Work produced in 2020

The entry system will open for submissions on Jan. 25, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. ET, and close on March 5, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. ET. (Deadline extended one week.)



The awards are open to any person employed in a news capacity by any of the participating newspapers listed on the member page.  Joint submissions from multiple papers are accepted if all contributors work for ONA member papers.

Any item appearing in an eligible daily newspaper in the calendar year 2020. Freelance contributions are eligible provided the content originated with an ONA-member newspaper. The list of eligible newspapers appears under the “Our Members” tab on the homepage.

All entries must be accompanied by:

A memorandum outlining the circumstances under which the story was written. The name of a senior editor or managing editor typed at the bottom of the letter is an accepted signoff.  The name on the letter stands as proof they have approved the submission and will be accountable for it.  Remember, the system only allows you to submit two files per category. Many entrants submit the cover letter as one file and zip all accompanying documents in the second file (scroll to the bottom to see easy HOW-TO zip tips).


• Competitors are limited to (1) ONE entry in any one category, except when involved in a team entry. Eight categories are open to all circulation-level papers, 10 are limited based on circulation (see exception noted below).
• Members of a team may also make individual entries in the same category.

Unless part of a team submission, the same entry CANNOT be submitted in more than one category, EXCEPT under the following specific conditions:

  1. Columns/opinion writing submissions may be part of a portfolio entry.
  2. Submissions to the Spot News Writing (Under 25,000) may also be entered in Spot News Writing (Over 25,000).
  3. Submissions to the Feature Writing (Under 25,000) may also be entered in Feature Writing (Over 25,000).


Judges consider all aspects of news, reporting and writing, and photography.

However, full consideration is given to accuracy, pressure of deadline, results and effect of publication, and individual initiative in obtaining the story or photograph. The inclusion of a memorandum by the entrant outlining these points and electronically signed off by the managing editor or senior editor is required.

NOTE: The committee reserves the right to reject any entry that does not meet content or packaging requirements.

The submission deadline is Friday, March 5, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. ET, after which time the site will be closed to entries.

We encourage all applicants to get their submissions in earlier than the posted deadline. The ONA committee looks forward to assisting anyone experiencing difficulty in their submissions.


Here’s the procedure:

  1. Go to the submission URL: www.onawards.ca/submit/.
  2. Fill in your information in the required boxes.
  3. Scroll down and type in the number of entries you wish to submit, from 1 to 10.
  4. For each category you are entering, first select the category name from the dropdown field, then click the browse button and attach a cover letter (signed by a managing editor or senior editor) and the entry itself. File formats accepted are: jpg, gif, png, pdf, bmp, tiff, zip, doc, docx, txt, rtf. Total uploaded size of all files cannot exceed 20 MB.
  5. After selecting all the categories and files you are entering, click the green “Submit” button at the bottom of the form.

It’s preferred you submit the cover letter signed by the managing editor and the text of your entry using Microsoft Word. If you want to show the judges how the story was presented in the newspaper, please submit a pdf file as well with the entry.

For videos, please upload the file to a file- or video-sharing website (such as YouTube) and provide the URL to the video in a text document, or submit the video, provided it’s under 20 MB, to the appropriate category.

Photo Categories:

More than one jpg can be submitted for the photo categories, but the file will need to be in zip format, such as using WinZip to fold them into one file that can later be extracted. There’s a trial edition available on the link provided, or use your favourite zip program. Another easy way to zip your files is to create a new folder on your desktop. Name it the category to which you’re applying to (i.e. Feature Photography). Drag and drop the documents you wish to enter into the folder. Right-click the folder on your desktop. Scroll down to ‘Send To’ and select Compressed Zip. You’ve just created a much smaller folder that is compatible with our size capacity. Press the “Submit” button.

Please submit any questions to newspaperawards2019@gmail.com.