2018 First Amendment Awards Contest Call for Entries–Enter Today!


Who may enter: Broadcast and print/online journalists in Texas or Oklahoma, or whose work is used by news organizations in those An entrant does not have to be a member of SPJ.

  • Received-by deadline: 1/8/2018–entry fee: $35; After 1/ 8—fee $45; No entries accepted after 1/23
  • Entry form: Click Here
  • Entries must have aired or been published in 2017 and are grouped for judging based on market size (broadcast) and circulation (print/online). Stories from an Internet-only news outlet will be judged in the over 100,000 circulation
  • Categories span six divisions:
    • B1broadcast markets Houston, Fort Worth-Dallas, Oklahoma City
    • B2all other broadcast markets
    • P1print/online over 100,000 circulation (entries from Internet-only news outlets go here
    • P2—print/online under 100,000 circulation
    • CJ—print/online under 10,000: *Community Journalism
    • SW—all circulations: *Student Work/Student Media; *Student Work/Professional Media

A story/story package may NOT be entered in more than one category. An entry is limited to one story except for those marked with an *, which are limited to five stories for a series of work. Documentation may attest to persistence, the public service performed or to clarify.  Judges may move a story to a category deemed more appropriate except as noted.

The categories:

  • Defending the Disadvantaged Story that illustrates problems of the powerless in society.
  • General News News story or feature that uses public records.
  • General News, Spanish language News story or feature written in Spanish that uses public records.
  • Environmental News Story with an environmental angle that uses public records.
  • *Investigative In-depth story or series that uses public records.
  • *Investigative, Spanish language In-depth story or series written in Spanish that uses public records.
  •  Business News Story that uses business or public records to report on nongovernmental entities.
  • Opinion or Commentary Editorial or column on open records/open government issues.
  • Reporting on Open Government Story focusing on open government/freedom of information issues.
  • *Community Journalism For print publications under 10,000 circulation: Exemplary work — news, feature, investigative, opinion — involving public records or open government.
  • *Student Work/Student Media Journalism in any form published in student media — investigative, general news, feature, opinion — that makes excellent use of public records or examines the issues of open records/open government.
  • *Student Work/Professional Media Student journalism published in a professional media– investigative, general news, feature, opinion — that makes excellent use of public records or examines the issues of open records/open government.

Open Doors Award [No entry fee; recipient chosen by Fort Worth SPJ board] Celebrates an individual or organization’s body of work in defending the people’s right to open government and open records. A narrative may be submitted (two typed pages maximum) in support of a worthy candidate. Winner need not be in the media. E-mail suggested recipients and pertinent reasoning to kejones.university@gmail.com by Feb. 15, 2018.


Awards will be presented April 27, 2018, at the First Amendment Awards & Scholarship Banquet, which will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Arlington, Texas.