2020 Eyes of History: Digital Storytelling Contest Information and Rules

 Deadline Extended To: Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, at 11:59PM EST 
Entry Fee: $56

Eligibility & FeesCategoriesContest NotesEnter Now


  • At least one member of a project must meet eligibility requirements for WHNPA membership to enter the Digital Storytelling Contest. This member must be a primary producer of the story or multimedia package entered. Entrants must specify in their entry notes which person did which parts of the project and roughly what percentage of the work they did.
  • All entries must have been published on or after January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019.
  • Entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. EST on January 31, 2020.
  • Entries may not be re-edited in any way after the deadline or for the purposes of submission in this contest.
  • A single piece may only be entered in one category – with the exception of Multimedia Journalist of the Year.
  • Entrants must submit a combination of uploaded files and URLs. Standalone videos, with the exception of the “Best Multimedia Package” category, must have all credits and company branding removed from the file and uploaded to our system. See the “Contest Notes” section for more information, including specific file requirements.
  • Only videos originally produced for web-based viewing will be accepted in the WHNPA Digital Storytelling Contest, with the exception of Documentary and Series category. Videos originally produced for broadcast outlets will NOT be accepted in this contest unless they were first published on a digital platform. Broadcast entries can be entered in the WHNPA Broadcast Contest. A video story cannot be entered in both the Broadcast contest and the Digital Storytelling contest. Note: It is the entrant’s responsibility to coordinate with other team members to ensure that entries are submitted to the correct contest. Stories that have been re-edited for different platforms can only be entered in both contests if the edits are drastically different. Please contact the contest chair with any questions about this.
  • Note: An individual who has never before been a WHNPA member may join and enter the contest at the same time so long as they meet the requirements for active membership, submit a complete membership application, and pay dues for the 2019 and 2020 calendar years before the contest deadline. Those who have previously been members but their membership has lapsed may re-apply for membership, but they may only enter work produced or published after the date of their new membership application submission.
  • Fees

    • An entry fee of $56.00 includes entry into one category. Each additional category entered costs an additional $15.50.
    • The fees must be paid at the time of entry via credit card or debit card. In exceptional situations, payment by check is acceptable. You must request this in advance by contacting [email protected] to receive an authorization code, and include the code on the entry form.
    • Only one entry fee per entrant is required.

Enter up to six (6) stories per category.
Video entries are limited to ten (10) minutes with the exception of the Documentary category which can be up to thirty-five (35) minutes, the Best Multimedia Package category, which has no time limit, and the Multimedia Journalist of the Year category, which has no time limit.

  • News Story
    A single multimedia story or video covering spot, daily or general news that was filmed, editing and published within 48 hours. Time Limit: 10 minutes.
  • Issue Reporting
    A single multimedia story or video that explores social, cultural or political issues. Time Limit: 10 minutes.
  • Feature Story
    A single multimedia story or video about the human experience or entertainment. Time Limit: 10 minutes.
  • Sports Story
    A single multimedia story or video on anything involving sports; professionals, amateurs, places or events. Time Limit: 10 minutes.
  • Animation
    A single multimedia story that uses animation to tell a story or explain a concept or issue. Time Limit: 10 minutes.
  • Emerging Platforms
    This category welcomes multimedia elements that don’t necessarily tell a full story. Internet memes, giffs, 360 VR videos, interactive graphics, panoramas, social media pieces, and more. Time Limit: 10 minutes.
  • Documentary or Series
    An in-depth video story about news events, social issues, human experience and/or cultural trends. This category celebrates the art of showing rather than telling a story, the employment of cinematic techniques and the careful crafting of a narrative arc. Documentaries or series do not have to be premiered on the web for entry into this category. No time limit but series must be on single timeline.
  • Explainer
    A single visual story that focuses on explaining a serious or light topic in simple, engaging and compelling way. Time Limit: 10 minutes.
  • Best Multimedia Package
    An in-depth multimedia package that uses a combination audio, video, still photography, graphics, and/or animation in telling a story. Specific elements will be judged as well as how well the elements work together in telling the story. No time limit.
  • Multimedia Journalist of the Year
    This is a portfolio based category that recognizes individual excellence in producing visual stories online. Enter a minimum of 3 (three) and a maximum of 5 (five) pieces. Judges will pick the candidate with the best portfolio. Entries can range from visual stories and multimedia packages to websites. Entries must include the bylines and roles of everyone who contributed to each of the stories, as well as a detailed explanation of what percentage of the piece was shot, produced and edited by the entrant. At least 3 of the pieces entered in this category must have been entered in other categories in the Digital Storytelling Contest. No time limit.

The Digital Storytelling Committee reserve the right to move entries into more appropriate categories if the entrant agrees, or disqualify entries they feel don’t abide by the rules or meet the standards set forth in the bylaws of the WHNPA. Judges may also choose not to award a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place if there are not enough qualified entries per category. Ultimately, we want to create a fair contest that recognizes the best work in our field.

All questions about the Multimedia contest can be directed to [email protected]

File Specifications

  • Entries must be exported as H.264 MP4 files at 1920×1080.
  • Name your files beginning with the category (no spaces!), followed by a one word slug of your choice, and finally the primary entrant’s initials. For example, if John Public enters his story “Inauguration” in the News Story category, the file should be named “NewsStory_Inauguration_JP”.
  • All video files must have all credits removed before they are uploaded (with the exception of Multimedia Project category). Failure to do so may result in your entry being disqualified. Watermarks, company logos and other indicators of the organization that published the piece do not have to be removed.
  • Each entant must upload three still frames from the video that best represent the piece. Still frames need to be .jpegs at 1920 x 1080. These will be used on plaques in the event of a winning piece.
  • You must submit URLs and standalone videos during the entry process for all categories except Multimedia Journalist of the Year and Multimedia Project..

    Contest Judging

    A public judging will be held at the National Geographic building on February 22 and 23, 2020. Please check the Events page for more information.

    WHNPA Multimedia Committee

    Whitney Leaming (Chair) – The Washington Post
    Ben de la Cruz – NPR
    McKenna Ewen – CNN
    Jessica Koscielniak – McClatchy
    Whitney Shefte – The Washington Post