The awards are open to journalists and news organizations whose work was distributed by U.S.-based media outlets. There is a $50 entry fee (with the exception of First Amendment and Administrator/Teacher of the Year). Winners will be announced in March, share $180,000 in cash prizes and be recognized at an April 28 dinner in Phoenix.
Besides Community Journalism, categories include: Top Story of the Year; Opinion; Breaking News; Business/Economics Reporting; Digital Innovation; Environmental Reporting; First Amendment; Human Interest Storytelling; Investigative Reporting; Photojournalism; Public Service Reporting; Radio/Audio In-Depth Reporting; TV/Cable Local Coverage; TV/Cable National/International Coverage; Journalism School Administrator of the Year; and Journalism Teacher of the Year.
The first winner of the Community Journalism prize was Daniel Gilbert, then of the Bristol Herald Courier and now of The Seattle Times, whose same work went on to win the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. He donated his $10,000 cash prize from the Scripps contest to the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues (publisher of the Rural Blog) to create a fellowship program for rural journalists to gain the same sort of computer-assisted reporting skills that enabled him to expose mismanagement of coalfield energy royalties in southwest Virginia. The fellowships send rural journalists to the computer-assisted reporting boot camp of Investigative Reporters and Editors.