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Fellow members of the BWAA,

It is now early January, which means that all of you should be looking to assemble your entries for the BWAA writing contest, the period for which extends from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2015. Entries are to be sent to: BWAA Writing Contest, P.O. Box 1082, Drexel Hill, Pa. 19026. The box number in Drexel Hill used for last year’s BWAA contest, P.O. Box 1081, has been replaced by Box 1082, which was used for all previous contests and again was made available to us. Make sure your mailed entries reflect the switch back to the former box number.

As always, I appreciate everyone who at least makes an attempt to get their entries submitted in a timely fashion, rather than to wait until the last minute. Although no date and site for the BWAA Awards Dinner have yet been announced by new BWAA president Joe Santoliquito, I am setting a cutoff date for the receiving of entries to Feb. 5. 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 as expeditiously as possible.

All entries should include, on a separate sheet, the selected category, name of the writer, publication or web site for which it was written, and date which it first appeared for public consumption. In any case, all bylines and other identifying marks will be removed beforehand.

Also, Joe has affirmed that the contest should be open only to members of the organization. The contest, after all, is conducted under the auspices of the BWAA. If you have questions about your dues situation, please call him at 610-357-9319 or email him at Dues are $40 annually, and to ensure that the fullest possible participation is reached, those sending checks made out to the BWAA at the Drexel Hill address will be eligible for the 2015 writing contest, even if they are new members or were existing members in arrears in their dues for last year. The BWAA writing contest has and will continue to acknowledge the best in boxing journalism, and each and every one of you should 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.

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 key. 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 real journalism is all about.

Thank you for your patience in making it to the end of this rather drawn-out missive. 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.

Bernard Fernandez, Awards Chairman


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