Eligibility, Categories & More for the Webster Awards

Submissions for the 2024 Webster Awards are now being accepted until the deadline of Sunday, July 28th at 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time.

Review this year’s categories and more info below are there are many refinements made to most categories this year.

Each year, journalists across BC are invited to enter their best work in a variety of 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. 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.


ELIGIBILITY

In order to be eligible for a Webster Award you must meet all of the following 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.
  • Published journalism as a result of the journalist(s) winning the Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship is not eligible to be entered for a Webster Award.

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 synopsis about the submission, up to 300 words, 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 relevant uploads, to support your entry, however note that more is not necessarily better and judges will spend only up to 1 hour to review each submission so make sure any other uploads are indeed relevant,
  • 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 Innovative Journalism 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 & ENTER

Best News Reporting of the Year – Print/Digital -Newly Revised this Year

This category recognizes overall excellence, outstanding journalistic achievement and broad public impact in the print or digital mediums.  Winner/finalists will display originality, enterprise and creativity in their submissions.  Breaking news, news series, beat reporting or continuing coverage of a major developing story will be eligible for entry in this category.  Maximum 5 URL’s per submission and series coverage is eligible.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Impact:
    • What was the community impact? 
    • As reported, were there breakthroughs in public understanding or changes in policy as a result of the journalism
    • Did the story serve the public interest with critical information and/ or at a critical time?
  • Originality:
    • Did this story include content and information unique to this news outlet?
  • Timeliness and Relevance:
    • Was this work current and delivered in a timely fashion?
    • Was the work relevant to a broad cross-section of the BC population?
  • Craft:
    • Did the work uphold the highest standards of journalistic excellence? Did the journalism demonstrate solid research, resourcefulness and persistence? Was the material presented in a creative and compelling fashion? 
  • Context: 
    • What did the work tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story or series? 
    • Does it reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Best News Reporting of the Year – Radio/Audio -Newly Revised this Year

This category recognizes overall excellence, outstanding journalistic achievement and broad public impact in radio or audio mediums. Winner/finalists will display originality, enterprise and creativity in their submissions. Breaking news, new series, beat reporting or continuing coverage of a major developing story will be eligible for entry in this category. A maximum of a total of 60 minutes of audio material will be accepted for submissions and series coverage is eligible in this category.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Impact:
    • What was the community impact? 
    • As reported, were there breakthroughs in public understanding or changes in policy as a result of the journalism
    • Did the story serve the public interest with critical information and/ or at a critical time?
  • Originality:
    • Did this story include content and information unique to this news outlet?
  • Timeliness and Relevance:
    • Was this work current and delivered in a timely fashion?
    • Was the work relevant to a broad cross-section of the BC population?
  • Craft:
    • Did the work uphold the highest standards of journalistic excellence? Did the journalism demonstrate solid research, resourcefulness and persistence? Was the material presented in a creative and compelling fashion? 
  • Context: 
    • What did the work tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story or series? 
    • Does it reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Best News Reporting of the Year – TV/Video -Newly Revised this Year
Presented in Memory of Keith Bradbury

Presented in Memory of Keith Bradbury

This category recognizes overall excellence, outstanding journalistic achievement and broad public impact in TV or video mediums.  Winner/finalists will display originality,  enterprise and creativity in their submissions.  Breaking news, news series, beat reporting or continuing coverage of a major developing story will be eligible for entry in this category.  A maximum of a total of 60 minutes of material will be accepted for submissions and series coverage is eligible in this category.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Impact:
    • What was the community impact? 
    • As reported, were there breakthroughs in public understanding or changes in policy as a result of the journalism
    • Did the story serve the public interest with critical information and/ or at a critical time?
  • Originality:
    • Did this story include content and information unique to this news outlet?
  • Timeliness and Relevance:
    • Was this work current and delivered in a timely fashion?
    • Was the work relevant to a broad cross-section of the BC population?
  • Craft:
    • Did the work uphold the highest standards of journalistic excellence? Did the journalism demonstrate solid research, resourcefulness and persistence? Was the material presented in a creative and compelling fashion? 
  • Context: 
    • What did the work tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story or series? 
    • Does it reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Feature Reporting – Print/Digital – Newly Revised this Year

