2021 OWAA Excellence In Craft (EIC) Contest Rules

Categories, deadlines, and everything you need to know to enter.

The Outdoor Writers Association of America annually honors the best-of-the-best in outdoor journalism through its Excellence In Craft Contest. 

  • The EIC Contest is open to all OWAA members and will award first-, second- and third-place winners in 10 Media Categories: Blog, Book, Column, Graphic/Illustration, Magazine/E-zine, Newspaper/News Website, Photography, Photo Essay, Radio/Podcast, and TV/Video/Webcast.
  • All entries must be related to the outdoors, published either in traditional media or on the internet, as a professional effort, meaning the member has received direct payment or otherwise derived income through advertising or other sponsorship related to the published entry.
  • The contest period for eligible entries is 1 Jan. 2020 through 30 Dec. 2020, except for the Book Contest which is for works published between 1 Dec. 2018 and 30 Nov 2020.
  • Entries in all contest categories can be submitted beginning 13 Nov. 2020. The entry deadline is 15 Jan. 2021, except for the Book Contest which is 1 Dec. 2020.
  • The entry process for the 2021 EIC Contest is managed through a partnership with Submittable, an OWAA Supporting Group that specializes in on-line contest submissions. All entries must be submitted online through Submittable, except for Book entries, which must be mailed in.
  • To avoid confusion and extra work for OWAA staff and volunteers, members must enter only their OWN work through their individual Submittable account.
  • To begin submitting online entries, go to https://owaa.submittable.com to create a FREE Submittable account, which allows you access to EIC entry forms. Each Media Category – Blog, Book, Column, Graphic/Illustration, Magazine/E-zine, Newspaper/News Website, Photography, Photo Essay, Radio/Podcast, and TV/Video/Webcast – has its own entry form.
  • The entry deadline is midnight EST, 15 Jan. 2021 for all Media Categories except the Book Contest, which is midnight EST 3 Dec. 2020.
  • Entries in Blog, Column, Graphic/Illustration, Magazine/E-zine, Newspaper/News Website, Photography, Photo Essay, Radio/Podcast, and TV/Video/Webcast submitted after midnight EST, 15 Jan. 2021 will be charged an additional $10 late fee with a final submission deadline of 31 Jan. 2021. Entries submitted or postmarked after midnight EST, 31 Jan. 2021 will be disqualified.
  • The entry fee for all contests is $15 per online entry, $25 for mail-in entries (except Books, which are $15). The fee for Blog, Column, Graphic/Illustration, Magazine/E-zine, Newspaper/News Website, Photography, Photo Essay, Radio/Podcast, and TV/Video/Webcast go up to $25 after midnight EST, 15 Jan. 2021.
  • Mail-in entries must be sent to OWAA EIC Contest – C/O Chez Chesak, 3420 Lyleburn Pl, Cincinnati OH 45220.
  • Entry fee payment must be submitted through Submittable using credit card, or by mailing a check. PayPal payment will not be accepted.
  • All Submittable online payments are tied to the specific Media Category being entered, so you can only process Blog entry fees in the Blog form, Column entry fees in the Column form, and so on. In other words, while you can make one payment for multiple Blog entries in different topics, the system currently doesn’t allow bundling entries from multiple Media Categories into a single payment. We recognize this is an inconvenience and will try to update this process in the future.
  • You may, however, submit a single check for all entries in all categories and topics. Mail checks to OWAA EIC Contest – C/O Chez Chesak, 3420 Lyleburn Pl, Cincinnati OH 45220. Checks must be postmarked before the contest deadline.

Members are required to pay their 2021 dues before submitting entries.

Your first step is to create a FREE Submittable account, which allows you access to EIC entry forms and other opportunities with Submittable.

If you have any questions on how to create a Submittable account, go to https://www.submittable.help/en/articles/904856-how-do-i-submit.

The entry must be published during the contest period in a printed magazine or on a magazine style website (e-zine).

