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What Makes Journalism “Excellent”? Criteria Identified by Judges in Two Leading Awards Programs

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posted on 21.05.2021, 11:53 authored by Ivor Shapiro, Patrizia Albanese, Leigh Doyle
What does “excellence” mean in journalism? The literature reveals no universally agreed set of standards, and awards guidelines are often unclear. We interviewed judges in two leading Canadian print journalism awards programs, using a sequence of open-ended and ranking questions to probe their criteria of excellence in a way calculated to elicit not just the standards they felt should be applied but the standards they actually did apply. Judges mentioned a wide variety of criteria, including the social importance and impact of works of journalism. But only two values were affirmed consistently: writing style and reporting rigour.

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