Entry Rules

(Updated Oct. 13, 2021)

  1. All entries must have been published or broadcast for the first time during the 2021 calendar year. All entries must be submitted online.

  2. Payment may be submitted online by credit card in the amount of the total entry fee to be judged. If you require an invoice, please send an email to and reference the entry name and amount as well as the email of the person to receive the invoice. Checks should be made payable to the Association of Health Care Journalists. Payment must be received by the deadline for an entry to be considered.

  3. All entries must be accompanied by a completed questionnaire as part of the online entry process.

  4. All entries – print, online, television and radio – must be uploaded onto the contest site per instructions. By entering this contest, you are confirming that the entries represent the stories as originally published or aired.

  5. A maximum of three individuals may be named on the entry, one of whom must be listed as the lead writer. If there are more than three significant contributors to the work, the entry should be submitted in the name of the news organization. However, the beat reporting category is an individual award and should carry only one name.

  6. Number of stories per entry: Generally, only one story per entry is allowed. However, a maximum of four pieces – such as a main bar and up to three side bars on the same topic that ran on the same day – may be submitted in each entry.

    If the work is a series, up to five articles may be submitted if the work is a series. A logo is no longer required as the definition of a series. But, for a submission to be considered a series, it must be clear to the judges that the stories are on the same topic, institution or person.

    For the audio category, the applicant can submit 1-5 related audio pieces in one audio file not to exceed 30 minutes in length.

  7. Individual newsletter articles should be submitted in the trade publications category. Entire newsletters are not eligible for submission.

  8. Newspaper circulation should reflect the day of the week in which the work appears. If the work includes a series of stories, the size category selected for entry should reflect the highest circulation day included in the series. Applicants employed by large category outlets need to enter in the large category even if the entered work appears in a smaller outlet affiliated with the employer. "Small" outlets are defined as falling below the following circulation limits and as not being regional or national outlets that specialize in coverage of health care or science. Stories published in outlets that are above the circulation limits OR are regional or national outlets that specialize in coverage of health or science should be entered in the “large” divisions.

    For the audio reporting category, “Small” applies to work edited and distributed by local radio stations, in a regional radio network, or by independent freelancers.

  9. Entries submitted on DVDs or CDs cannot be returned.

  10. Reporters may submit more than one entry in each category. However each specific article or series can be entered in only one category. The exception: If you’re entering the Beat Reporting category, you may also submit individual pieces that you’ve entered in that category in other categories.

  11. If two organizations collaborate on a story or project, they also should coordinate their entry so that only one version of that entry is received. Any collaboration between large and small outlets – including editing help, simultaneous or near-simultaneous publishing, or other shared resources – means an entry must be entered in large.

  12. Judges and AHCJ staff may disqualify any entry that does not adhere to the rules and may move entries among categories.

  13. The AHCJ board reserves the right not to award a prize if a category attracts fewer than 15 entries. In such a case, entry fees will be refunded, but entries will not be returned.

  14. Contest screeners/judges are allowed to enter the contest, but will not serve as judges in their own categories. AHCJ board members, employees and contest committee members are not eligible to enter. Work that was edited or produced by an AHCJ board or contest committee member may be entered in the contest, but the board or committee member may not be involved in selecting works to be entered or in preparing the entry, and they may not share in any prizes. AHCJ board and contest committee members may not serve as judges.

  15. Entries originally published in languages other than English are allowed. Applicants must upload an accurate translation, along with a letter from the news outlet certifying the translation's accuracy and the name and contact information of the translator.

  16. AHCJ will maintain copies of all entries. Entries may be used in group newsletters, journals, compilations or other educational efforts. They also may appear on AHCJ's website.

  17. Joint collaborations between trade and other types of publications cannot be entered in trade.

  18. Entries to the ‘student’ category must have been produced by students in undergraduate or graduate programs, and published in student-led or professional outlets. Work a student did as part of an internship is eligible, unless the student shared a byline with a professional colleague.

  19. Audio Reporting rules:
    • Audio entries should be uploaded in .MP3 or .WAV format.

    • Submit by uploading a single audio file containing 1-5 audio pieces.

    • The combined length of all pieces cannot exceed 30 minutes.

    • Audio pieces may only be edited for time (for example, you may submit a select portion of a longer podcast episode, so as not to exceed the 30-minute limit) or to remove breaks (commercials, underwriting, station identification or newscasts) in a longer story, interview, or podcast episode.

    • Please explain in the written questionnaire of your entry any edits you have made, and why.  (EXAMPLE: Explain that you are submitting a 20-minute portion of a 40-minute podcast)

    • Please insert a brief silence (3 seconds) between audio pieces in the audio file, or as a placeholder to indicate where audio was edited for time or to remove breaks.

    • No other kinds of edits may be made. Submitted audio should be “as heard” on the original broadcast or podcast episode release.

    • Voice-overs or narratives are permitted only if they were part of the original piece.

    • Entrants may provide links to web pages housing the original radio stories or podcast episodes that include online text, photos or graphics, but judging will primarily focus on the submitted audio entry.

  20. Our FAQ page addresses many questions so please consult that. For technical questions, contact the AHCJ office at 573-884-5606.