2021 OWAA membership dues must be paid prior to entering.

Topics:

  • FISHING — This includes freshwater and saltwater, any tackle.
  • HUNTING OR SHOOTING SPORTS — This includes hunting for both large and small game, and competitive or recreational shooting. This includes archery, firearms and other methods. Recreational shooting stories can be human interest stories or stories about a competition.
  • CONSERVATION OR NATURE — Emphasis on successes or challenges within conservation or environmental protection; new discoveries within nature; or a story about a creature, plant or ecosystem.
  • FAMILY PARTICIPATION/YOUTH OUTDOOR EDUCATION — Recognizes excellence in communicating the value and enjoyment of family participation and youth education in the outdoors.
  • GEAR/TECHNICAL — Must be informative about gear; or instructional in how to use outdoor equipment.
  • HUMOR — Outdoor-oriented hilarity.
  • OUTDOOR FUN AND ADVENTURE — Best outdoor recreation story from the various non-consumptive sports. This includes, but is not limited to, outdoor sports such as camping/backpacking, boating, hiking, birding, snow skiing, orienteering, mountain biking and general outdoor activities.

Note:

  • Entries shall be submitted on the entry form at https://owaa.submittable.com.
  • Entries must have been published between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Remove article from magazine or newspaper section.
  • Two legible versions of the entry must be submitted – one with byline and one without a byline. Headlines, photos and graphics accompanying the entry need not be removed, but bylines and photo credits for the non-byline version must be removed or rendered unreadable. (If names and photo credits can still be seen through black marker, etc., the entry will be disqualified.)
  • The form allows two options for the byline version (URL or as a PDF file.) The form allows the non-byline version to be submitted as a PDF file.
  • The PDF version can be accomplished by scanning an image into a PDF format or copying and pasting the text into a Word document that is saved as a PDF.

If you experience technical difficulties completing this form, please contact info@owaa.org or support@submittable.com.

The entry must be published during the contest period in a printed newspaper or on a news website.

2021 OWAA membership dues must be paid prior to entering.

Topics:

  • FISHING — This includes freshwater and saltwater, any tackle.
  • HUNTING OR SHOOTING SPORTS — This includes hunting for both large and small game, and competitive or recreational shooting. This includes archery, firearms and other methods. Recreational shooting stories can be human interest stories or stories about a competition.
  • CONSERVATION OR NATURE — Emphasis on successes or challenges within conservation or environmental protection; new discoveries within nature; or a story about a creature, plant or ecosystem.
  • FAMILY PARTICIPATION/YOUTH OUTDOOR EDUCATION — Recognizes excellence in communicating the value and enjoyment of family participation and youth education in the
  • outdoors.
  • GEAR/TECHNICAL — Must be informative about gear; or instructional in how to use outdoor equipment.
  • HUMOR — Outdoor-oriented hilarity.
  • OUTDOOR FUN AND ADVENTURE — Best outdoor recreation story from the various non-consumptive sports. This includes, but is not limited to, outdoor sports such as camping/backpacking, boating, hiking, birding, snow skiing, orienteering, mountain biking and general outdoor activities.

Note:

  • Entries shall be submitted on the entry form at https://owaa.submittable.com.
  • Entries must have been published between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Remove article from magazine or newspaper section.
  • Two legible versions of the entry must be submitted – one with byline and one without a byline. Headlines, photos and graphics accompanying the entry need not be removed, but bylines and photo credits for the non-byline version must be removed or rendered unreadable. (If names and photo credits can still be seen through black marker, etc., the entry will be disqualified.)
  • The form allows two options for the byline version (URL or as a PDF file.) The form allows the non-byline version to be submitted as a PDF file.
  • The PDF version can be accomplished by scanning an image into a PDF format or copying and pasting the text into a Word document that is saved as a PDF.

If you experience technical difficulties completing this form, please contact info@owaa.org or support@submittable.com.

From newspaper, magazine, website or blog. Three samples required. This can be on any outdoor recreation, nature or conservation topic, but must be a regularly published, opinion-style column, not a general news or feature story.