This category recognizes individual journalists or journalist teams who exhibit exceptional skills in crafting engaging feature stories. The award recognizes creativity, originality, and a commitment to covering under-reported narratives. Entrants may only submit a single story. Text material can be submitted as a URL, with the link leading to the story, or formatted as a PDF.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Story Choice
    • What was the degree of originality of the story?
    • What was the degree of significance of the subject matter?
  • Craft
    • Was the quality of writing at the highest level?
    • Was the narrative compelling?
  • Impact and Relevance
    • Did the story raise awareness, prompt discussion or further investigation?
    • Ultimately, as reported, did any tangible changes occur as a result of the story?
  • Context
    • How did the story enhance readers’ comprehension of the issue?
    • Did it provide new insights or perspectives?
    • What did the work tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story or series? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Feature Reporting – Radio/Audio – Newly Revised this Year

This category acknowledges exceptional journalism by individual journalists or a team of journalists who exhibit exceptional skills in crafting engaging feature stories. The award recognizes creativity, originality, and a commitment to covering under-reported narratives.

To align with the format of a typical radio/audio news broadcast, submissions should have a cumulative duration of no more than 60 minutes. Entrants can submit one-off pieces or a series, but the submission should not exceed five uploads.ng – Radio/Audio – Newly Revised this Year


Judging Guidelines:

  • Story Choice
    • What was the degree of originality of the story?
    • What was the degree of significance of the subject matter?
  • Craft
    • Was the quality of writing at the highest level?
    • Was the narrative compelling?
  • Impact and Relevance
    • Did the story raise awareness, prompt discussion or further investigation?
    • Ultimately, as reported, did any tangible changes occur as a result of the story?
  • Context
    • How did the story enhance readers’ comprehension of the issue?
    • Did it provide new insights or perspectives?
    • What did the work tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story or series? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Feature Reporting – TV/Video – Newly Revised this Year

This category acknowledges exceptional journalism by an individual journalist or a team, in traditional television broadcasting or through online platforms delivering video content. The award recognizes creativity, originality, and a commitment to covering under-reported narratives.

To align with the format of a typical news broadcast, submissions should have a cumulative duration of no more than 60 minutes. Entrants can submit one-off pieces or a series, but the submission should not exceed five uploads.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Story Choice
    • What was the degree of originality of the story?
    • What was the degree of significance of the subject matter?
  • Craft
    • Was the quality of writing at the highest level?
    • Was the narrative compelling?
  • Impact and Relevance
    • Did the story raise awareness, prompt discussion or further investigation?
    • Ultimately, as reported, did any tangible changes occur as a result of the story?
  • Context
    • How did the story enhance readers’ comprehension of the issue?
    • Did it provide new insights or perspectives?
    • What did the work tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story or series? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Investigative & Enterprise Journalism – Newly Revised this Year
Presented by the B.C. Crown Counsel Association

Presented by the B.C. Crown Counsel Association

This category recognizes over-all excellence in investigative and enterprise journalism. Entries should contain in-depth, original reporting with demonstrated impact including specific political, social or cultural change. A short, written description (100 words max) should accompany entries, demonstrating the impact of the work.

