Dart Award Entry Guidelines

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-related issues.

The Dart Awards recognize North American newspaper, magazine, online, radio, television, video and multimedia journalism that goes beyond the ordinary in reporting on trauma. Entries may include breaking news; enterprise reporting; single stories; packages of coverage on a single event; cohesive series; local, regional or national television coverage; long-form documentary and online multimedia packages.

The Dart Awards are team prizes, reflecting all of the elements that shape the entry. Entries will be judged as a total package.

Dart Award-winning teams receive a cash prize of $5,000. Winners, honorable mentions and finalists will be announced by April 15, 2020.

Submissions are accepted in the following categories:

  • Newspapers and newspaper websites
  • Magazines and magazine websites
  • Online-only news publications
  • Network and nationally distributed cable programs
  • Small, medium and major market television stations
  • Independent productions
  • Local and national radio
  • Web-based productions


The Dart Awards competition is open to news organizations and independent journalists across North America and U.S. territories. All entries must have been published, aired or broadcast from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

There is a maximum of two entries per newspaper, magazine, website, television station, radio station or independent journalist. If more than two entries are submitted, the Dart Center team will decide which entries to consider. We welcome submissions by freelancers of their own published work, but we encourage freelancers to submit jointly with the publishing or broadcasting news organization whenever possible. 

Entries that were published or broadcast in languages other than English are eligible, however they must be accompanied by a complete translation or transcript in English or with English subtitles. Audio, television or documentary entries (including series) may not exceed 60 minutes in length. If you are submitting a podcast, you must choose episodes that total 60 minutes or less to represent your series. Print or online entries that are larger packages (not single stories) must be limited to six pieces (including video/multimedia, text, photo slideshows). If the series contains more than six stories, you must choose six to represent your entry.

Any significant challenge to honesty, accuracy or fairness of an entry, such as published letters, corrections, retractions as well as responses by the newspaper or website, should be included with the entry. Standalone, individual blogs; documentaries over 60 minutes; and books are not eligible. Entries will not be accepted by full-time employees of Columbia Journalism School, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma or Dart Center satellite offices.


Two awards of $5,000 will be made to the winning teams for division among those who contributed to the winning entry. Division shall be according to each team member’s contribution to the winning entry as determined by the executive editor, producer or other responsible lead manager.

Team Members

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 judging panel is comprised of distinguished journalists, a victim/survivor advocate or similar representative and the president-elect of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Finalists are determined by judging committees comprised of journalists, media experts and Dart Center staff.

Judges will select two Dart Award winners. Judges may consider diversity of media formats in determining winners.

Entries should:

  • 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.


There is a $50 entry fee for the Dart Awards. News organizations that submit more than one entry (two is the maximum) must pay the $50 entry fee for each entry submitted. (In exceptional circumstances a fee waiver may be granted at the discretion of the Dart Awards director. To request a waiver email [email protected])

Submission Requirements

Proper submission of the entry is essential. Entries must be submitted via the online entry form and include all required materials. If the entry is not submitted as per the requirements, it will not be considered. All entries must include:

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

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

  • How the topic was first encountered and how it was 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) Letter of support from the lead editor, chief producer or project supervisor.

4) Full entry (Please follow the instructions below that correspond to the category of your entry):

  • Newspaper entries: PDF of the full entry (exactly as it appeared in the newspaper) AND live url(s) to the full entry.
  • Magazine entries: PDF of the full entry AND live url(s) to the full entry.
  • Newspaper and magazine websites and online-only publications: Live url(s) to the full entry.
  • Radio: .mp3 file format and/or live url(s) to the full entry. Running time of entry may not exceed 60 minutes.
  • Television, film and video: .mov file format and/or live url(s) to the full entry. Running time of entry may not exceed 60 minutes.
  • Multimedia: Live url(s) to the full entry.

For entries that include elements from more than one of the above categories, please follow the instructions corresponding to each relevant category. 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.

All entries must be submitted online. However, if the electronic file size exceeds 24 MB, it should be submitted via WeTransfer or Dropbox to [email protected]. If the electronic file size exceeds 2 GB, submissions may be sent on a thumb drive via regular mail or express post to:

Kate Black, Dart Awards​
Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma
Columbia Journalism School 
2950 Broadway, Room 507 

New York, NY 10027

There is a $50 entry fee, which may be paid by credit card or check. In exceptional circumstances a fee waiver may be granted at the discretion of the Dart Awards director; to request a waiver email [email protected].


Entries must be submitted through the online application system. The deadline for entries -- January 30, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST -- has passed.

For more information, email [email protected],