December 18, 2018
BWAA WRITING CONTEST OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS
Fellow members of the BWAA,
It is now late December, which means that all of you should be thinking about going through your best work for selection as possible entries in the BWAA writing contest, the period for which extends from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018. The deadline for BWAA dues is Friday, January 25, 2019.
Any writers’ organization exists for several purposes, but high on all such lists, and the Boxing Writers Association of America is no different, is the imperative to acknowledge and reward the best work done by its members in a particular calendar year. The following rules and categories should be familiar to most of you, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat the obvious.
The 2018 writing contest consists of six categories, all of which are numbered (no identifying names or bylines seen by the judges), and must have appeared in print or online from January 1 through December 31. An independent panel of judges, as always, has the task of selecting the winners, who receive their awards at the BWAA Awards Dinner, the date and site of which have yet to be announced; those unable to attend the dinner will have their awards shipped to them.
The contest is open to all BWAA members, full and associate, but their annual dues of $40 should be current. Dues can be paid via PayPal or by check, made out to the Boxing Writers Association of America or BWAA, P.O. Box 1082, Drexel Hill, Pa. 19026.
As most of you should know, participants are limited to ONE entry per category. It always is surprising to me that I sometimes receive three or four entries in the same category from someone who has not read the rules. If that happens, an attempt will be made to contact the writer to ascertain which of the submitted entries is his or her choice, but if time becomes a factor then one entry will – must – be chosen at random. So choose wisely now and avoid any such confusion. The deadline for entries to be received is Jan. 25, and because there is a possibility that the 2019 Awards Dinner will be earlier than in years past, all entrants are urged to make their submissions, either via email (preferred) or snail-mail, as promptly as possible.
Information regarding membership, dues, etc., can be located by going to the BWAA web site, bwaa.org. If need be, contact BWAA president Joe Santoliquito at email@example.com or, if absolutely necessary, at 610-357-9319. He’s even more swamped with BWAA stuff than I am, so exhaust all possibilities as to queries before making that call.
► A more expeditious and most efficient method to submit entries is via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
► Entries can also be mailed to:
BWAA Writing Contest
P.O. Box 1082
Drexel Hill, Pa. 19026,
► Include your name, the publication or web site for which it appeared, the date of its publication or posting, and the proper category, all of which are listed below. As has always been the case, all bylines and other identifying marks will be removed prior to their being sent on to the judges. If being sent by regular mail, please do not include pages on which material is printed on both sides. It slows the preparation process, and this year that process may have to be accelerated. Entrants who get their submissions in advance of the deadline get my fond appreciation, but history tells me that will not always be the case.
► Deadline is 12-noon EST, Friday, January 25, 2019. Please don’t wait until the last minute. Ideally, you would send in your entries far enough in advance of that date so that the task of preparing them for the judges’ inspection can be done promptly.
► Also, as per President Joseph Santoliquito, and as agreed upon at a BWAA meeting in July 2017, the contest is to be open to 2019 dues paying members of the BWAA who were also 2018 BWAA dues paying members. Your dues of $40 for 2019 must be paid to have your articles entered in the contest. If you have questions about your dues situation, please call Joe at 610-357-9319 or email him at jsantoliquitoBWAA@yahoo.com.
Please make it a point to ensure you not only are eligible to participate, but actually do so. We want your best work to get the full consideration it deserves.
► For non-members who would like to join the BWAA go to www.bwaa.org; there is a format that should be used to apply.
The categories are as follows:
CATEGORY A: Event Coverage. That would be coverage of a specific fight or fight card which occurred no more than 36 hours prior to publication in print or appearance online. This category is not meant to include prefight features. For instance, if you send in a story reporting on a fight which took place Saturday night/early Sunday morning, depending on time zone, that story would have to have appeared in print or be posted online no later than Monday afternoon. This obviously excludes magazine stories, in which the writer might have days or even weeks to gather additional information and write more expansively.
CATEGORY B: Column. Just because a story runs with a head shot of the writer in and of itself does not make it a column. Columns primarily are opinion pieces, in which you let readers know in no uncertain terms where you stand on a particular topic. It’s about taking a stand and making a persuasive case to support your position.
CATEGORY C: News Story. Restricted to breaking-news coverage. That might include the death of a noted boxing figure, some fresh development on an ongoing situation or a completely new situation that the writer has become aware of and made available to his or her readers.
CATEGORY D1: Feature, Under 1,500 Words. Exactly what it says. A feature is a feature; it is not a column or breaking news. This is always one of the most heavily entered categories, so the field is deep and the competition heated.
CATEGORY D2: Feature, Over 1,500 Words. Same as D1, except this runs more to lengthier stuff, as might be found in magazine articles, newspaper takeout stories or online pieces in which the writer is not restricted by space.
CATEGORY E: Investigative Reporting. There might be subtle differences between Category E and Category D2, but they are nonetheless important. Investigative reporting requires going behind the scenes, digging deeper, determining the whys and wherefores. It could be a series of stories on the same subject, spaced over time. If you have something worthy to enter, please do so; this is an important and prestigious category, and, really, what journalism is all about.
The BWAA Writing Contest is about excellence in writing and reporting. It is what we do, and our reason for doing it. The best boxing stories, as is the case with other sports and other professional journalists’ organizations, should be acknowledged and rewarded so that the bar is continuously set high.
Joe Santoliquito frequently refers to the BWAA Awards Dinner – the one in 2019 will be our 94th annual event – as the “Academy Awards of boxing.” It is a reasonably apt description, but the writing and photo contests stand as our Pulitizers. I urge all BWAA members to participate.
Bernard Fernandez, Awards Chairman