Winning entries exhibit the highest quality and/or most newsworthiness. Many judges have previously noted the difficulty in selection, i.e. although contestants may not have won a category, it reflects the quality of entries in that category more than the lack of quality among the entries.
Winning entries receive certificates for first, second, third or honorable mention in each of the individual categories. There may be more ties and/or multiple honorable mentions, depending on the judge’s review. Conversely, judges may decide to not award a category if s/he determines no entries deserved an award. ACMA requests all entries of merit earn an award.
Independent observations from someone who has nothing to gain or lose from being blatantly honest helps Arkansas’ student media practitioners consider what they can do to improve their skills upon entering a shrinking job market. While ACMA does not request a thesis, a sentence or two means a lot to student journalists. If judges feel constrained by time, we request at least a two-sentence critique for each category’s winners.
Judges may use whatever criteria they determine necessary for the individual categories scored. They may use the sample forms below, modify them or use a different scoring rubric they consider fair. Some type of scoring rubric should be submitted with the General Excellence Awards so students will understand how they were judged.
Sample Judging Forms