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Please follow the rules below to ensure that your entry is accepted. Entries that do not conform to these rules may be disqualified. In addition, be sure to follow the specific requirements for each category found in the category descriptions.

Eligibility: All entries must have been published originally, whether in print or online, in 2021 (unless otherwise specified). All entries must be submitted in English. The work of a journalist or team can be entered in more than one category but will be selected as a winner in no more than one. The work of both employees and freelance contributors is eligible.

Deadline: All entries must be submitted by 11:59pm EST Friday, February 4, 2022. 

Team Entries: All awards categories accept team entries except the Mike Royko Award for Commentary and Column Writing. 

Multiple Entries: A news organization can submit up to three entries in each category. Individual journalists may self-enter in the same category however, even if their organization submits three entries to that category.

Reprint Rights: Reprint rights are granted to NLA by virtue of entry in this contest.

Entry Format: If your entry is available online, please submit your piece via the URL(s). If there are multiple components to your story, you may submit an accompanying PDF that details the instructions for how those URLs should be viewed/accessed (order, "only count this part of the column," etc.). If you would prefer to submit your entry via PDF, we ask that you do so in a clear, easily legible format, with all components clearly labeled. Your nominating letter (optional) should be uploaded as a PDF.

If uploading via PDF, you should submit one PDF file that contains the entire entry and then another PDF file that contains the optional nominating letter. You may submit multiple PDFs if the entry is large. Each article must include its published date and be formatted for easy readability. A sidebar can be submitted as a separate article to be counted toward the maximum articles allowed per category. If the articles are part of a series, then only submit the articles that will be judged up to the maximum allowed per category. The articles can be prefaced with the original play of the articles.

If you are entering via URL and there is a paywall, then use the "paywall instructions" box in the entry submission form to upload instructions for access. The URL needs to be available as a link on the NLA website if it is a winning entry.

Any entry including images should have a JPEG file type and should have a caption. To establish context, PDFs and/or links to relevant web pages must be included in the entry. It's understood that this supporting material might include photographs that are not part of the entry. You may also enter a URL instead of uploading images. All video entries should be entered via URL. Please refer to the categories page for more specific rules.

For Innovator of the Year entries: Multimedia packages containing elements, such as text, video and graphics, should be entered via their URLs. No PDF formatting is required.

No minimum number of articles/digital components is required in each category, but there is a maximum number allowed that is dependent on the category. Please see the specific rules under each category for further instructions.

Enter online: Nomination letters (optional) and submission of entries must be completed online. Click here to setup an account for your organization and start entering. Please check to see if your organization has an account before registering, as each organization should only have one account for entering submissions. (Note: if you are an NLA member, this is not the same account you use to access the NLA membership portal.) All entries must be submitted by 11:59pm EST Friday, February 4, 2022. No late entries will be accepted.

Entrant Type/Fees: There is a nonrefundable handling fee of $75 per entry, except for the News Leader of the Year category

Support: All questions should be emailed to contact@newsleaders.org.