HomeNominate an entry2015 WinnersCategories JudgingContactBlog
HomeNominate an entry2015 WinnersCategories JudgingContactBlog
Last year, the inaugural Kunkel Awards recognized excellence in video game journalism.

So we're trying it again. What the hell.

Anyone can nominate an entry at no cost, and all entries will be judged by professional journalists. Review our categories and submit an entry at the bottom of our nominations section.

The deadline for nominating an entry is 11:59:59 p.m. ET Friday, January 20.

To learn how winners will be chosen, see our judging section, and check updates on our blog.

Since this is only the second time we've hosted Kunkel Awards, there are sure to be questions. If you have one or five, contact us. We’ll do our best to clarify and accommodate.


From the blog

Who is Bill Kunkel?

Bill Kunkel “helped invent video game journalism,” The New York Times declared in Kunkel’s 2011 obituary. He co-published the first gaming column in 1978 and co-founded the first gaming magazine, Electronic Games, in 1981. His family has gratefully lent his name to these awards.


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Categories

SPJ intentionally limited the number and scope of the categories. The goal: Encourage ethical and balanced news reporting of a fast-growing industry with millions of customers.

Excellence in News Reporting

One story, or up to three stories on a single topic. News can be breaking (reporting on something that just happened), in-depth (studying a topic by surveying all sides), or investigative (digging into a topic by uncovering previously unknown facts). No one kind is considered superior by the judges.

Excellence in Feature Writing

One story, or up to three stories on a single topic. A feature can be a profile (an in-depth look at one person), a Q&A (a verbatim interview with one person), or a color piece (a descriptive put-you-there story).

Excellence in News Video/Streaming

One recording of no more than one hour. See description above. Can be edited down from a longer stream. As with written submissions, judges expect multi-sourcing (see judging criteria).

Excellence in Feature Video/Streaming

One recording of no more than one hour. See description above. Can be edited down from a longer stream. As with written submissions, judges expect multi-sourcing (see judging criteria).

Excellence in College Gaming Journalism

Best single story or video, either news or feature. We want to encourage the next generation of gaming journalists to surpass their elders. So we recognize one story or video that excels in writing and reporting. Must be enrolled in a two-year, four-year, or private college or university at the time of publication.

Worst Story of the Year

Learning by avoiding. Sometimes, the best way to teach the right thing is by studying the wrong thing. We're looking for news or feature stories that didn't just violate SPJ's Code of Ethics, they laughed while doing it. The bigger the stories and the bigger the ethical lapses, the more likely one of them will "win."


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Nominations

Nominate an entry

Fill out the form here. It's free and easy. Anyone can nominate an entry. Nominations are due January 20, 2017 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET.

The Kunkel Awards are a People’s Choice hybrid: The public nominates the entries, but SPJ’s judges choose the winners.

Anyone can nominate an entry — the author, an impressed reader, even the author’s mom. It costs nothing to submit a nomination, and you can do so anonymously if you’re paranoid or wanted by the law.

The number of times an entry is nominated means nothing. In fact, we won’t tell the judges how often an entry was nominated. So no need to stuff the ballot box.

Nomination rules

— Entries must have been published or posted in the 2016 calendar year.

— Entries can be from anywhere. We don’t care if they’re from a national website or a personal blog. They just have to be ethical and excellent.

— You don’t need permission from the author or the media outlet. If they win and get mad about it, we’ll deal with them.

— All entries must be in English or have translation available. Sorry for being ethnocentric.


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Judging

All judges are professional journalists working outside the gaming press, but with varying degrees of knowledge about it. Judges will write comments about the winners, which will be posted when the winners are announced.

The judging criteria:

Accuracy

Don’t trust, verify. This covers everything from spelling names correctly to ensuring all claims are indeed facts — and if you can’t verify those facts, admitting as much to your readers, so they can draw their own conclusions.

Balance

Give all sides their say. It’s called multi-sourcing. No award-winning report has just one source. Talking to all sides doesn’t mean giving them all equal space. It simply means giving them all a fair chance to explain their positions.

Clarity

Explaining isn’t easy. The hardest part of journalism (or anything) is describing complex or technical concepts in plain English. That means no jargon readers won’t grasp. It also means weaving background into the story without bogging it down.

Verve

Journalism isn’t supposed to be boring. You can be accurate, balanced, and clear — and no one will read or listen if you’re dull and stuffy. You need a conversational or even witty writing/speaking style to hold your audience’s attention.

SPJ Code of Ethics

Last on the list is first for the judges. If you can’t apply the principles of the SPJ Code of Ethics that all good journalists do — hell, even the slimeballs who ignore it know about it — then nothing else above matters.


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Contact us

SPJ national board member Michael Koretzky is director of the Kunkel Awards (but not a judge). If you have questions or comments, reach him here.