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Newhouse School establishes Mirror Awards to honor excellence in media industry reporting
Newhouse School establishes Mirror Awards to honor excellence in media industry reportingAugust 24, 2006Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University has established the Mirror Awards to recognize excellence in media industry reporting. The awards honor reporters, editors and teams of writers who hold a mirror to their own industry for the public’s benefit. Honorees will be recognized for news judgment and command of craft in reporting, analysis and commentary on developments in the media industry and its role in the economy, culture and democracy.
The Mirror Awards are open to anyone who conducts reporting, commentary or criticism of the media industries–television, newspaper, magazine, radio, advertising, public relations, the Internet and other forms of content-rich digital communications–in a format intended for a mass audience. The first Mirror Awards ceremony will take place in New York City in late spring 2007. The deadline for entries, formally announced at a later date, will be in mid-January.
“Public support for the mass media is essential if the media are to retain their First Amendment freedoms in these challenging times. The more the public knows about how and why the media function as they do, the more likely it is that public support can be built and maintained,” says Newhouse Dean David Rubin. “These awards are meant to recognize robust reporting about the media for both professional and lay audiences. Such reporting is every bit as essential to the marketplace of ideas as coverage of government, yet it is often overlooked in the mix. We at the Newhouse School intend to correct that with the Mirror Awards.”
Eligible work will consist of print, broadcast and online editorial content–including material published in consumer and trade magazines; local and national newspapers; local, national or syndicated radio and television features and programs; and online local, national or syndicated radio and television features and programs; and online publications, blogs and websites. The work must have been published or broadcast between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2006.
The subject matter of entries should focus on the business, people, processes and regulation involved in the development or distribution of news and entertainment content. Television or film reviews, scripts or recordings of performances are not eligible. Entries will be evaluated based on three criteria:
Excellence of craft: What is the overall quality of the writing and newsgathering that go into the piece? This includes careful attention to sourcing.
Framing of the issue: Does the author use the story to provide a broader perspective on the media and its role in society?
Appropriateness for the intended audience: Does the author use language and examples that will make sense to his or her audience? It is expected, for example, that articles published for a trade audience will be somewhat more technical in tone than those for consumer magazines.
The Mirror Awards will be given for work that is noteworthy for revealing the business side of the media industry in the following categories: individual, editors or teams of writers, and capstone.
Best Single Article: A carefully researched, in-depth print or online article or audio or video feature. The article may include sidebars and graphics, if relevant. Regular features/columns, opinion pieces or film/television reviews should not be entered.
Best Coverage of Breaking Industry News: Breaking or timely coverage of an event or issue of importance to the industry. (This is the category for “scoops.”) Entries can be one article or a series of articles that cross platforms. Analysis, regularly occurring features/columns or profiles should not be entered.
Best Profile: Any carefully researched and sourced piece dealing with a single person or organization that is noteworthy in the media industries. Excerpts from “three dot columns”/social notebook features or excerpts from books (unless the book was originally published in serial form in a periodical) should not be entered.
Best Subject-Related Series: Any carefully researched series of two or more in-depth articles or broadcast features, along with related sidebars, graphics and other-media support (for example: companion website or downloadable podcasts). Pieces should be conceived and promoted as a unified whole. Articles may appear in either a single issue or broadcast, or in different issues or broadcasts. Bonus issues or supplements are eligible. Series of regularly featured departments/columns, sets of articles from different authors or issues that have been assembled after the fact or Web/other “aggregates” that do not involve original reporting should not be entered.
Best Commentary: Two to four pieces that demonstrate the writer’s overall knowledge of the issues, analytic skills and unique voice. Submissions may address a single subject or may cover a variety of subjects and may be originally published in any format: print, website, blog or broadcast. This is the category for opinion, humor, columnists, etc.
EDITORS OR TEAMS OF WRITERS
Excellence in Media Information Services: Recognizes the editors of aggregation, headline and other such services in any medium: online, fax, web-based, etc. This award recognizes the fact that compiling, prioritizing, sifting, distilling and agenda setting are important editorial functions, essential services to readers/users and increasingly lucrative business models. Original pieces of reporting, full magazines or newspapers should not be entered.
Overall Excellence: Recognizes superior news judgment, reporting and presentation over the contest period. Entries must include three full copies of publication, broadcast or website on disk. This award recognizes programs or publications that contribute to the public’s understanding in a uniquely effective way.
Lifetime Achievement: Open to any individual in an organization by nomination only. This is an occasional award given to a reporter, editor or publisher who has made distinct, consistent, long-term and unique contributions to the public’s understanding of the media.