The deadline for the 2016 MJA awards is 7pm on Thursday, April 21. Please do not expect an extension — you will be disappointed.
However if you need a little longer to get PDFs and other supporting material across to us, we may be able to accept late documentation, but only if you have submitted your entry via the website before the deadline.
In addition to questions about the broadcast category, we have also had some queries about the new judging system and who can enter the Editor of the Year and Charity Writer awards.
In the past, the shortlist and winner in each category has been chosen by a panel of three judges. However, this year, each judging panel will be asked to draw up a shortlist and then all the judges who are able to attend the judging meeting will vote on the winners in each category.
Every judge will see every entry and if they feel an entry should have been shortlisted they can put their case at the judging meeting. Judges will also be given the opportunity to appeal any decisions made by their own short-listing panel. Our aim is to make each panel as representative as possible, with the inclusion of two judges with a background in journalism (one with experience of producing material for a general audience, and one with experience of media for a specialist audience). The third judge will have a background in health, journalism or both.
To clarify, this award is open to the editors of health sections within publications — such as the health pages of newspapers and magazines — as well as health titles. The editors of radio and television programmes are also eligible.
We know some editors are bashful about entering, or very time-pressured, so don’t forget that individual members may also enter an editor for this award. So if you work for a great editor, as a staffer or freelance, why not suggest you lodge an entry on their behalf? But don’t forget, you and your editor will need to agree which edition to enter and provide a supporting statement.
The judges will be looking for proof of continuing personal and professional success, underpinned by relevant commercial data such as circulation figures and/or website traffic, campaigns, brand awareness and media profile. You might want to mention how well the editor understands their audience, the challenges they face and the wider impact their publication, health pages or programme has had.
No, this is not, as some wags have suggested a commentary on miserly fees.
We know that many freelance MJA members now have portfolio careers where they combine journalism with writing copy for charity publications, reports and websites as well as media training and other communications work. It’s also a nudge to charities to highlight the fact that it’s worth commissioning an experienced journalist.
If you have produced media materials for a charity, why not enter — or if you have a favourite charity that produces crisp copy or memorable media packages, why not offer to enter someone on their behalf?
And a reminder for broadcasters: You can enter TV programmes, items within TV programmes (for example, news items), radio programmes and items within radio programmes, podcasts, and items on YouTube or other on-line platforms like websites.
We recognise these entries will often be team efforts. But our awards are for our members and so entries need to be in one name. What you do with the trophy and the cheque is up to you. So please do enter if you’re a presenter, or a producer, or a producer/director.