW & OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  • You must complete an online form for each submission,
  • You can enter a story or series in only one category, however you can submit as many different entries as you like,
  • A fee of $25 per submission must be paid. Major credit cards will be accepted for payment,
  • Your submission must include a 200-word synopsis about the submission, explaining the story’s background, significance, impact and any other information you consider pertinent,
  • Aside from the synopsis, you must upload your major story to be reviewed, and should you be a finalist or the winner, this will be the story available for the public to access,
  • You may then include up to a MAXIMUM of 4 other uploads, to support your entry,
  • For each submission, please check the time limit for the sum total of all audio/video uploaded allowed – details can be found in the categories section where each award is described,
  • For any submissions that appeared in hard copy/print, please upload a PDF showing the actual page(s) published and make sure it can be read,
  • Only one story should be in any PDF uploaded,
  • For online text-based submissions, or regarding submissions in the Multimedia category, please upload a readable screen grab (JPEG) as your story was displayed, or a PDF’d version of this, or if need be, provide a link to the story that is not behind a paywall,  
  • For radio/audio/podcast entries, please provide an MP3 audio file no greater than 2GB in size,
  • For TV/Video entries, please provide a video in the MPEG Format Only (MP4,MPG or MPEG) up to a maximum of 2GB in size if submitting via the form.
CATEGORIES

 


NEW – Jack Webster Award for Health Reporting

Recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists for outstanding reporting about issues surrounding health and medicine.

Judging Guidelines:

  • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story? Did a journalist initiate the story or was it a response to events?
  • Impact and Relevance: What was the impact on the community? What changed as a result of the story?
  • Choice: What creativity did the journalist show in choosing a particular story to tell?
  • Context: What did the story tell us about how we live now?
  • Craft: How creatively did the journalist exploit the unique narrative potentials of various media (print/text, digital, broadcast) to tell a complex story?
  • Originality: Has the ordinary been made new, or the extraordinary understandable?
  • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
  • Balance: Was the entry fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the story?

    NEW – Jack Webster Award for Technology Reporting

    Recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists for outstanding reporting about issues surrounding technology or the impact of technological innovation.

    Judging Guidelines:

    • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story? Did a journalist initiate the story or was it a response to events?
    • Impact and Relevance: What was the impact on the community? What changed as a result of the story?
    • Choice: What creativity did the journalist show in choosing a particular story to tell?
    • Context: What did the story tell us about how we live now?
    • Craft: How creatively did the journalist exploit the unique narrative potentials of various media (print/text, digital, broadcast) to tell a complex story?
    • Originality: Has the ordinary been made new, or the extraordinary understandable?
    • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
    • Balance: Was the entry fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the story?

    NEW – Jack Webster Award for Environment Reporting

    Recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists for outstanding reporting about issues surrounding the environment, nature, climate change and green energy.

    Judging Guidelines:

    • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story? Did a journalist initiate the story or was it a response to events?
    • Impact and Relevance: What was the impact on the community? What changed as a result of the story?
    • Choice: What creativity did the journalist show in choosing a particular story to tell?
    • Context: What did the story tell us about how we live now?
    • Craft: How creatively did the journalist exploit the unique narrative potentials of various media (print/text, digital, broadcast) to tell a complex story?
    • Originality: Has the ordinary been made new, or the extraordinary understandable?
    • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
    • Balance: Was the entry fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the story?  

    NEW – Best Reporting in a Language other than English

    Recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists who produce outstanding reporting in BC in a language other than English. Submissions may be print/online, TV/video or audio.  Please note the maximum length of video/audio is 60 minutes. Also provide your 200 word synopsis in-language followed by a version in English.

    Judging Guidelines:

    • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story? Did a journalist initiate the story or was it a response to events?
    • Impact and Relevance: What was the impact on the community? What changed as a result of the story?
    • Choice: What creativity did the journalist show in choosing a particular story to tell?
    • Context: What did the story tell us about how we live now?
    • Craft: How creatively did the journalist exploit the unique narrative potentials of various media (print/text, digital, broadcast) to tell a complex story?
    • Originality: Has the ordinary been made new, or the extraordinary understandable?
    • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
    • Balance: Was the entry fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the story?

