2022 Dart Award Entry Guidelines

We will open up for submissions on December 15, 2021. The deadline for submissions is January 26, 2022 at 5:00 pm EST.


The Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma recognize exemplary journalism about the impact of violence, crime, disaster and other traumatic events on individuals, families and communities. Entries should focus on the experience of victims and survivors as well as contribute to public understanding of trauma.

The Dart Awards honor North American newspaper, magazine, online, audio, television, video and multimedia journalism that goes beyond the ordinary in reporting on trauma. They are team prizes, reflecting the range of contributors and elements that shape the entry. Past winners include some of the world’s best-known news organizations as well as small local and community outlets. 

The Dart Awards traditionally honor two winning teams, each receiving a cash prize of $5,000. The judging committee also awards honorable mentions and special citations at its discretion. Honorees will be announced in late-April, 2022.


Eligibility

The Dart Awards competition is open to news organizations and independent journalists. All entries must have been originally  published, aired or broadcast between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 by news outlets based in North America or U.S. territories.

There is a maximum of two entries per newspaper, magazine, website, television station, radio station, podcast platform or independent journalist. If more than two entries are submitted by the same entity, the Dart Center will determine the two entries to consider. We welcome submissions from freelancers, but we encourage freelancer entries to be accompanied by a letter of support from the news outlet that published, aired or broadcast the work.

Audio, television and documentary entries including series may not exceed 60 minutes in length. If you are entering a podcast series, the submission should include one or more episodes that do not exceed 60 minutes in total.

Print or online entries must be limited to six pieces, including video/multimedia, text and photo galleries. Visual stories must have been published by a news outlet to be eligible. If your entry contains more than six stories, please select no more than six to serve as your entry.

Standalone blog posts; books; documentaries and other entries exceeding 60 minutes are not eligible

Entries that were published or broadcast in languages other than English are eligible, however they must be accompanied by a full translation, transcript or subtitles in English.

Entries will not be accepted by full-time employees of Columbia Journalism School, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma or Dart Center affiliates.


AWARD CRITERIA

  • Exhibit the highest standards of journalistic excellence.

  • Portray victims and survivors of trauma with sensitivity and insight.

  • Inform readers about the ways individuals react to and cope with emotional trauma.

  • Avoid sensationalism, melodrama and portrayal of victims as tragic or pathetic.

  • Emphasize victims’ and survivors’ experience rather than the traumatic event itself.


SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Entries must be submitted via the online entry form, and must include all required materials as described below. Only complete entries will be considered.

1) Completed online entry form and electronic sign off of release waiver by lead reporter, news director, project director, executive editor or project supervisor. 

2) One to two-page cover letter, in letter format, from the lead reporter of the entry that addresses:

  • How the topic was first encountered and pursued;

  • Particular reporting challenges, or other special circumstances;

  • Notable reader response or impact from the work;

  • If a correction or clarification has been run, or if anyone has challenged the story’s accuracy. (Please explain and include documentation of the situation.)

3) One page letter of support from the lead editor, chief producer or project supervisor.

4) Full entry please follow the instructions below pertaining to your entry’s medium

  • Newspaper entries: PDF of the entry exactly as it appeared in the newspaper (broadsheets) AND live url(s) to the entry.

  • Magazine entries: PDF of the entry as it appeared in the magazine AND live url(s) to the entry.

  • Newspaper and magazine websites and online-only publications: Live url(s) to the entry.

  • Radio or podcast entries: .mp3 or .wav file and/or live url(s) to the entry hosted on your site, or on a third-party website such as Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts (US store), DropBox or Google Drive. Total running time may not exceed 60 minutes. Television, film and video: Live url(s) to the entry hosted on your site, or on a third-party website such as Vimeo, YouTube, DropBox or Google Drive. Total running time may not exceed 60 minutes.

  • Multimedia: For entries that include elements from more than one of the above, please include live url(s) and relevant media files.

No more than six pieces from any variety of media may be submitted for any one entry. If you are submitting a series that contains more than six stories, you must choose six to represent your entry.

Custom cuts will not be accepted. Please submit your work as it was originally published or broadcasted.

All entries must be submitted online. If a file exceeds 24 MB, it  is too large to upload to our online entry form. In that case, please upload your file to a third-party website such as Vimeo, YouTube, SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts (US store), DropBox or Google Drive and include the link in the “Live URL” field.

 

JUDGING

Dart Awards judging is a two-tier process. First-round judges are a combination of distinguished journalists, journalism educators, and news leaders with expertise across the media spectrum. The final judging committee is interdisciplinary and includes a Columbia Journalism School faculty member, a past Dart Award winner and the incoming President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, who is always a trauma clinician.

The final judging committee will select two Dart Award winners, and award special citations and honorable mentions at its discretion.


TEAM PRIZE

Two awards of $5,000 will be made to the winning teams. Team members entitled to share in the prize include reporters, photographers, copy editors, graphic artists and editors who served as team leaders, as well as any other staff members who assisted in the creation of the entry and are named on the online entry form. The executive editor, producer or other lead manager shall determine how the prize money is divided.


ENTRY FEE

There is a $50 entry fee for the Dart Awards. News organizations that submit two entries are expected to pay two $50 entry fees. 

If you are a freelance journalist entering independently from the publishing news outlet, you may pay a  reduced entry fee of $25. If this amount is prohibitive, you may request a fee waiver by emailing [email protected].


DEADLINE

Entries must be submitted through the online application system by Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at 5:00 pm EST. No late entries will be accepted. No exceptions.

If you have additional questions, please email [email protected]