Amy Writing Awards

2014 Competition

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The Amy Foundation Writing Awards program offers an annual first prize of $10,000. Second prize is $5,000, third prize is $4,000, fourth prize is $3,000, and fifth prize is $2,000. Up to 10 more awards of outstanding merit are for $1,000 each.

The Awards are designed to recognize creative, skillful journalism that applies biblical principles to stories about issues and lives. The goal is for non-Christian readers to see the relevance of biblical truth and for Christian readers to become disciples.

Background

The Amy Foundation, founded in 1976 by Jim and Phyllis Russell and named after their daughter, is best known for its Amy Writing Awards, which are incentives to present biblical truth in secular publications. Writing professionals like Cal Thomas and dozens of gifted amateurs have won awards over the years. In 2013 the Amy Foundation continued to offer prize money and World News Group took over administration of the Awards.

Eligibility

A submitted article needs to have been published in a secular journalistic outlet such as a city or college newspaper, a local or national magazine, or a news website. Articles from personal blogs, newsletters, or religious publications are ineligible, as are books, manuscripts, and works of poetry or fiction. World News Group is the final determiner of eligibility.

Columns and opinion pieces are eligible, but news or feature articles that include original reporting receive preference. Submissions must be published during 2014 and must contain at least one verse of Scripture quoted from an accepted and popular edition of the Bible such as the English Standard Version, the New International Version, or the King James Version. The Bible must be acknowledged as the source. Verse(s) can come from a person quoted in the article, or from the author.

Examples of acceptable ways of acknowledgment include "the Bible says," "biblical documents indicate," "a biblical perspective," "a first-century follower of Jesus wrote," "Jesus' close friends reported," "Paul, an early Christian, wrote in a letter," "a first-century witness to the events stated," "an ancient Israelite said. …"

Submission

A PDF of your article, as published, must be submitted using our online submission form. The PDF must have your byline blacked out (redacted). A URL address (if your article can be found online) alone will not be accepted. If you’re not familiar with how to create a PDF, clerks at Office Depot, Staples, or other businesses are able to do that for you inexpensively. If an entry is a hard copy article spanning several pages of a full-sized newspaper or oversized magazine, please make one PDF page of each full oversized page. Judges will use PDF readers' enlargement tools to view the text.

Please submit your very best work. If you find it difficult to choose among your journalistic children, you may submit up to 10 articles annually. The deadline for submitting entries from the first six months of 2014 is July 15, 2014. The deadline for the second half of 2014 is Jan. 15, 2015.

Judging

We have blind judging. A World News Group editorial assistant records all entries and makes sure names and publications are blacked out. World News Group reporters assess submissions and choose the finalists to be forwarded to a panel of judges that includes two World editors, two representatives of the Amy Foundation, and two outside judges. Size of the publication doesn't matter: We are looking for quality articles whether published in large metropolitan newspapers or small college newspapers. 

Our evaluators use a 70-point rubric. Judges look at writing excellence, audience appeal, discipling, and reporting with specific detail. They ask questions including: Does the story show strong evidence of on-the-ground reporting ... so the author is not relying on organizational spokesmen, publicity releases, or information recycled from others? Does the story have sensory detail so readers feel they can see, hear, smell, or touch scenes, subjects, and objects? Does the story have strong human interest?

Announcement of awards

Winners will be announced in May 2015. The Amy Foundation will present the first prize award at the annual Michigan Prayer Breakfast, generally held in May in Lansing, Mich. An Amy Writing Awards dinner the evening before the presentation will honor the first-prize winner, who will come to Lansing with expenses paid by the Amy Foundation.

Further distribution of articles

Winning articles will be published online at www.amyfound.org and wng.org, and in an e-book to be sent to Amy Foundation and WORLD mailing lists.

For further information

The Amy Foundation website has additional background on the competition. Please send questions to amyawards@wng.org.

Photo credit: @iStockphoto.com/Allkindza

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