    REVISED CATEGORY
    Jack Webster Award for Excellence in Multimedia Journalism

    This category recognizes outstanding multimedia journalism that maximizes the unique and distinctive storytelling nature of digital spaces. It recognises journalism that demonstrates the effective and appropriate use of digital tools and services to reach, inform and engage audiences in ways that are unique to digital spaces, and as such, could not be accomplished in print, radio or television.

    Judging Guidelines:

    • Story Choice: What makes the submission uniquely suited to be told via multimedia journalism?
    • Craft: What creative uses of multimedia tools, services and platforms, design and navigation — singly or in combination — were used to enhance the audience’s understanding of the story?
    • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story?
    • Impact: How were multimedia tools used to engage the audience and measure the story’s impact?

    REVISED CATEGORY
    Best Breaking News Reporting 3 awards
    • Print/Online
    • TV/Video – Presented in memory of Keith Bradbury
    • Radio

      Recognizes outstanding reporting by a journalist or team of journalists where speed and accuracy are required to tell a story in response to an emerging event or situation. NEW – Exemplary submissions will also include unique content that uncovers information or aspects of the story that no other media has and thus best informs the public.

    Judging Guidelines: 

    • Timeliness: Was this story reported in time for the community to take necessary action?
    • Skill: How did deadline pressure impact the story, and how was it handled? What roles did research, resourcefulness and persistence play in telling this story?
    • Clarity: Was the complex made understandable?
    • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
    • Balance: Was the entry fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the story?
    • Impact and Relevance: What was the impact on the community? What changed as a result of the story?
    • Originality: Did this story include unique content that uncovered information or aspects of the event that no other media had in order to best inform the public?

    Excellence in Feature/Enterprise Reporting 3 awards
    • Print/Online 
    • TV/Video
    • RadioPodcast/Audio

      Recognizes outstanding reporting by a journalist or team of journalists who deploy outstanding investigative, enterprise, long-form or feature reporting skills to tell an original or under-reported story. Submissions may include both one-offs and/or a planned series and may include open-line radio campaigns.

    Judging Guidelines:

    • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story? Did a journalist initiate the story or was it a response to events?
    • Impact and Relevance: What was the impact on the community? What changed as a result of the story?
    • Choice: What creativity did the journalist show in choosing a particular story to tell?
    • Context: What did the story tell us about how we live now?
    • Craft: How creatively did the journalist exploit the unique narrative potentials of various media (print/text, digital, broadcast) to tell a complex story?
    • Originality: Has the ordinary been made new, or the extraordinary understandable?
    • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
    • Balance: Was the entry fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the story?

    Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Reporting

    Recognizes outstanding journalism that has inspired truth and reconciliation and real, impactful and positive change for BIPOC people/communities and/or for LGBTQ2 people/communities and those with disabilities. Stories via their submissions must also demonstrate that this piece of journalism has helped to build a bridge of understanding between communities as the intention of the award is to help build stronger communities across British Columbia by fostering a better understanding of each other. Submission may be stories/features/series across all media platforms. Journalists do not have to be BIPOC/LGBTQ2/Disabled.

    Judging Guidelines:

    • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story? Did a journalist initiate the story or was it a response to events?
    • Impact and Relevance: What was the impact on the community? What changed as a result of the story?
    • Choice: What creativity did the journalist show in choosing a particular story to tell?
    • Context: What did the story tell us about how we live now?
    • Craft: How creatively did the journalist exploit the unique narrative potentials of various media (print/text, digital, broadcast) to tell a complex story?
    • Originality: Has the ordinary been made new, or the extraordinary understandable?
    • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
    • Balance: Was the entry fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the story?

    Jack Webster Award for Legal Reporting

    Recognizes a journalist or team of journalists for outstanding reporting on a story or series of stories about legal issues, the administration of justice or the legal profession in British Columbia.

    Sponsored by the Law Society of British Columbia

    Judging Guidelines:

    • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story? Did a journalist initiate the story or was it a response to events?
    • Impact and Relevance: What was the impact on the community? What changed as a result of the story?
    • Choice: What creativity did the journalist show in choosing a particular story to tell?
    • Context: What did the story tell us about how we live now?
    • Craft: How creatively did the journalist exploit the unique narrative potentials of various media (print/text, digital, broadcast) to tell a complex story?
    • Originality: Has the ordinary been made new, or the extraordinary understandable?
    • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
    • Balance: Was the entry fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the story?

      Judges will base their decisions on the community relevance of the topic, how the submission identifies and speaks to community aspirations, and the journalistic skills used to report a community to itself.


