Category Definitions

Canadian digital publishers—including those that support established brands in consumer & B2B magazines, newspapers, broadcast and other journalism, as well as those that serve their audiences exclusively as digital brands—are eligible to participate, including those that publish in either English or French.

 

The Digital Publishing Awards (DPAs) program is proudly announcing a roster of 24 categories.  

 

Individual creator awards have a cash prize of $500 for Gold winners. Not all categories have a cash prize.

 

As part of our commitment to transparency, we have published specific judging criteria for each category, so that submitters understand the measures by which the judges consider each submission.

 

1. Best Digital Editorial Package

Honours the outstanding and collaborative work of an editorial team—editors and content creators—in creating an original series of related or thematic editorial content that best serves its intended audience by maximizing the potential of digital publishing. The quality of the storytelling as well as the value to readers will be judged. There is no cash prize with this award.

 

Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the editorial package. Submit the main URL of the Editorial Package and up to three (3) additional URLs to specific content in the package. Judges will be advised to explore all elements of the package to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.

 

2. Best Blog or Column

Honours the blog or online-only column that best serves its intended audience through commentary, opinion, visual, audio, and/or interactive elements. Columns or blogs with multiple authors are admissible provided the column has a unifying voice or theme.

 

Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the blog. Submit the main URL of the blog or column and up to three (3) additional URLs to specific content. Judges will be advised to explore the blog or column section to evaluate the quality and presentation of content, as well as functionality and user experience.

 

3. Best News Coverage (Small Newsroom)
Honours excellence in news reporting of a single topic or event based on the enterprise and skill of the reporter or team of reporters, including insightful analysis and compelling narrative. This award will go to the digital publication that best serves its audience through timely, original reporting on any single topic or event of local, provincial, national or international significance. This category is intended for small, local publications with an editorial staff (digital and print if applicable) of less than 10 members. There is no cash prize with this award.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the news event, and URLs to up to five (5) articles or elements that demonstrate coverage. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.
 
4. Best News Coverage
Honours excellence in news reporting of a single topic or event based on the enterprise and skill of the reporter or team of reporters, including insightful analysis and compelling narrative. This award will go to the digital publication that best serves its audience through timely, original reporting on any single topic or event of local, provincial, national or international significance. There is no cash prize with this award.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the news event, and URLs to up to five (5) articles or elements that demonstrate coverage. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.
 
5. Best Feature Article: Short
Honours the best short feature story (maximum 1500 words) in terms of the overall quality of writing, including but not limited to reporting, personal essays, criticism, reviews and other non-fiction genres. The feature must have been written for a digital platform.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the feature. Submit a URL to the feature article to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.
 
6. Best Feature Article: Long
Honours the best long feature story (minimum 1500 words) in terms of the overall quality of writing, including but not limited to reporting, personal essays, criticism, reviews and other non-fiction genres. The feature must have been written for a digital platform.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the feature. Submit a URL to the feature article to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.
 
7. Fiction (NEW)
Honours a work of short fiction first published by the publication. The story must have been written for a digital platform.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the story. Submit a URL to the story to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.
 
8. Best Personal Essay
Honours the best overall story in which the writer’s perspective and/or personal experience is the main focus. The personal essay must have been written for a digital platform.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the feature. Submit a URL to the feature article to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.
 
9. Best Arts & Culture Story
Honours the best overall story dealing with issues or subjects of arts, culture or entertainment, including essays, reviews, reporting and/or literary journalism. The story must have been written for a digital platform.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the feature. Submit a URL to the feature article to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.
 
10. Best Science and Technology Story (NEW)
Honours the best overall story dealing with issues or subjects of science or technology, including investigative reporting, analysis and/or profiles. The story must have been written for a digital platform.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the story. Submit a URL to the article to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.
 
11. Best Service Feature: Lifestyle
Honours the best digital service feature story that focuses on travel, recreation and lifestyle (including beauty and fashion, food, sports, hobbies, design and décor), with an emphasis on excellence in writing, reporting, and packaging of content. Entries may consist partially of repurposed content but must have been created and designed specifically for a digital platform.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the feature, and submit a URL to the feature article to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.
 
12. Best Service Feature: Careers & Personal Finance
Honours the best digital service feature story that focuses on careers and personal finance (including education), with an emphasis on excellence in writing, reporting, and packaging of content. Entries may consist partially of repurposed content but must have been created and designed specifically for a digital platform.

 

Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the feature, and submit a URL to the feature article to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.
 
13. Best Service Feature: Family & Health
Honours the best digital service feature story that focuses on family and health, with an emphasis on excellence in writing, reporting, and packaging of content. Entries may consist partially of repurposed content but must have been created and designed specifically for a digital platform.

 

Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the feature, and submit a URL to the feature article to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of content.
 
14. Best Online Video: Short
Honours creative excellence in the production of a video by a digital publisher that is less than three (3) minutes in length. The video must have been produced for a digital platform. There is no cash prize with this award.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the video. Submit a URL to the video to be judged. Judges will be advised that the overall quality and impact of the video relative to its intended audience, and not its length or subject matter, should be considered.
 
15. Best Online Video: Feature
Honours creative excellence in the production of a video by a digital publisher that is between three and five (3 to 5) minutes* in length. The video must have been produced for a digital platform. There is no cash prize with this award. *Videos that up to 5:30 minutes in length may be entered in this category OR in the Mini-doc category. However, the same video cannot be entered in both categories. Submitters must determine which category is best suited for the video submitted. There is no cash prize with this award.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the video. Submit a URL to the video to be judged. Judges will be advised that the overall quality and impact of the video relative to its intended audience, and not its length or subject matter, should be considered.
 