Submissions may be from print/digital, radio/audio or TV/video mediums or a combination thereof. A maximum of 60 minutes of audio or video material or 5 URL’s can be entered in this category as a series will be accepted in this category as well as single stories.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Impact and Relevance:
    • What were the political, social or cultural impacts on the community?
    • What changed as a result of the story?
  • Enterprise:
    • What degrees of research and enterprise were exhibited in this work? 
    • Did the journalist demonstrate the skillful use of public records, data and/or confidential sources in this project?
  • Originality: 
    • Did the work contain unique information or official secrets uncovered by this news outlet?
    • Has the ordinary been made new, or the extraordinary understandable?
  • Craft: 
    • Did the journalism display solid research, resourcefulness and persistence in the preparation of this work? 
    • Was the material presented in a creative and compelling fashion?  
  • Context:
    • What did the work tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story or series? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Innovative Journalism – Newly Revised this Year

This category recognizes outstanding multimedia journalism that maximizes the unique and distinctive storytelling opportunities in digital spaces. It recognizes journalism that demonstrates strong content, creative storytelling and  effectively uses digital tools to reach, inform and engage audiences.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Story Choice:
    • What makes the submission uniquely suited to be told via multimedia journalism?
    • What type of experience will the audience have?
  • 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 affect the story’s impact?
  • UserX:
    • What is the experience for the audience/user? Is the work interactive? Does it engage in a compelling, meaningful way?
  • Context:
    • What did the work tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Business Reporting – Newly Revised this Year
Endowed by Jean Cormier

Endowed by Jean Cormier

Recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists for outstanding reporting for a story on complex issues in all areas of business and industry, including technology, labour issues and all aspects of business.

Submissions may be from print/digital, radio/audio or TV/video mediums or a combination thereof.  A maximum of 60 minutes of audio or video material or 5 URL’s can be entered in this category.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Story Choice:
    • Why was this story important to tell?
  • Craft:
    • Is the story well told, compelling and properly explained?
    • What degrees of research, resourcefulness, persistence and creativity were exhibited in telling this story?
  • Impact and Relevance:
    • As reported, what was the impact on the community/issue?
    • As reported, what changed as a result of the story?
    • Is the story relevant, creative, significant or original?
  • Context:
    • What did the story tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Arts & Culture Reporting

This award recognizes a significant contribution to B.C. arts and culture journalism. The arts and culture category will be interpreted broadly to include reporting or criticism covering music, photography, architecture, film, food, literature, visual arts, media and the performing arts. This may include profiles of artists, features, breaking news and/or investigations in the creative industries. As independence is a hallmark of the Webster awards, sponsored segments or ‘junkets’ are not eligible for this award.

Submissions may be from print/digital, radio/audio or TV/video mediums or a combination thereof. A maximum of 60 minutes of audio or video material or 5 URL’s can be entered in this category.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Story Choice:
    • Why was this story important to tell?
  • Craft:
    • Is the story well told, compelling and properly explained?
    • What degrees of research, resourcefulness, persistence and creativity were exhibited in telling this story?
  • Impact and Relevance:
    • As reported, what was the impact on the community/issue?
    • As reported, what changed as a result of the story?
    • Is the story relevant, creative, significant or original?
  • Context:
    • What did the story tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Legal Journalism
Presented by the Law Society of BC

Presented by the Law Society of BC

Law Society of BC

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.

Submissions may be from print/digital, radio/audio or TV/video mediums or a combination thereof. A maximum of 60 minutes of audio or video material or 5 URL’s can be entered in this category.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Story Choice:
    • Why was this story important to tell?
  • Craft:
    • Is the story well told, compelling and properly explained?
    • What degrees of research, resourcefulness, persistence and creativity were exhibited in telling this story?
  • Impact and Relevance:
    • As reported, what was the impact on the community/issue?
    • As reported, what changed as a result of the story?
    • Is the story relevant, creative, significant or original?
  • Context:
    • What did the story tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Health Reporting

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

Submissions may be from print/digital, radio/audio or TV/video mediums or a combination thereof. A maximum of 60 minutes of audio or video material or 5 URL’s can be entered in this category.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Story Choice:
    • Why was this story important to tell?
  • Craft:
    • Is the story well told, compelling and properly explained?
    • What degrees of research, resourcefulness, persistence and creativity were exhibited in telling this story?
  • Impact and Relevance:
    • As reported, what was the impact on the community/issue?
    • As reported, what changed as a result of the story?
    • Is the story relevant, creative, significant or original?
  • Context:
    • What did the story tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Environment Reporting
Presented by the Pacific Salmon Foundation

Presented by the Pacific Salmon Foundation

Pacific Salmon Foundation

Recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists for outstanding reporting about our natural environment, the problems and potential solutions.

