A well-written obituary take courage and empath. A strong ability to listen to grieving family and friends. Or at least that’s what people who don’t routinely write obituaries think it takes. 

As Pulitzer Prize reporter Jim Sheeler wrote in his book “Obit,” – “The death beat is supposed to be the worst job in the newsroom. For those of us who understand, it’s journalism’s best kept secret – a place of raw emotion and endless wisdom, a place where you find lessons of life more brilliant than anything you’ll ever find from the traditionally designed “noteworthy” people who usually appear in the rest of the newspaper.”

This best kept secret now has its own category of special articles in the annual communications contest sponsored by Arkansas Press Women and its national counterpart, National Federation of Press Women. Obits join 19 other subspecialties, from agriculture to environment and travel.

For a complete list of categories and entry guidelines visit the Categories and Requirements page on NFPW’s contest site.

APW’s annual communication contest is a two-tier contest, with a state-level competition followed by a national competition. All entries are submitted through the national portal. Publications may enter the work of their staff, but the contest is also open to self-nomination by the communicator. Contest winners are announced in spring and state awards are presented at APW’s annual luncheon.

Contest FYI

  • The contest is open to anyone regardless of age, gender, professional status or location.
  • The contest year includes work completed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Read this past post for more contest information.