2021 SAJA Awards

SAJA is excited to once again recognize and award some of the great journalism produced last year! Many of our awards focus on reporting about South Asia or the South Asian diaspora. Other awards recognize the tremendous work produced by journalists of South Asian backgrounds. Together, these awards help further our mission of supporting newsroom diversity and promoting better coverage of issues related to South Asia worldwide.

See below for details on this year's SAJA awards! Questions? Email president@saja.org.

Make your submissions here.

Deadline: August 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

Eligibility Criteria

The submitted piece(s) of work must have:

  • Appeared in a U.S. or Canadian news outlet between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Work published in a media outlet based in South Asia is NOT eligible for entry.
  • Most awards require the submissions to be focused on subjects about one or more than one South Asian countries or the South Asian worldwide diaspora. Read the descriptions carefully. Two awards recognize broader work produced by journalists and student journalists of South Asian backgrounds.
  • Branded content is not eligible for an award -- submissions must be examples of independent journalism.

Other criteria:

  • Awards are open to all US and Canadian media: national newspapers/TV channels, local/regional newspapers/TV channels, news and features websites, and other online platforms that DO NOT include personal or professional blogs.
  • Freelancers and journalists employed by newsrooms are both eligible to apply by submitting a story published in a North American publication.
  • Individuals may submit entries or organizations may enter the contest on behalf of their journalists.
  • Organizations and individuals can make multiple entries. BUT the same entry/story cannot be submitted in different categories.
  • Former SAJA board members are eligible to apply but they must not have served on the board since the past two years (2019).
  • The countries that we consider as part of "South Asia" are India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan and Afghanistan.
  • No award will be presented in any category that doesn’t receive a minimum of 3 submissions.

Fee

SAJA levies a non-refundable application fee to help cover some of the costs of the awards process. The fee is $75 per entry for companies who are making submissions on behalf of employees, $25 per entry for individual journalists submitting on behalf of themselves and $15 per entry for students.

Judging

SAJA will select a pool of volunteer judges for each award, who will rate each submission on a number of factors including: 

  • News Value: insight, informative qualities and durability.
  • Originality and/or Exclusivity: enterprise and discovery.
  • Reportorial Quality: thoroughness and balance.
  • Writing Quality (where applicable): clarity in dealing with description, concepts, findings and complex issues.

Awards Categories

SAJA this year is recognizing journalism in a number of different categories: business, arts and culture, health, opinion and commentary and photography. Here is a full list:

1. The Daniel Pearl Award for outstanding reporting about South Asia

Established in honor of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was killed while reporting in Pakistan, this award recognizes outstanding investigative reporting that exhibits courage and exposes important public issues. See, for example, last year’s Daniel Pearl award winning story, in which Soumya Shankar visited Kashmir during the recent military takeover by Modi’s government for the GroundTruth Project.

All media formats are allowed. The reporting can be a single piece or a series on a specific topic.

2. Outstanding business story about South Asia, or the worldwide South Asian diaspora

This award recognizes outstanding news, feature or explanatory reporting in business, technology and economics.

The story should not be an opinion piece. All media formats are allowed, though video or audio submissions must not be longer than 30 minutes. The reporting can be a single piece or a series on a specific topic.

3. Outstanding arts, culture, and lifestyle reporting about South Asia, or the worldwide South Asian diaspora

This award recognizes outstanding reporting about arts, culture or lifestyle.

The story should not be an opinion piece. All media formats are allowed, though video or audio submissions must not be longer than 30 minutes. The reporting can be a single piece or a series on a specific topic.

4. Outstanding health reporting about South Asia, or the worldwide South Asian diaspora

This award recognizes outstanding reporting about health, science, public health and the coronavirus pandemic.

The story should not be an opinion piece. All media formats are allowed, though video or audio submissions must not be longer than 30 minutes. The reporting can be a single piece or a series on a specific topic.

5. Outstanding commentary, editorial or opinion piece about South Asia, or the worldwide South Asians diaspora

This award recognizes outstanding creative writing, use of language, quality of articulation and coherence that covers news, sports, business, entertainment or any other aspect relating to South Asia or South Asians.

All media formats are allowed, though video or audio submissions must not be longer than 30 minutes. Books are ineligible for this awards. The reporting can be a single piece or a series on a specific topic.

6. Outstanding photography about South Asia, or the worldwide South Asian diaspora

This award recognizes outstanding feature or breaking news photography in black and white or color in newspapers, magazines or digital publications.

This category can be a single photo, or a photo series.

CATEGORIES FOR SOUTH ASIAN JOURNALISTS WORKING IN NORTH AMERICA

7. Outstanding story on any subject

This award recognizes outstanding reporting on any subject.

The story should not be an opinion piece. All media formats are allowed, though video or audio submissions must not be longer than 30 minutes. The reporting can be a single piece or a series on a specific topic.

CATEGORY FOR SOUTH ASIAN STUDENTS IN U.S.A OR CANADA

8. Outstanding story on any subject by a South Asian student in the US or Canada

This award recognizes outstanding reporting on any subject by a South Asian student studying in North America. Reporting can be in any field or medium, and can include reported opinion pieces or essays.

This category is for students of South Asian origin studying in North America. All media formats are allowed, though video or audio submissions must not be longer than 30 minutes. The reporting can be a single piece or a series on a specific topic.


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