2021 OWAA membership dues must be paid prior to entering.

  • Entries shall be submitted on the entry form at https://owaa.submittable.com.
  • Entries must have been published between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Remove article from magazine or newspaper section.
  • Two legible versions of the entry must be submitted – one with byline and one without a byline. Headlines, photos and graphics accompanying the entry need not be removed, but bylines and photo credits for the non-byline version must be removed or rendered unreadable. (If names and photo credits can still be seen through black marker, etc., the entry will be disqualified.)
  • The form allows two options for the byline version (URL or PDF). The form allows the non-byline version to be submitted as a PDF file.

If you experience technical difficulties completing this form, please contact info@owaa.org or support@submittable.com.

OWAA membership dues must be paid prior to entering.

A nonfiction work of 30 pages or more on any outdoor subject. A book can be entered in only one book category.

2021 OWAA membership dues must be paid prior to entering.

Types:

  • GENERAL AUDIENCE — Must be a factual and informative book about an outdoor recreation or conservation topic.
  • YOUTH AUDIENCE — Must be a factual and informative book about an outdoor recreation or conservation topic and written for a youth audience.

Note:

  • Book/e-book entries may be submitted hard-bound or paperback; e-books shall be submitted as PDF files on CDs.
  • Entries must have been published between Dec. 1, 2019 and Nov. 30, 2020.
  • Submit via postal mail: Three CDs or three copies of each hardbound/paperback book. Entries will be donated to judges.
  • If your entry is a second edition, at least 20% of the book must be revised or contain new material. Republished books may be submitted only if the republish dates falls within the date range above AND the original published version was never entered in a previous OWAA EIC contest.
  • Entrant must be listed as the book author. Editor (only) bylines are not acceptable.
  • Copies of entries will not be returned.
  • Deadline for this contest is midnight EST, December 1, 2020. No exceptions.
  • Book entries must be mailed to: OWAA EIC Contest – C/O Chez Chesak, 3420 Lyleburn Pl, Cincinnati OH 45220

If you experience technical difficulties completing this form, please contact info@owaa.org or support@submittable.com.

Encompasses all forms of audio-specific production. Entries must be submitted as originally produced for air, podcast or subscription.

2021 OWAA membership dues must be paid prior to entering.

Topics:

  • FISHING — This includes freshwater and saltwater, any tackle.
  • HUNTING OR SHOOTING SPORTS — This includes hunting for both large and small game, and competitive or recreational shooting. This includes archery, firearms and other methods. Recreational shooting stories can be human interest stories or stories about a competition.
  • CONSERVATION OR NATURE — Emphasis on successes or challenges within conservation or environmental protection; new discoveries within nature; or a story about a creature, plant or ecosystem.
  • FAMILY PARTICIPATION/YOUTH OUTDOOR EDUCATION — Recognizes excellence in communicating the value and enjoyment of family participation and youth education in the outdoors.
  • GEAR/TECHNICAL — Must be informative about gear; or instructional in how to use outdoor equipment.
  • OUTDOOR FUN AND ADVENTURE — Best outdoor recreation story from the various non-consumptive sports. This includes, but is not limited to, outdoor sports such as camping/backpacking, boating, hiking, birding, snow skiing, orienteering, mountain biking and general outdoor activities.

Note:

  • Entries shall be submitted on the form at https://owaa.submittable.com.
  • Entries must have aired between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • The form allows entries to be submitted with a website/electronic link (URL) or in audio formats such as MP3, WAV, etc.

If you experience technical difficulties completing this form, please contact info@owaa.org or support@submittable.com.

The entrant must select one or more of following roles on the entry form: Producer/Director, On-Camera Talent, Videographer, and/or Editor. The entry shall be judged only for the entrant’s role(s) in the production.

