QUESTIONS & ANSWERS – 2020 ANNUAL AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE
Q: Are entries allowed that were commissioned/used for advertorials, sponsored features or native content
A: In most cases, no. Articles in special supplements or advertorials commissioned by a tourism-related group, even if arranged directly via the media channel, will not be eligible as they can be perceived to be “influenced” by the commissioning body. The only exception would be an article commissioned by a media outlet that appears in a section that subsequent to the commissioning attracts advertising by the destination/product involved. This would need to be made clear upon entry so the Awards Committee can make a judgement. The key point is that the articles (or photographs) were not produced specifically for an advertorial/sponsored supplement. Note, the subject of producing articles for native content whereby the writer/photographer is not influenced or edited in any way by the sponsoring party is worthy of discussion at a future ASTW AGM as native content is becoming more prevalent and doesn’t always involve ‘prescriptive’ submissions, but for the 2020 awards, submissions made specifically for sponsored sections will not be allowed.
Q: Entrants to writing/photographic categories need to have been paid by the commissioning media for their articles/photos – how will that be enforced?
A: The ASTW will have the right to request proof of remuneration for any article/photo submitted as an entry to the ASTW awards. The payment must be made by the media channel and not be effectively paid for by a ‘sponsor’ of the section. In other words, the article/photo needs to be commissioned by and paid for by the media outlet directly with the entrant. An exception is for editors (as long as they are not owners and/or publishers of the media outlet) and employees of travel publications and other travel media outlets who are paid a salary to produce content. They will not have to produce documentation to prove payment for the specific submission.
Entrants of the Travel Blog, Travel Blog Post and Instagram photo categories will also not be required to prove payment as it is very likely that the entry will come from the site owner.
Q: If articles are published by foreign magazines in ‘Americanised’ English, should the content be changed to ‘Australian English’ so the judges aren’t distracted by perceived mis-spellings?
A: No. Articles should be reproduced exactly as written originally and not altered in any way. Text submitted will be checked against the published work.
Q: The Award Force process requires a link or PDF copy of the article or photograph published. How can the anonymity of the author be maintained when the original article or photograph can be seen, complete with by-line or photographic credit?
A: The link and PDF are solely for the scrutiny of the ASTW Secretariat and Awards Committee. The Award Force software enables the ASTW to exclude any link/PDF from being seen by judges. They will only see the bare text or photograph uploaded by the entrant. The link or PDF is included to enable the ASTW to ensure that the submission meets eligibility requirements. Is it impossible for a judge to discover an author? Of course not. A search using large sections of text is likely to reveal the author, but given the judges will only receive the bare text/photo, the author will not be “obvious” and judges have been requested to judge solely according to the raw materials submitted to them.
Q: How have judges been selected, how can members be certain they will be appropriately distanced from members submitting or media channels involved in publishing submissions?
A: A complete review of judges was made following last year’s Awards. This year, a large number of new judges were selected from overseas and Australia who are highly regarded in the industry. They are not paid, their involvement is purely voluntary and we are thankful they are investing considerable unpaid time for the benefit of the Australian industry. Each category has three judges, who will not be aware of each other and their results are inputted directly into Award Force to ensure complete transparency and impartiality. Only if there is an anomaly will the ASTW Secretariat or Awards Committee (not any ASTW Board member) contact the judges directly. Judges will receive a very modest gift card, as well as acknowledgement on the ASTW website, in recognition of their contribution after the awards have been decided. We will not be revealing which categories were adjudicated by the judges.
Q: The Hall of Fame was introduced last year. Will it be continued, and what is the status of previous winners in terms of entering this year’s awards?
A: The Hall of Fame was introduced last year, but upon review, it has been suspended until a decision is made on its future. As a result, any restrictions based on previous awarding of Hall of Fame status will not apply in terms of entry to the 2020 Awards.
Q: Are members allowed to enter the same category more than once?
A: Members are able to enter as many entries as they like in any category – as long as they pay the entry fee for each submission.
Q: Are members allowed to enter the same photo or story in two different categories?
A: Yes, they can enter the same photo or story in different categories as long the submission meets the eligibility requirements of each category.
Q: Do entrants have to be paid up members for 2020-21 even if their article/photo is from 2019-20?
A: Yes, no entry will be accepted unless a) the entry is paid for at time of submission and b) that the member has paid their ASTW membership subscription for the current year.
Q: Do sub-heads, break-out boxes and pull-out quotes need to be removed from text uploaded in the writers’ awards?