16. Best Online Video: Mini-Doc
Honours creative excellence in the production of a video by a digital publisher that is longer than five (5) minutes in length. The video must have been produced for a digital platform. There is no cash prize with this award.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the video. Submit a URL to the video to be judged. Judges will be advised that the overall quality and impact of the video relative to its intended audience, and not its length or subject matter, should be considered.
 
17. Best Podcast & Audio Storytelling
Honours the best audio story or the podcast series that best serves its intended audience. The originality of the theme and the quality of production will be judged, as well as creative use of the podcasting or audio medium. 
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the story or podcast; submit a URL to the main point of entry for the story or podcast series (submit a URL to 1 specific episode to be judged). Submitters have the option to submit an additional episode/story, or a clip reel of content highlights. Judges will be advised to evaluate the overall quality and creativity of the audio content and production (including reporting, mixing and editing) as well as its impact on the intended audience.
 
18. Best Digital Design
Honours the digital publication with the most successful and original overall combination of visual and graphic design elements with functionality and user experience. Submissions may include, but not limited to: entire websites, micro-sites, tablet editions, mobile apps and one-off projects of any kind.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the digital design or design brief, including which platform(s) the design is intended for. Submit a URL to the main point of entry for design to be evaluated.
 
19. Best Photo Storytelling (NEW)
Honours outstanding use of photography to tell a story, including photojournalism, photo essay, photo galleries, conceptual photography and photo-illustration. Entries must consist of a series of photographs commissioned by the publication and/or brand. Partially repurposed content is eligible, but entries must have been created and designed specifically for a digital platform.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 300 words) introducing and providing context for the story. Submit a URL to the story to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate functionality and user experience as well as the quality and presentation of story.
 
20. Best Social Storytelling
Honours the digital publication that best tells a story using one or more social-media platforms. Storytelling elements may include but are not limited to text, audio, video, photographs, illustrations, infographics, and design elements. There is no cash prize with this award.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 500 words) that A) introduces the publication to the jury; B) articulates the publication’s strategy for social storytelling; C) provides context for the development and deployment of social storytelling; and D) comments on the impact of the social storytelling. Submit a URL to each of the social media pages or elements to be evaluated.
 
21. Best Digital Initiative
Honours an innovative digital creation, project, design or concept. May include a tool, an application, a package, a presentation of data, etc., which enhances audience engagement and/or user experience. There is no cash prize with this award.
 
Submission Requirements: Submit a brief statement (max 500 words) introducing and providing context for the digital initiative, and submit URLs to each of the platforms or components to be evaluated.
 
22. Emerging Excellence Award
Honours an individual whose early work in Canadian digital publishing shows the highest degree of craft and promise. This award may recognize a writer, visual creator, designer, developer, publisher or other young professional who has demonstrated excellence and potential in one or more areas of Canadian digital publishing. This award is open to any individual under the age of 30. Nominations for this award should come from one or more colleagues or mentors of the individual. The entry fee for this award is $25. There is no cash prize with this award.
 
Submission Requirements: Entries must consist of a letter of introduction (PDF) from a publisher, editor, art director, or mentor, which should include A) a brief bio of the candidate; B) a summary of their achievements; and C) links to specific work and media to be considered by the jury. The submission may also include supporting letters or testimonials from other colleagues, as well as images and screen grabs, provided the entire submission consists of a single PDF file not more than 5 pages in length.
 
23. Digital Publishing Leadership Award
Honours an individual whose career contributions to Canadian digital publishing deserve recognition and celebration. This award may recognize a writer, visual creator, designer, developer, publisher orother digital publishing professional who has demonstrated leadership, inspiration, creativity and achievement in one or more areas of Canadian digital publishing. Nominations for this award should come from three or more colleagues of the individual. There is no cash prize for this award. The entry fee for this award is $25. There is no cash prize with this award.
 
Submission Requirements: Entries must consist of a letter of introduction (PDF) from a publisher, editor, art director, or other colleague, which should include A) a brief bio of the candidate; B) a summary of their career achievements; and C) links to specific work and media to be considered by the jury. The submission must also include supporting letters or testimonials from at least two (2) other colleagues. The entire submission should consist of a single PDF file not more than 10 pages in length. Applications will be kept under consideration for two (2) years.
  
24. General Excellence in Digital Publishing: Small, Medium and Large Publications
Honours the publications that most successfully fulfill their editorial mandate, represent the highest journalistic standards, and effectively serve their intended audience by maximizing the possibilities afforded by the medium of digital publishing. Three awards for General Excellence will be presented, based on the size* of the publications (small; medium; and large).  Eligible publications include online-only as well as digital properties of magazines, newspapers, broadcasters and B2B publications. There is no cash prize with this award.
 
*Each publication submitting for General Excellence is asked to provide specific information and data (see Submission Requirements for details). The breakdown of small, medium and large publications will be determined based on the entries received, to ensure a fair competition between participants in each division.
 
Submission Requirements: Complete the online Application Form, including an attached PDF that answers the following questions: A) describe the editorial mandate of the publication; B) highlight the achievements of the publication during the past year; C) provide relevant data on unique visitors per month, page views per month and growth (2017 vs 2016 or since launch if the publication was created in 2017); D) indicate the size of the editorial team/newsroom (for publications that also publish a print or broadcast edition, the number must include all members of the editorial team) and the number of regular collaborators; and E) include links to specific content or elements for the jury’s attention. Submit the main URL of the publication. Submit a PDF that includes all of your additional/supporting documents. Judges will be advised to explore and evaluate the publication as is, during the judging period (approximately March-April 2018), as well as to evaluate specific elements included in the Application Form.