National Newspaper Awards seeks new judges

The National Newspaper Awards is seeking new judges for the 2021 competition, and inviting applications from interested and qualified individuals inside and outside of journalism.

The National Newspaper Awards is one of Canada’s most important and prestigious journalism awards programs. Established in 1949 to encourage excellence and reward achievement in Canadian daily newspaper journalism, the contest is also open to news agencies and other Canadian organizations that publish original content at least five days a week. This includes digital publications and community newspapers, but does not include organizations whose primary purpose is broadcasting or magazine publishing.

Each year we appoint 66 judges to review the entries and choose winners and finalists in 22 categories. Judges on each three-person panel review entries independently and make individual selections through two or three rounds to develop a shortlist, then come together to make final decisions as a group. Judging takes place from late January through mid-March. Most work is done online, but final decisions are made by teleconference or video conference.

The number of entries varies from category to category. Photo categories typically have between 30 and 100 submissions. Reporting/writing categories range from a dozen entries to about 75; many non-photo categories allow a few pieces of work to be submitted in an individual entry.

Judging is done on a voluntary basis, without financial compensation but with the intrinsic value of making an important contribution to journalistic excellence in Canada.

We try to build a diverse group each year comprising veteran judges and newcomers representing all regions of Canada and with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, interests and areas of expertise. We want our judging panels to reflect Canada’s cultural, gender and geographic diversity, and we are eager to receive applications from individuals who bring many different perspectives and experiences.

While most judges in the past have worked in journalism, that is not an absolute requirement. However, prospective judges must have attributes or experiences that would make their judgments credible.

These are the requirements to serve as an NNA judge:

  1. Except in the four photo categories, judges must be functionally bilingual. Fluency in both languages is not essential, but judges must be able to comprehend written and spoken French and English. Bilingualism is not a requirement in the photo categories.
  2. Judges cannot work for, supply work to or have a business relationship with any organization eligible to enter the competition at any time during 2021 or the first quarter of 2022. Judges may, however, work for news organizations that are not eligible to enter the contest, including broadcast outlets and magazines.
  3. Judges must be available to review entered work and complete the judging process between late January and mid-March.
  4. Judges must agree to maintain confidentiality on all aspects of the judging process, including entries and deliberations, at all times, even after finalists and winners are announced.

If you meet the requirements and are interested in being added to our judging pool, please send the following information to Paul Woods, Executive Director,

  • Your name and contact information, including telephone number and email address
  • A brief outline of your background, in particular any information you believe makes you qualified to review and judge journalistic endeavours