Official site of the Illinois Journalism Education Association, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston

Illinois JEA

Digital Categories


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DESCRIPTIONS OF DIGITAL CATEGORIES
(OPEN TO ENTRIES FROM DIGITAL MEDIA ONLY, INCLUDING
THE ONLINE VERSIONS OF HYBRID PUBLICATIONS)


Best Multimedia Story Package

The coordinated use of different media (some combination of text, photos, illustrations, graphics, video, audio) to tell a story about something of interest to the publication’s audience.
The subject matter may be news, features or sports. The package should consist of at least one written item (with as many hyperlinks as appropriate) and one of the following: a video (at least 60 seconds) that complements the written item; an audio clip (at least 30 seconds) that complements the written item; a photo slideshow or gallery (at least six photos, with captions) that complements the written item; or an interactive graphic that complements the written item. The written item should be more substantial than just a lead-in to the video, audio, photo or graphic elements. The package will be judged on how well the different media work together to tell the story in a manner that draws on the rich capabilities of an online publication.

Best Video Story
A video that tells a story about something of interest to the publication’s audience.
The video may be published as a standalone item or as part of a larger multimedia story package. It should not exceed five minutes (under three minutes is encouraged). The video must contain b-roll as well as interviews with more than one person. It should have a title and end credits. Voiceover narration is not required. The subject matter may be news, features or sports. Background music is acceptable, but natural or ambient sound is preferred. Any music not in the public domain must be used with explicit permission from the copyright holder. The video must be available on the publication’s website or on a digital channel maintained by the publication, such as a YouTube or Vimeo channel.

Best Audio Podcast
An audio file that tells a story about something of interest to the publication’s audience OR that expresses an opinion (or opinions) about a topic of interest.
The audio file may be published as a standalone item or as part of a larger multimedia story package. If the audio tells a story, the subject matter may be news, features or sports. An audio story should not exceed five minutes (under three minutes is encouraged). Voiceover narration is not required. Interviews with at least two people must be included. All speakers should be named, and credits should be spoken at the end. Background music is acceptable, but natural or ambient sound should be used whenever possible. Any music not in the public domain must be used with explicit permission from the copyright holder. If the podcast is intended for expressing an opinion rather telling a story, the audio should not exceed five minutes if only one person speaks (under three minutes is encouraged). An example of an opinion podcast in which just one person speaks would be a review or a commentary. If the podcast consists of a debate or a roundtable discussion, the audio should not exceed 10 minutes. In the case of a review, excerpts or samples of the work under review should be included, but they must be brief enough to remain consistent with fair use. The podcast must be available on the publication’s website or on a digital platform maintained by the publication, such as a SoundCloud account.

Best Blogger
Online statements of opinion that express the writer’s viewpoint on a variety of topics.
The blog should appear on a regular basis. The subject matter does not have to concern the writer’s school, but the writer should make clear why the topics are relevant to the publication’s audience. The tone may be serious or humorous. The voice should be distinctive. If serious, the opinion must be logically argued and supported by attributed facts. If humorous, facts and logic still matter, but the writer has wide latitude for playfulness. For contest purposes, a single entry consists of the URLs of three blog posts by the same writer.

Best Website
A website evaluated on its performance as an online publication.
The site is judged on how well it makes use of the rich journalistic capabilities of being online. These opportunities include the ability to: (1) publish immediately and without the hindrance of space limitations; (2) interact with readers; (3) link to outside sources; (4) publish video, audio, photo slideshows, photo galleries, interactive graphics, blogs and other means of storytelling not available in print; (5) solicit and publish reader-generated content; (6) provide an interactive forum for discussion, debate and sustained conversation. The judging emphasis is on user friendliness, ease of navigation, incorporation of good design principles throughout the site (e.g., dominant visual elements, hierarchy, balance, contrast, flow), interactivity (e.g., comment functions, contact and submission forms, polls, quizzes, games), visual richness, media variety, content diversity, openness to alternative forms of storytelling, use of hyperlinks, coverage of breaking news, frequency of updates and efforts at audience engagement.
NOTE: “Best Website” is not the same as “Best Digital Publication.” The former is based on how well a website satisfies the criteria mentioned above. Any website is eligible for this category, including those that belong to hybrid publications. By contrast, “Best Digital Publication” is an award open solely to online-only publications. The award is based on the total points an online-only publication accumulates in all of the various categories for which it is eligible, including the 20 core categories. 

Official site of the Illinois Journalism Education Association, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston
Digital Categories