CCC Awards for College Coronavirus Coverage

ACP, SPJ and SND join forces to present weekly awards for college journalists covering COVID-19

Three major journalism organizations — Associated Collegiate Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society for News Design — have joined forces to recognize outstanding COVID-19 coverage by collegiate journalists.

It’s a distinctive weekly awards program for all college students whose coverage of COVID-19 appears in student-run media, in professional publications or in publicly shared classroom projects.

Print, online and broadcast submissions are welcome. There is no cost to enter.

It is critical, however, that you do not put yourself or others in jeopardy of being infected with COVID-19 through your reporting.

Contest rules, judging criteria and an entry link are at this link.

In its first week, stories competed, but now the competition includes categories for photo and for design/infographics.

Reporting winners receive a free year of SPJ membership, with SND and NPPA memberships as prizes in their respective categories. All winning work will be touted on SPJ’s and ACP’s social media — a reach of more than 140,000 followers.

CCC design award

Submit one design of a story, package of stories, or COVID-19 news page. You can also submit individual infographics, illustrations, and editorial cartoons. 

For the Friday, April 3, deadline, all designs to that date and earlier are eligible. From that point, only designs from the preceding Saturday to Friday are eligible for the Friday deadline.

All entries are judged by members of the Society for News Design. In its own contests, SND values “daring and innovative” and chooses each winning entry based on “how well it accomplishes its editorial and design objectives.” They’ll do the same here.

Here’s what SND judges will look for in the design and visual information.
1.  Clarity of message with context and a memorable take-away.
2.  Sophistication in typography, color and spacing.
3.  A strong marriage of words and image.
4.  Hierarchy: arranging elements in a way that implies importance.
5.  Good use of photographs, charts or illustration.
6.  Effectively layered information in pullouts, quotes and captions.

Weekly winners will receive a 1-year SND membership.

CCC photo category

Submit one photo – breaking news, feature, portrait, or photo illustration – that captures a moment (or more) about COVID-19 in your community. Judges will be consider the following:

For the Friday, April 3, deadline, all designs to that date and earlier are eligible. From that point, only designs from the preceding Saturday to Friday are eligible for the Friday deadline.

1. Impact. The effect the image makes when you first view it. A compelling image should evoke strong emotions such as either sadness, anger, empathy, humor.

2. Creativity. An original approach to the subject. Allows viewers to see something from a fresh perspective

3. Composition. An intentional framing of subject that provides clarity and insight

4. Lighting. Use of light creates mood and illumination of the subject

5. Storytelling. It should add dimension to the story whether it is accompanied by a written story and/or can stand by itself.

All entries must have a caption, which may be either the original published caption or a freshly produced caption that clearly explains what the picture shows. Caption must include names of people who can be clearly identified, location and date. 

Please provide context of image, just merely stating the obvious. (This link to Poynter has more great tips in writing captions.)

All entries are judged by members of the National Press Photographers Association. In its own contests, the NPPA stresses more than just technical prowess and creative composition. So consult the NPPA’s Code of Ethics before entering.

Weekly winners will receive a 1-year NPPA membership.


The CCC Awards for college coverage of COVID-19

March 23, 2020, press release announcing the awards

INDIANAPOLIS — Two of the nation’s largest and oldest journalism organizations —  Associated Collegiate Press and the Society of Professional Journalists — are joining forces to recognize college journalists covering the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACP and SPJ are co-sponsors for a distinctive weekly awards program for all college students whose coverage of COVID-19 appears in student-run media, in professional publications or in publicly shared classroom projects.

They’re the CCC Awards, for College Coronavirus Coverage. Entering is free, and a rotating slate of judges — all professional journalists — will choose winners and finalists by noon each Monday until the pandemic has passed.

Contest rules, judging criteria and an entry link are at this link.


For this first week, stories compete. Next week, we launch additional judging standards for photo and for design/infographics.

Winners receive a free year of SPJ membership, and their work will be touted on SPJ’s and ACP’s social media — a reach of more than 140,000 followers.

“With college journalists studying and working from home, they can quickly feel isolated because they aren’t collaborating with peers in the newsroom. The CCC Awards are one small way to counter that,” ACP Executive Director Laura Widmer said.

“We know college journalists are doing exceptional work while being kept out of their newsrooms,” Widmer said. “This award will recognize the great coverage student journalists are providing weekly to their audiences during this tumultuous time. ACP is excited to be teaming with SPJ for these awards.”

SPJ is doing all it can to help professional journalists face the double pressure of covering this health crisis while caring for their own families, SPJ National President Patricia Gallagher Newberry said. Newberry is area coordinator of the journalism program at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. 

“College journalists face a triple whammy: They also need to attend online classes. And those are still being figured out on the fly.”

The CCC Awards are being managed by SPJ’s Awards Committee. Its chair, Sue Kopen Katcef, says an open-ended weekly contest is a first for both venerable organizations.

“We’ve never done this before, but then again, no one living has been through anything like this before,” said Kopen Katcef, who is covering COVID-19 as a journalist and recently retired as an instructor at the University of Maryland’s Merrill College of Journalism. 

“SPJ and ACP have been bedrocks for journalism, but our world was changing even before COVID-19. This is a chance for us to learn how to be more nimble even after the crisis is over.”

Associated Collegiate Press supports collegiate media through education, training and recognition programs. It promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism as accepted and practiced by print, broadcast and digital media in the United States. Here’s how to become a member.

The Society of Professional Journalists promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a membergive to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.

CONTACT:
Patricia Gallagher Newberry, SPJ National President, 513-702-4065, pattinewberryspj@gmail.com
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org