Eligibility, Categories & More for the Webster Awards

THE 2023 WEBSTER AWARDS WERE HANDED OUT NOVEMBER 14TH, 2023.

Submissions for the 2024 Webster Awards will open in May of 2024. Stand by and check back to see when.

For now, review the 2023 categories and more info below.

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, in 14 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.


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.

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 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 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

Best News Reporting of the Year (New!)

Presented in Memory of Keith Bradbury 

This is a multi-platform award for over-all excellence in news reporting.  Submissions may be from print/ digital/ radio/ podcast, TV or a combination thereof.  This category recognizes a compelling and unique BC story or series that has originality, creativity, timeliness and broad public impact. 

Judging Guidelines: 

  • Impact and Relevance: What was the community impact?  Were there breakthroughs in public understanding or changes in public policy as a result of the journalism?
  • Originality: Did this story include content and information unique to this news outlet? 
  • Timeliness: Was this work current? 
  • Skill and Creativity:  What roles did research, resourcefulness and persistence play in preparing this journalistic work?  Despite deadline pressure, did the work set a high bar for creativity? 
  • Clarity: Was the complex made understandable?
  • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict fairly and clearly explained? 
  • Balance: Was the work fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story?




Excellence in Investigative Journalism (New!)

This multi-platform category recognizes over-all excellence in a BC story or series. Submissions may be from print/digital, radio, podcast, TV or a combination thereof.  Entries should be critical, in-depth and contain original reporting that enhanced accountability for individuals, organizations, governments or corporations in positions of high public trust.

Judging Guidelines: 

  • Impact and Relevance: What was the impact on the community? What changed as a result of the story?
  • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in this work?  Did the journalist use public records, data and confidential sources in this investigative 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 and Creativity: How creatively did the journalist use the unique narrative techniques to tell a complex story?
  • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
  • Balance: Was the entry fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the work?  




Excellence in Arts and Culture Reporting (New!)

This new award recognizes a significant contribution to BC arts journalism.  It is open to journalists working in print/ digital, radio/podcast and TV.   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.

Judging Guidelines: 

  • Impact and Relevance: What was the community impact and public benefit?   Did the work enhance public understanding and/or appreciation of the arts? 
  • Craft: How creatively did the journalist exploit the narrative and storytelling potential of their media to produce the work?
  • Skill and Creativity:  Despite deadline pressure, did the work set a high bar for critical thinking and creativity?
  • Enterprise: What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story? 
  • Context: What did the work tell us about the cultural context of our history or present day realities?
  • Originality: Has the ordinary been made new, or the extraordinary understandable?
  • Conflict: Were the elements of conflict clearly and fairly explained?
  • Balance: Was the work fair to all those portrayed in and affected by the story?




Excellence in Feature Reporting (New!)

This category recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists who deploys outstanding long-form or feature reporting skills to tell an original or under-reported story. Submissions could include a single story, or a planned series, in print, online or broadcast formats.

Judging Guidelines: 

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




Excellence in Health Reporting

This category recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists for outstanding reporting about issues surrounding health and medicine. This category is open to print, online and broadcast formats.

Judging Guidelines


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




Excellence in Technology Reporting

Recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists for outstanding reporting on or about issues surrounding technology or the impact of technological innovation on business transformation, the public sector, or our everyday lives. This category is open to print, online and broadcast formats.

Judging Guidelines:

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




Excellence in Environment Reporting

Recognizes a journalist or a team of journalists for outstanding reporting about our natural environment, the problems and potential solutions. This category is open to print, online and broadcast formats.

Judging Guidelines:

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




Excellence in 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, 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:

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




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 affect the story’s impact?




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. This category is open to print, online and broadcast formats.

Judging Guidelines:

  • Craft:
    • Is the story well told, compelling and properly explained? 
    • What degrees of research, resourcefulness and persistence were exhibited in telling this story? 
  • Story Choice:
    • Why was this story important to tell? 
    • Is the story relevant, creative, significant or original? 
  • Impact and Relevance:
    • What was the impact on the community/issue? 
    • What changed as a result of the story and how has better understanding between communities been achieved?
  • Context:
    • What did the story tell us about how we live now or deepen understanding of our history?
  • Balance:
    • Was the story fair to those portrayed in and affected by the story?




Excellence in Legal Journalism

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. This category is open to print, online and broadcast formats.

Judging Guidelines:

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




Excellence in Community Reporting

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. This category is open to print, online and broadcast formats.

Judging Guidelines:
Judges will base their decisions on the community relevance of the topic as well as:

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




Excellence in Business, Industry, & Labour Reporting

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 and labour. This category is open to print, online and broadcast formats.

Endowed by Jean Cormier

Judging Guidelines:

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




Commentator of the Year – City Mike 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.

The City Mike 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.

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.


DEADLINES

Submissions will be accepted for the 2024 Webster Awards in May of 2024. The deadline to submit will be announced once the call for submissions is open.

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, in the fall of 2024, date TBA.

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].