     Jack Webster Award for Community Reporting

    Recognizes a journalist or team of journalists from small or targeted market news organizations representing distinct geographic, cultural or demographic communities, whose work exemplifies enterprise, innovation and excellence in shining a light on significant issues in the community.

    Judging Guidelines:
    Judges will base their decisions on the community relevance of the topic, how the submission identifies and speaks to community aspirations, and the journalistic skills used to report a community to itself, as well as:

    • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story? Did a journalist initiate the story or was it a response to events?
    • Impact and Relevance: What was the impact on the community? What changed as a result of the story?
    • Choice: What creativity did the journalist show in choosing a particular story to tell?
    • Context: What did the story tell us about how we live now?
    • Craft: How creatively did the journalist exploit the unique narrative potentials of various media (print/text, digital, broadcast) to tell a complex story?
    • Originality: Has the ordinary been made new, or the extraordinary understandable?
    • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
    • Balance: Was the entry fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the story?

    Jack Webster Business, Industry, Labour & Economics Award

    Recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists for outstanding reporting for a story or series of stories on complex issues in the areas of business, industry labour and economics.

    Endowed by Jean Cormier

    Judging Guidelines:

    • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story? Did a journalist initiate the story or was it a response to events?
    • Impact and Relevance: What was the impact on the community? What changed as a result of the story?
    • Choice: What creativity did the journalist show in choosing a particular story to tell?
    • Context: What did the story tell us about how we live now?
    • Craft: How creatively did the journalist exploit the unique narrative potentials of various media (print/text, digital, broadcast) to tell a complex story?
    • Originality: Has the ordinary been made new, or the extraordinary understandable?
    • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
    • Balance: Was the entry fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the story?

     City Mike Award – Commentator of the Year

    Recognizes journalists who present informed, intelligent and impactful commentary in either print, TV/video, radio/podcast or online media.

    Submissions may contain up to 5 examples of work on either a single or multiple topics.

    The City Mike Award is named after the groundbreaking CJOR program that established Jack Webster as one of BC’s pre-eminent commentators, and is presented in memory of Linda Webster.

    Guidelines for the City Mike Award submissions:

    • Judges will base their decisions on the significance of the topic, the effectiveness of the commentary on the issue at hand, and the quality of the work, including clarity, originality, depth of thought and style.
    DEADLINE

    The deadline for 2021 submissions was July 31, 2021, midnight PDT.  The call for submissions for 2022 awards will open in May of 2022.

    FAQ

    Q. If I reported on a story in May and it continued with more reports in June, can I enter all the stories, given that the entry period is June 1, of the previous year, to May 31, of the current year?

    A. Yes, if your story begins in May and continues into June, then it can be entered for the Webster Awards.

    Q. If my text-based submission was published online, should I enter the Multimedia category?

    A. No, if your submission is text-based and does not utilize a combination of digital tools and platforms – text, videos, audio, slideshows, interactivity, data and social media, etc. – then your submission should be entered into another relevant category.

    Q. I am a broadcast journalist and wish to enter. Is there a time limit for broadcast entries or should I edit the original piece?

    A. Broadcast entries should be no more than 60 minutes. You may wish to provide four 15-minute excerpts or two 30-minute excerpts. A broadcast entry may not be edited, except for the provision of excerpts as noted above.

    Q. Can I enter a series of articles on a subject as one entry?

    A. Yes, but you must respect the maximum number of allowable uploads.

    Q. If my news organization has more than one media, can a submission be entered in more than one category, for example, in a TV and in a Radio category?

    A. No. A submission may be entered in only one category. You will have to select which category to enter.

    Q. The majority of our team of journalists is BC-based but one member is a non-BC journalist, actually working for our Toronto organization. Can we submit?

    A. Yes, the majority of your team must be BC-based though.

    Q. If I am a BC-based journalist working for a national network, publication or website, is my work eligible?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Is there a maximum number of stories I can enter in a category?

    A. No, there is no maximum number of stories you can enter in a category.

    Q. Will I have to complete a submission form for each entry?

    A. Yes, you must complete the online submission process for each submission and pay the $25 fee for each submission.

    Q. I write for a BC online news site. What categories am I eligible to enter?

    A. You can submit your text story into the Print/Online categories or into specific categories such as Science, Legal Reporting, etc.