Submissions may be from print/digital, radio/audio or TV/video mediums or a combination thereof. A maximum of 60 minutes of audio or video material or 5 URL’s can be entered in this category.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Story Choice:
    • Why was this story important to tell?
  • Craft:
    • Is the story well told, compelling and properly explained?
    • What degrees of research, resourcefulness, persistence and creativity were exhibited in telling this story?
  • Impact and Relevance:
    • As reported, what was the impact on the community/issue?
    • As reported, what changed as a result of the story?
    • Is the story relevant, creative, significant or original?
  • Context:
    • What did the story tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Reporting in a Language other than English

Recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists who produce outstanding news reporting in B.C. in a language other than English. Winner/finalists will display originality, enterprise and creativity in their submissions. Breaking news, news series, beat reporting or continuing coverage of a developing story will be considered in this category.

Submissions may be print/digital, TV/video or radio/audio or a combination thereof. A maximum of 60 minutes of audio/video material or 5 URLs of related material can be entered into this category. Also, please provide your 200 word synopsis in-language followed by a version in English and also an English translation of your story must be uploaded for broadcast entries. An English translation of the script is acceptable.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Story Choice:
    • Why was this story important to tell?
  • Craft:
    • Is the story well told, compelling and properly explained?
    • What degrees of research, resourcefulness, persistence and creativity were exhibited in telling this story?
  • Impact and Relevance:
    • As reported, what was the impact on the community/issue?
    • As reported, what changed as a result of the story?
    • Is the story relevant, creative, significant or original?
  • Context:
    • What did the story tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
    • Does the story reflect the community is it meant to serve?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Excellence in Community Reporting
Presented by the Al Roadburg Foundation

Presented by the Al Roadburg Foundation

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

Submissions may be print/digital, TV/video or radio/audio or a combination thereof. A maximum of 60 minutes of audio/video material or 5 URLs of related material can be entered into this category.


Judging Guidelines:

  • Story Choice:
    • Why was this story important to tell?
  • Craft:
    • Is the story well told, compelling and properly explained?
    • What degrees of research, resourcefulness, persistence and creativity were exhibited in telling this story?
  • Impact and Relevance:
    • As reported, what was the impact on the community/issue?
    • As reported, what changed as a result of the story?
    • Is the story relevant, creative, significant or original?
  • Context:
    • What did the story tell us about how we live now or did it deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance and Diversity:
    • Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story? 
    • Does the work reflect the community by including a range of diverse voices and perspectives in the coverage?

Commentator of the Year/City Mic Award

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

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

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


Judging Guidelines:

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

DEADLINES

Submissions are now open for the 2024 Webster Awards. The deadline to submit is Sunday, July 28th at midnight, Pacific Time.

Three finalists in each category will be announced shortly after Labour Day and the winners will be announced at the 38th annual Webster Awards dinner awards evening, Monday, October 28th, 2024 at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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?

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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?

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

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?

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

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

Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can a news organization enter more than one entry in a category?

Yes– as many as you like.

SUPPORT THE WEBSTER AWARDS

Your support today makes a big difference and will help us continue the Jack Webster Foundation and celebrate excellence in journalism to protect the public interest for British Columbians.

Your donations go to support Student Journalism Awards, Professional Development Fellowships, free Masterclasses for journalists, journalism educators and students, and to support the costs of funding the annual Webster Awards.

As the Jack Webster Foundation is a registered Canadian charity, tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20 or more. Should you wish to make your donation by cheque, please contact us by sending an email at [email protected].