Rules of entry

Before you enter the Awards for Excellence, make sure you are eligible by reading our criteria below.


Category awards are open to:

Students who are studying (or have studied) on an NCTJ-accredited course or NCTJ distance learning programme in the 2020-21 academic year.

Trainees who have completed the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism, with less than two years’ employment.

Apprentices who are completing (or have completed) the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism during the 2020-21 academic year.

Rules of entry

    • Work submitted must be produced between 1 September 2020 and 31 October 2021.
    • Students, trainees and apprentices can submit one application per award category. If multiple entries are received for the same award, only the most recent will be submitted.
    • You may enter multiple categories, but the same piece of work may not be submitted more than once.
    • Work submitted must be your own original work.
    • All award entries should be produced by one person and not be a joint enterprise, with the exception of the Student Project of the Year and Podcast Journalism categories. Where it is a team entry, there must be a designated team leader.
    • To enter the Community News Project award, you must be a community reporter recruited as part of the Community News Project.
    • If you have been sanctioned for malpractice by the NCTJ your entry will be disqualified.
    • All entries must be received by midnight on Friday, 12 November. Late submissions can not be accepted.

    The NCTJ reserves the right to use information contained in the winning entries (except for personal data) for subsequent publicity, promotions and other activities relating to the Awards for Excellence.

    Allowed formats

    For all categories, a mix of media may be submitted, i.e. if supplying three stories, it could be one video, one audio and one written piece.

    Video and audio pieces:

    • The duration must be appropriate to the story being told, the platform being used and the audience. Careful consideration of those issues will help determine the length of the video/audio
    • Should be accompanied by a copy of the script or, in the case of entries which consist of interviews, any questions or briefing materials prepared before recording
    • The intended or actual outlet should be identified in the supporting statement

    The upload limit is 15MB per file. If your video/audio content exceeds this size, please either compress the file or upload to YouTube, Vimeo or similar and submit a word document containing the link to your content.

    Written pieces:

    • Can be submitted as PDFs or Word files
    • Can be screenshotted from a website
    • A list of URL links to online work (including audio and video) can be submitted in a Word document. (NB If the link is unavailable at the time of judging, it will not be considered.)


    • Please supply high resolution (at least 300dpi) images and ensure the content is clear.