CCP Awards of Merit entry guidelines 2019

Published on February 7, 2019 by in News


The CCP Awards of Merit will be presented at the CCP convention to be held in Winnipeg, May 2 to 3, 2019. Below are the guidelines and a list of categories.

***New this year!! CCP will launch a new award for student journalism and is open to Canadian post-secondary students of all ages. The new award is co-sponsored by Faith Today, a national magazine for evangelical Christians, and by Love is Moving, a Christian magazine for young adults in Canada. See separate document for further details.

We will be using an online system to submit awards again this year.

Entries must be submitted in pdf format.

Please email each of your entries individually and indicate category, division, category number in the subject line along with the entry form in Word format to the following email address:

Please mail your entries (two copies each from the original publication) for the following categories: Print Publication Redesign and General Excellence categories in magazines and in newspapers. Please send by mail to: Canadian Church Press Awards, 8 MacDonald Avenue, Hamilton, ON L8P 4N5.

The early bird deadline for award entries is February 4. Publications who enter by this date are allowed one free entry.

The final deadline for award entries is February 25. Each entry must be from editions published in the calendar year 2018.

Entry Fees:

For circulation up to 9,999: $17.00 for each entry

For circulation 10,000 and over: $20.00 for each entry

For newsletters: $15.00 for each entry

A.C. Forrest Memorial Award: $15.00 per entry

*Please make cheques payable to Canadian Church Press and mail to the above address.

 A.C. Forrest Memorial Award – Entry Guidelines   

The A.C. Forrest Memorial Award is presented annually in honour of A.C. Forrest who was Editor of the United Church Observer for 23 years. It is presented for excellence in socially conscious religious journalism. The award is sponsored by the A.C. Forrest Award Committee of the United Church Observer Board of Directors together with the Canadian Church Press.

Entries should be based on current news events or trends that raise religious ethical questions. The judge will consider: quality of writing, depth of research, relevance and originality.

  1. Entries will be judged based on the criteria set out above. This award is open to print and online entries from member publications. Please note: only single articles eligible to enter (i.e., not editorial packages).
  1. Prizes will be awarded: $1,000 first place prize for circulation up to 9,999 and $1,000 first place prize for circulation above 10,000. There will be an honorable mention prize of $100 a piece in each subdivision. Entries will be judged by one judge appointed by the CCP.
  1. An entry form must be included with your entry. Please email one copy of your entry for the judge to consider. Submissions must have been published in 2018. A maximum of three entries per publication is allowed.
  1. Stories which have been entered for CCP awards are also eligible for the A.C. Forrest Memorial Award. It is an open competition.

General CCP Awards – Entry Guidelines

Entries must be from periodicals publishing two or more editions annually and your publication must have been a member of the Canadian Church Press within the last year. Some categories are based either on circulation or magazine/newspaper subdivisions. Ones with no subdivisions are open categories.

Member publications are allowed to enter a maximum of four entries into each category. There is no restriction on submitting the same item under different categories (e.g. a single photo could be entered in the appropriate photo category, photo spread and be part of a layout and design entry.)

Most categories are for original content. They may be staff-generated or first rights publication from a freelancer. The exception is in graphics, where stock graphics may be entered as part of front page or cover categories or in the layout and design categories.

Each entry must be accompanied by an appropriate entry form. Please complete these forms, stating your publication’s editorial purpose in 25 words or less, along with your publication’s intended audience. This will help the judges in assessing your entry. For author/artist/editor/designer, fill in only the blank applicable to this entry (e.g. writer for written material, editor for general excellence, designer for layout entries, etc.). This is where names are obtained for the certificates.

A first, second and third place may be given in each category; a publication may only win once per category. If the judges do not feel an award is merited, none will be given. If there are fewer than three entries in a category, no third place will be given.  


    • Magazine
    • Newspaper

Criteria: The successful editorial will take a well-argued stand on a current issue relevant to the readership and complex in its implications. If an editorial generated opposition and further debate, whether in letters to the editor or subsequent op-ed submissions, or even reaction in other

publications, please point these out to the judges.



Criteria: From the Editor unpacks and showcases the periodical’s leading articles and content, often with a personal anecdote and subject matter appropriate to the audience. The editorial letter also acts as an overview and serves to introduce the theme of that issue. Cogency, clarity, economy and flair are highlights of this category.


    1. NEWS STORY:
  • Magazine
  • Newspaper/Newsletter

Criteria: Winning submissions will be balanced, accurate, clearly structured and well written reports on events, issues and people of concern to the community of readers. If it’s news it should be new – information new to readers concerning recent or ongoing events.


  • Magazine
  • Newspaper

Criteria: This category is reserved for reporting of complex news, where events and statements have accumulated over time. Here, in addition to original reporting of previously unknown facts, stories will be judged on their ability to put events and statements into context. Submissions may include multiple stories, examples of team reporting, use of graphics and multi-media. A wide range of sources and quotes are necessary. Deadline writing will be preferred. Assembling a package of material from multiple sources on the day or within days of events is a greater challenge than doing the same thing over a month.


    1. FEATURES (Nonfiction):
  • Magazine
  • Newspaper/Newsletter

Criteria: A feature is a single story of greater length than a news story which examines issues, trends, debates or theories current in the public imagination. Compelling writing, a wide range of sources, comprehensiveness and originality will be considered.



Criteria: Opinion writing will be judged on its ability to argue convincingly for a clear point of view without denigrating, belittling or ignoring the opposition. The writer must make the case, implicitly or explicitly, that the opinion being expressed matters.


  1. COLUMN:

*Submit examples from three issues either in print, online or both by one author as a single entry.

