Awards Categories

The Education Writers Association has revamped its categories dramatically. Carefully review the categories and subcategories before making your choices.

Good luck!

Photo credit: James Minichello of AASA for EWA

Newsroom Size

Four of the nine awards categories include subcategories by newsroom size. Entrants should calculate their newsroom size by counting all full-time-equivalent (FTE) editorial employees in the newsroom at the time the entry was produced.

In addition to reporters, the calculation should include editors, designers, online producers, and multimedia content producers, such as photographers, data analysts and videographers. Two half-time editors would be counted as one FTE.

Freelancers should request the FTE from the outlet in which their pieces were published. If you enter a newsroom size subcategory, include your newsroom’s FTE count on your entry.


The prize for category winners (except for the Eddie) is $1,000. If there is a tie, winners will split the prize.

Media Formats

Journalists can submit all media formats to these categories: 

  • Beat reporting
  • Collaborations
  • Data reporting and visualization
  • Investigative/public service reporting
  • Student journalism

The following categories either focus on audio, photo and video or include related subcategories:

  • Features – Broadcast (radio or television)
  • News – Broadcast (radio or television)
  • Podcast – audio
  • Visual Storytelling (video or photo)


Beat Reporting: Journalists demonstrate their skills in covering a wide range of stories while assigned to the education beat. The demonstrated excellence across the beat includes these different kinds of stories:

  • Breaking news
  • Features
  • News analysis
  • Investigative or public service reporting

The maximum number of print or digital text stories in beat entry is five. Audio, video or multimedia can include more than five stories, as long as the total run time of all pieces does not exceed 30 minutes. For all entries, no more than one submission may have a byline shared with other reporters. You can submit one story that you have entered in another category. However, you can only add one story from that other category entry. For instance, if you submit three stories in your entry to the News category, you cannot submit two of those stories to the beat category. Please review the rules for further details. Journalists for education-only outlets should submit to the education-only subcategory.

  • Small: <60 FTE newsroom employees
  • Large: 60+ FTE newsroom employees
  • Education-only outlets of any size.

Collaborations: This category honors partnerships across media organizations to produce high-quality coverage of an issue or story. Entrants should demonstrate how each partner contributed to the collaboration and offered essential value to the project. Each entry should consist of a single piece, a cohesive package or series with no more than three parts, or a collection of pieces with total combined viewing or listening time of less than one hour. Collaborations should go beyond one organization providing a reporter to another and include step-by-step contributions by all the partners. Collaborators also will be judged by their fresh approaches to creating teams across newsrooms. 

  • Newsrooms of all sizes

Data Reporting and Visualization: This new category recognizes education journalism that focuses on data analysis, particularly in new and innovative ways. The entry can include a story or series of up to three stories centered on data; a compelling visualization of data; or a combination of both these approaches. The data used should provide fresh insights into a problem or issue in education.

  • Newsrooms of all sizes

Features: This category honors excellence in reporting and presentations about people. Each entry can consist of one feature story; a package or series of no more than three pieces; or a collection of pieces with a total combined listening or viewing time of up to 30 minutes. Examples include but are not limited to a profile, narrative or interview, focused on a single topic, theme, or individual.

  • Small: <60 FTE newsroom employees
  • Large: 60+ FTE newsroom employees
  • Broadcast: radio or television reporting of any newsroom size.

Investigative & Public Service: This category recognizes journalism that goes beyond routine reporting and fact-checking to uncover previously hidden or little-known information or wrongdoing. This category also recognizes journalism that makes a substantive contribution to the public’s understanding of critical issues and/or makes a demonstrable positive impact on individuals or a community. Entries can include up to four stories.

  • Small: <60 FTE newsroom employees
  • Large: 60+ FTE newsroom employees
  • Education-only outlets of any size.

News: This category recognizes excellence in coverage of breaking news or a current event. The entry can look at a topic or issue through the lens of breaking news. It can consist of a single piece, a cohesive package or series of no more than three parts, or a collection of pieces with total combined viewing or listening time of less than 30 minutes. Besides the standard factors, judges in this category may also consider time constraints reporters faced in covering breaking news.

  • Small: <60 FTE newsroom employees
  • Large: 60+ FTE newsroom employees
  • Broadcast: radio or television reporting of any size.

Podcast: The podcast category recognizes long-form audio storytelling about education. Submissions should include up to three education-related segments of a serialized podcast or stand-alone series centered on an education topic. Judges may consider originality, overall production quality, and innovative use of storytelling techniques. A maximum of  one hour of audio may be submitted.

  • Newsrooms of all sizes

Student Journalism: The category recognizes work by undergraduate college students and high school students for either the school’s news outlet or for a student-run independent news organization. The work submitted should specifically focus on an education-related topic, investigation or event. Coverage does not include stories generated for internships. Up to three pieces may be submitted. Graduate students may submit their work in all other categories.

  • High school newsrooms
  • College newsrooms (undergraduates only)
  • Student-run independent newsrooms

Visual Storytelling: This award celebrates exceptional visual reporting, whether it’s photography or video. Entries may include complementary text or audio narrative, but their primary focus should be stories told through visuals. Judges may consider factors, such as technique, the appropriateness of medium choice, originality, design and overall visual excellence. Each entry should consist of a single piece, a package or series of no more than three parts with a total combined viewing time of less than one hour. Photo essays should contain no more than 10 photographs. 

  • Newsrooms of all sizes

The Eddie Prize: This prize honors the best work by an eligible journalist on the challenges low-income students face getting into and/or completing college. Judges will evaluate the entries for ingenuity of reporting and incisive analysis that uncovers the challenges low-income students face, and problems or conditions around their efforts to obtain a degree. Special attention will be paid to works that bring to life aspects of this issue that may not have previously come to the attention of the public. The winner of this category will receive a $7,500 cash award. This will be the last year the Eddie Prize will be awarded.

Judging Criteria

EWA Awards entries will be judged on criteria that include quality of writing and reporting, freshness and depth of insights, clarity of explanation, and innovation and effectiveness of presentation.


Participation in the EWA Awards is limited to professional journalists published, posted or aired by independent news outlets in 2023. Professional journalists are defined in EWA Bylaws, Article II, Section 1.1.

EWA staff is available to answer questions or concerns about the awards, including eligibility and the revised categories. Please email your queries to