2021 OWAA membership dues must be paid prior to entering.

Topics:

  • FISHING — This includes freshwater and saltwater, any tackle.
  • HUNTING OR SHOOTING SPORTS — This includes hunting for both large and small game, and competitive or recreational shooting. This includes archery, firearms and other methods. Recreational shooting stories can be human interest stories or stories about a competition.
  • CONSERVATION OR NATURE — Emphasis on successes or challenges within conservation or environmental protection; new discoveries within nature; or a story about a creature, plant or ecosystem.
  • FAMILY PARTICIPATION/YOUTH OUTDOOR EDUCATION — Recognizes excellence in communicating the value and enjoyment of family participation and youth education in the outdoors.
  • GEAR/TECHNICAL — Must be informative about gear; or instructional in how to use outdoor equipment.
  • OUTDOOR FUN AND ADVENTURE — Best outdoor recreation story from the various non-consumptive sports. This includes, but is not limited to, outdoor sports such as camping/backpacking, boating, hiking, birding, snow skiing, orienteering, mountain biking and general outdoor activities.

Note:

  • Entries shall be submitted on the form at https://owaa.submittable.com.
  • Entries must have aired between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • The form allows entries to be submitted with a website/electronic link or in video formats such as MP4, MOV, MPG, and other formats.
  • Entries submitted via website/electronic link (URL) must be viewable without password or subscription.

If you experience technical difficulties completing this form, please contact info@owaa.org or support@submittable.com.

Must be published in newspaper, magazine or online. Cartoon/cartoon strips accepted. (Excludes photographs.)

2021 OWAA membership dues must be paid prior to entering.

Topic: GENERAL/OVERALL OUTDOOR — Based on outdoor recreation or nature.

  • Entries shall be submitted on the form at https://owaa.submittable.com.
  • Entries must have been published between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Submit two versions of the entry in PDF, JPG or other file format listed on the form. One version with publication name, date and credit included and one for judges with byline rendered unreadable. (If names still can be seen through black marker, etc., entry will be disqualified.)
  • Captions need not be blacked out. One image constitutes an entry; multiple images entered as a single entry will be disqualified (excluding comic strips).
  • Each entry must have a title.

If you experience technical difficulties completing this form, please contact info@owaa.org or support@submittable.com.

Black-and-white and/or color photos are eligible. The entry must be published; sold as fine art in a gallery, on a website or other public display; or otherwise created revenue for the photographer or a nonprofit organization as a donation by the photographer, during the contest year.

2021 OWAA membership dues must be paid prior to entering.

Topics:

  • ACTION — Captures action (movement, motion) in an outdoor subject.
  • PEOPLE — Primary subject is one or more people in an outdoor setting.
  • FAUNA — A wild animal, bird, fish, insect or other live creature is the main subject in its natural setting. Human beings are excluded from the subject matter.
  • FLORA — Wild plant(s) is the main subject in its natural setting.
  • FAMILY PARTICIPATION/YOUTH OUTDOOR EDUCATION — Recognizes excellence in communicating the value and enjoyment of family participation and youth education in the outdoors.
  • OUTDOOR FUN AND ADVENTURE — Best outdoor recreation image from the various non-consumptive sports. This includes, but is not limited to, outdoor sports such as camping/backpacking, boating, hiking, birding, snow skiing, orienteering, mountain biking and general outdoor activities.
  • SCENIC — Portrayal of a landscape or other outdoor scene in which the general view, rather than a specific person, animal or plant, is the theme of the image.

Note:

  • Entries shall be submitted on the entry form at https://owaa.submittable.com..
  • Photos may have been taken at any time but must have been published or sold as fine art between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020. Calendar entries must carry 2020 date.
  • Submit two PDF/JPEGs: (1) One high-resolution JPEG as it was submitted for publication or display; (2) One JPEG or PDF of the image as it appeared in publication, if applicable. If a tear sheet or visual proof of display is not available, then proof of revenue to the photographer or to the charity to which the photographer donated the photo art must be submitted. The proof of publication or display must include a photo credit or otherwise show the photographer’s name. The judges will only receive the original photograph (not the tear sheet) so they are not influenced by the quality of reproduction. DO NOT include your name in the file name of the PDF/JPEG.
  • Winning entries may comprise the OWAA traveling photo exhibit during 2021-2022 and will be displayed at the OWAA annual conference. Suitable prints of winning images will be made by OWAA and used for one year in the traveling photo exhibits. Winning entries may be reproduced for exhibitors to use for publicity purposes.

