Sigma Delta Chi Award

The Sigma Delta Chi Awards are presented annually by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) for excellence in journalism. The SPJ states the purpose of the award is to promote "the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry".[1]


The Awards, according to the SPJ, did not begin in 1932 when the society chose six individuals for their contributions to journalism. In 1939, the awards program began as it is today when the SPJ awarded the first Distinguished Service Awards. These awards later became the Sigma Delta Chi Awards.[1]

Entry requirements

A fee is collected from each entry. In 2007, the fee for members of the Society of Professional Journalists was $60, $100 for non-members. All entries must be accompanied by three copies of the entry form.

In addition each entry must include a cover letter that includes a summary of the story or stories, a discussion of the major findings and results, a review of the process followed to get the story and an account of the difficulty or uniqueness of effort in obtaining the story.

The 2012 contest judged more than 1,700 entries.[2]

Judging criteria

Materials are judged by "distinguished, veteran journalists. For each category one award is issued and judges may withhold an award if they deem no entry worthy.

Entries are judged on readability, effectiveness of interpretation, accuracy and completeness, enterprise, clarity and style, resourcefulness of the reporter in overcoming obstacles, interest and adherence to the SPJ Code of Ethics.

Award categories

The 48 categories are assigned according to publication type or the type of work in journalism. There are awards for newspapers/wire services, magazines, art/graphics, radio, television, newsletters, research and online reporting.


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