2014 Awards - How to Apply

The Murray Kempton Awards, named for the famed columnist who captured the soul of the city while often serving as its conscience, recognize the contributions of outstanding undergraduate student journalists at the City University of New York.

Eligibility: The competition is open to undergraduate students enrolled at the University for journalistic material published – in print, on the Web or in class – between May 24, 2013, and May 23, 2014, which is the last day of spring term.


Judging: Awards will be made by a panel of professional journalists, broadcasters and/or University faculty. Their evaluation criteria include: originality; creativity; clarity in presentation; readability or audio/video storytelling; enterprise in reporting; journalistic significance, and accuracy of spelling and grammar. Entrants are strongly encouraged to submit examples that reflect the highest journalistic standards for fairness, accuracy and balance.


In the news and feature/enterprise categories, judges generally favor stories that show obvious in-person, original reporting over those that appear to be based on information derived from the Internet or press releases; that said, writers are free to use any information, as long as the sources are properly attributed and the writer goes beyond them with clearly original work. Topics should be important to the college community interpreted broadly, including coverage of news, sports, student athletics and the arts, whether on campus or not.


Judging is "blind," meaning that the judges read uniform, plain-text submissions without any identifying information about the writer or the college, other than whatever may be integral to the story - and that plays no role in their evaluation.


Categories: Primary consideration is given to journalism that appeared in campus publications, websites or other campus venues, although works that were written for class or appeared in noncampus outlets are also eligible. Awards include:

  • Best News Story. A news story presents the facts about a timely issue. It contains reliable, attributed information, is comprehensive and clearly separates fact from opinion.
  • Best Enterprise or Feature Story. An enterprise story typically takes a broad look at a topic, presenting the "big picture" behind a news event. A feature is a human interest story, often not related to a timely event.
  • Best Commentary. Encompassing both editorials and first-person columns, commentary expresses personal opinion. Good commentary offers crisp analysis of a problem or situation, discusses it with a clear point of view, and may offer solutions.
  • Best Video Documentary/Photography. Images can  tell powerful stories, whether it is one strong photo that says all there is to say about a topic, a narrative slide show or a compelling video narrative.
  • Best Web Publication. Fast-evolving digital “new media” provide exciting ways of packaging information and stories via websites and blogs that incorporate streaming audio and video, slideshows, podcasts, online communities and more. This category recognizes outstanding utilization of one or more of these media.


Limit: A maximum of three entries per student in all categories combined.
Submission rules:

  • Print entries (commentary, enterprise/features, news categories) - e-mail in Word or Word Perfect with entry form to themurraykemptonawards@gmail.com .
  • Video documentary/photo entries - must be online. E-mail a link with entry form to themurraykemptonawards@gmail.com .
  • Web publication - must be online. E-mail a link to a home page, podcast, Web address or the like with entry form to themurraykemptonawards@gmail.com .
  • Deadline: Entries must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, June 6, 2014.

Entry Form (Click to download the form) <doc>