    • Magazine
    • Newspaper

Criteria: Successful columns build a relationship with readers. Strong opinions are valued, but only if they connect with a readership. If a columnist has generated mail, for or against, indicate how often and how heated.



*Submit examples from three issues as a single entry.

Criteria: Space set aside within a publication to address a common theme. The section must consist of more than a single columnist’s regular submissions on a subject. It should include reporting, opinions, graphics, event listings or other features relevant to the intended sub-group.


Criteria: Stories in this category aid readers to engage with specific issues or in specific activities by providing background information, contact names and organizations, phone numbers, websites and/or strategies.

  1. MEDIA REVIEW (Books, film, etc.):

Criteria: Primarily book and movie reviews, though this category may include game, magazine, web site or even festival reviews. Reviewers should be objective, informed observers who make reasonable arguments for their assessment of the work in question. Reviews should be of current works and the best should anchor the review to a theological or religious reflection or point to a broader truth.


Criteria: Whether the subject is Christian ethics or church teaching, the successful entry will include concrete, lived experience.


Criteria: Cogent, forthright, plain-language interpretations of biblical texts are essential. Preference will go to those who can also communicate the historical circumstances of either the composition of the text or the events which it describes. Relevance to the everyday lives of readers is essential. 

  • Circulation of up to 9,999:
  • Circulation above 10,000:

Criteria: The subject’s personal experience reveals lessons learned and shared insights from experience. The writing should be intelligent, lively, diverse, engaging, and preferably – but not always – inviting a reply. 


Criteria: This category is reserved for question and answer format stories. Probing but brief questions should elicit surprising or insightful answers from the interview subject. Readers should come away feeling they have come close to someone remarkable – not the interviewer. 


Criteria: This category involves extraordinary reporting on one person’s life. Weight will be given to profiles of people who for reasons of notoriety or obscurity prove to be difficult subjects. Multiple sources and voices are preferred. 


Criteria: Display writing should be judged on the ability of a title and deck (and possibly also captions and callouts) to work together to draw the reader into the article proper, while a reading of the article itself will determine how accurate and relevant the display writing ultimately was.

    1. HUMOUR:
  • Article:
  • Cartoon:

Criteria: While humour is subjective, the article or cartoon submission should be tasteful and use humour to anchor a theological or religious reflection or point to a broader truth.



This is not an award for use of stock photography. Any photos that form an element in a graphic design must be first time periodical publication. The graphic must inform the reader in ways that ordinary prose cannot. Stock graphics may be entered as part of front page or cover categories or in the layout and design categories. 

    1. NEWS PHOTO:
    • Magazine


Criteria: The winning photo should capture a critical moment or critical personality in the story which it accompanies, informing readers of something they would not otherwise know. Photos will be judged on the information conveyed. For this category we are looking for the reporters’ craft. Cutline information should be complete.


  • Magazine
  • Criteria: The winning photo will illustrate an idea or theme that directs the reader into the text. It will effectively convey the concept or theme behind a story, series or issue. Design, composition, lighting, concept and execution will be the criteria for judging.



  • Magazine
  • Newspaper

Criteria: The winning essay will consist of at least four photos up to a maximum of 20 presented either on-line or on page. Photos will constitute the primary means of telling the story, with only enough text to place them in context. Photo reporting will be judged on journalistic merits of newsworthiness, enterprise and insight.


  • Magazine
  • Newspaper

Criteria: The word “original” is the key to this category. The ability to illustrate an idea or theme that directs the reader into the text will be key.


  • Magazine, circulation of up to 9,999
  • Magazine, circulation above 10,000
  • Newspaper

Criteria: An effective and attractive design will combine text, typography, photography or illustration to draw the reader into the publication. It should be compelling without misrepresenting or distorting the content inside.



    • Magazine, circulation of up to 9,999
      Magazine, circulation above 10,000
    • Newspaper

Criteria: Judges will look at overall design, taking into account the complexity of the material and the number of elements the page designer must bring together. An engaging and balanced appearance, effective and captivating headlines and cut lines, and design that serves the content will win this category.


  • Magazine, circulation of up to 9,999
  • Magazine, circulation above 10,000
  • Newspaper

Criteria: A consistent design from first page to last which uses all the designers’ tools from typography to illustration to photography to demonstrate the mission of the publication.



Criteria: Award given to a publication that has made significant improvements in graphics, photography, page design, reader impact and overall appearance. Submit copies of any three issues from the new design and one issue from the former design.





Criteria: This award is for the publisher or organization that makes the best use of social media storytelling to meet the audience needs. Entries will be evaluated on graphic branding, content strategy, conversations generated (comments, tweets, shared links) and audience engagement (page/video views and brand activations). Entries can be submitted on single or multiple social channels and can include sponsored campaigns.



Criteria: This is a design category that seeks to recognize the ability of a website to get its content to readers quickly, efficiently and easily. The award goes to a website that looks appealing, is viewable and accessible on all devices, loads quickly, with none of the content hidden in awkward or mysterious categories. Intuitive navigation and organization, including effective use of menus, navigation bar and site map, combined with a clean, attractive layout will factor in judging.



Criteria: Judges will look for an effective and attractive design; well-integrated content; user-friendliness; clear instructions; strong quality of graphics, content and writing; high searchability; social networking capabilities; and overall improvement of site. Provide URL of new homepage and PDF screen-capture from the former design.



*You must submit and mail two sets each of three consecutive issues for magazine, national and regional newspapers)

Criteria: overall quality of the publication and appropriateness to its audience, including variety and quality of editorial content, design, photography, graphics and typography.



Criteria: intelligent, lively, diverse, engaging and inviting reply.



Denominational or ecumenical general-interest newspaper

Criteria: intelligent, lively, diverse, engaging and inviting reply.

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