Judging Procedures and Criteria

Thank you for volunteering to be a judge for the 2017 RTDNA Canada Awards. These are awards presented in 2017 for journalism which was published in 2016.

Members of RTDNA Canada appreciate the valuable contribution you are making to improve broadcast and digital journalism by accepting the position of judging these prestigious Awards.

This guide is designed to assist you at the Regional, National and Network judging levels. It will help answer some of the questions that may arise while you are engaged in the judging process.

Good luck and good judging!

If you have come across this page and would like to VOLUNTEER TO BE A JUDGE, thank you! Please email us at info@rtdnacanada.com

Mark Mietkiewicz
RTDNA Canada Awards Chair

  • Judging Dates and Deadlines

    Summer 2016:    Registration of judges begins. Sign up to be a judge using the Judge Sign-up Form.

    Late November 2016:    Judges informed which about their panel assignments

    January 31, 2017:    Regional and Network Awards Entry Deadline

    Feb 6 – 19, 2017:    Regional and Network Awards Judging Period

    Early March 2017:    Regional and Network Awards nominees announced

    March 6 – 19, 2017:    National Awards Judging Period

    April 15, 2017:    Regional Awards Ceremony | Atlantic

    April 22, 2017:    Regional Awards Ceremonies | BC, Central, Prairies

    Late April 2017:  National Awards nominees announced

    May 25-27, 2017:  RTDNA Canada National Conference and Awards Gala, Toronto

  • Judging Criteria and Rules

    1. Familiarize yourself with the Entry Rules. Any applicant who fails to adhere to the written instructions or submit a complete application package may be disqualified.
    2. The RTDNA Canada Code of Ethics serves as the basis for judging standards. The entries you are judging must follow the code of ethics.
    3. Each entry will be judged in the category in which it is submitted unless it is disqualified.
    4. There must be only one winner in each category. There cannot be co-winners.
    5. Judges should not penalize an entry for quality of “off-air” pieces, providing the entry form states the submission is logger tape quality.
    6. Judging Criteria vary for different award categories. Criteria are listed at the bottom of each submission, and can also be viewed here for Regional and here for Network awards. Score 1-10 for each criterion.
    7. Judges will base their scoring on what is contained in the submission.
    8. Judges will take into account the resources available to a newsroom so that small operations with minimal resources have an equal opportunity of winning as large operations with many resources.
    9. Entries will only be judged up to the maximum duration allowed in that particular category with a 10-second margin. E.g. An entry with a 15-minute maximum will only be judged until the 15:10 point.
    10. Only working web links will be considered. Do not judge links on websites which require registration or password access.
    11. Judges at the Regional level are not obliged to select a winner in any category if, in the opinion of the judges, the entries do not meet the established criteria.
    12. Judges may select entries for Honourable Mentions. However, if an entry is deemed to be worthy of an Honourable Mention and there is no winner in that category, the entry must become a winner. It is not possible to award an Honourable Mention without declaring a winner.
    13. National and Network judges (but not Regional judges) will prepare a micro review (75 – 140 characters) for each entry screened. These (anonymous) mini reviews will give attendees at the National Gala valuable insight into your choices. Be succinct but not cryptic. Go beyond mere adjectives (Great!) and exclamations (Wow!). Deliver a bite-sized critique that encapsulates what you thought about the entry.
    14. The winning entries in each region will go on to be judged for the National Awards.
  • Judging and Conflict of Interest

    RTDNA Canada’s judges come from a wide variety of background and affiliations – ranging from people working at small private stations to large networks to faculty of journalism programs. And just as many Canadian journalists work for a handful of large employers, many of our judges come from large organizations in this country’s very concentrated media landscape.

    We have taken certain measures to minimize conflict of interest. For example, individuals are assigned to judge entries which originate in other regions of the country. Similarly, journalists who work at the network level are asked to judge regional entries and vice versa.

    From time to time, a judge will flag us about a potential conflict of interest and we will rule whether to assign them elsewhere or leave them as assigned. We trust in the professionalism of judges to vote for excellence even if an entry was submitted by the “competition.” Looking at our former judges and their track record, we would say that our trust is well placed.

    We have also created a buffer in that all judging is done independently so that judges are not aware of other members of their panel – neither their identities nor how they have voted – aside from rare occurrences when a tie needs to be broken. For this reason, we do not release the names of our judges.

    If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to flag a potential conflict of interest, please contact us at info@rtdnacanada.com.

    We are also sensitive to Canada’s employment climate and that some of the country’s premier journalists have found that their job status has changed – sometimes of their own choice, sometimes not. Consequently, some of our judges are self-employed and others have taken a break from their retirement to judge for us. Their employment status has not diminished their ability to judge journalistic excellence.

    We are beholden to all our judges – regional, network, faculty, freelance and retired – for the time and expertise that they donate to us annually.

    There would be no RTDNA Canada Awards without you.