If you experience technical difficulties completing this form, please contact info@owaa.org or support@submittable.com.

A series of three to 20 photographs around a common theme or that tell a story through images related to the outdoors/nature. Black-and-white and/or color photos. The photographs must be published together simultaneously in a printed newspaper, news website, magazine, online magazine (e-Zine), blog; displayed as a cohesive collection as fine art in a gallery (e.g. exhibition where at least one print sold); or otherwise have created revenue for the photographer or a nonprofit organization as a donation by the photographer, during the contest year.

2021 OWAA membership dues must be paid prior to entering.

  • Entries shall be submitted on the entry form at https://owaa.submittable.com.
  • The photos featured in the essay may have been taken at any time but must have been published between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • A minimum of 3 and a maximum of 20 photographs may be submitted.
  • Photography entries shall be submitted electronically (recommended specs: 72 dpi JPEG sized to approximately 14 inches on the longest side).
  • Submit two sets of PDF/JPEGs: (1) One JPEG for each photograph featured in the photographic essay; (2) JPEG or PDF of the images as they appeared in publication, if applicable. The proof of publication or display must include a photo credit or otherwise show the photographer’s name. If a tear sheet or visual proof of display is not available, then proof of revenue or exhibition must be submitted. The judges will only receive the original photographs (not the tear sheet) so they are not influenced by the quality of reproduction. DO NOT include your name in the file name of the PDF/JPEG. 
  • Individual photographs contained within the collection may be submitted to other EIC contest categories.
  • Winning entries may be displayed at the OWAA annual conference, the OWAA traveling photography exhibit, and/or Outdoors Unlimited.

If you experience technical difficulties completing this form, please contact info@owaa.org or support@submittable.com.

The entry must have been published during the contest period.

2021 OWAA membership dues must be paid prior to entering.

Topics:

  • FISHING — This includes freshwater and saltwater, any tackle.
  • HUNTING OR SHOOTING SPORTS — This includes hunting for both large and small game, and competitive or recreational shooting. This includes archery, firearms and other methods. Recreational shooting stories can be human interest stories or stories about a competition.
  • CONSERVATION OR NATURE — Emphasis on successes or challenges within conservation or environmental protection; new discoveries within nature; or a story about a creature, plant or ecosystem.
  • FAMILY PARTICIPATION/YOUTH OUTDOOR EDUCATION — Recognizes excellence in communicating the value and enjoyment of family participation and youth education in the outdoors.
  • GEAR/TECHNICAL — Must be informative about gear or instructional in how to use outdoor equipment.
  • HUMOR — Outdoor-oriented.
  • OUTDOOR FUN AND ADVENTURE — Best outdoor recreation story from the various non-consumptive sports. This includes, but is not limited to, outdoor sports such as camping/backpacking, boating, hiking, birding, snow skiing, orienteering, mountain biking and general outdoor activities.

NOTE:

  • Entries shall be submitted on the entry form at https://owaa.submittable.com.
  • Entries must have been published between Jan. 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Two versions of the entry must be submitted – one with byline and one without a byline or any other identifying marks. The form allows two options for the byline version (URL or as a PDF.) The form allows the non-byline version to be submitted as a PDF file.
  • The PDF version can be accomplished by scanning an image into a PDF format or copying and pasting the text into a Word document that is saved as a PDF. For assistance, talk to a teenager.
  • A website link to the original posting containing byline and publish date should also be provided. If the content is only available by paid subscription or some other kind of restriction, the entrant should provide an additional PDF or screenshot image of the blog which shows the original webpage with byline and publish date.

If you experience technical difficulties completing this form, please contact info@owaa.org or support@submittable.com.

Outdoor Writers Association of America