2023 Eyes of History: Digital Storytelling Contest Information and Rules

 Deadline Tuesday, January 31, 2023 at 11:59PM EST 

Entry Fee: $56

Eligibility & FeesCategoriesContest NotesEnter Now


  • At least one member of a story/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.
  • In recognition of how workplaces have shifted to allow more remote work since the pandemic, WHNPA has changed our eligibility requirements. Visual journalists who move out of the Washington area may remain active members and enter the contest so long as they continue to be employed by a DC-based news organization or bureau, or are remote workers whose employer and position remains the same as it was pre-pandemic. Visual journalists who work outside of the area and report to a news organization or bureau that is not in the Washington area are not eligible. For example, someone who works for a news organization in New York and they report to editors in New York, but their company happens to have a bureau in DC, would not be eligible. But someone who works outside the Washington area but primarily reports to a bureau or newsroom in the Washington region would be eligible. Visual journalists who move out of the area during the year but no longer work for a DC-based news organization or bureau may still enter the contest, but only only work that was made while they were active members and still living in the area can be entered.
    • 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 pay dues for the calendar year when the entries were made as well as the next year’s dues. 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.
  • Only videos originally produced for web-based viewing will be accepted in the WHNPA Digital Storytelling Contest. Videos originally produced and aired on TV for broadcast outlets will NOT be accepted in this contest – broadcast entries can be entered in the WHNPA Broadcast Contest.
  • All entries must have been published on or after January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022.
  • Entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. EST on January 31, 2023.
  • 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.
    • Uploaded 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.
    • URLs will be used to link back to the winning videos, it is okay for these to be on news organization websites and include branding.
  • A video story cannot be entered in both the Broadcast Video 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.


  • 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 via credit or debit card. In rare cases, payment by check is acceptable. Please contact [email protected] prior to submitting entries to request this option.
  • Only one entry fee per entrant is required.
  • Please list the categories you have entered in your submission and the total amount paid.
  • Entry fees will not be refunded in the case of disqualification.

Enter up to six (6) stories per category.

  • News Story
    A single visual story covering spot, daily or general news that was filmed, edited and published within 48 hours. Time Limit: 12 minutes.
  • Continuing News and Issue Reporting
    A single visual story that expands on a breaking news story in a timely manner and/or explores social or cultural issues. Time Limit: 12 minutes.
  • Politics Story
    A single visual story about political issues. Time Limit: 12 minutes.
  • Feature Story
    A single visual story or video about the human experience, entertainment or sports. Time Limit: 12 minutes.
  • Explainer
    A single visual story that focuses on explaining a serious or light topic in a simple, engaging and compelling way. Time Limit: 12 minutes.
  • Animation
    This category recognizes the use of animation in a single story. Time Limit: 12 minutes.
  • Social/Mobile
    This category recognizes the art of storytelling for social and/or mobile platforms like Instagram, TikTok, SnapChat, Facebook or a news organization’s mobile. Both series and single entries will be accepted. If you are entering a series of shorts, please use a fade to introduce the next episode in the series and include a title. Time Limit: 7 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. No time limit but series must be on a single timeline with a black slide between episodes. Note: Documentaries or series do not have to be premiered on the web for entry into this category.
  • Best Digital Storytelling Package
    A single in-depth multimedia package that uses a combination of 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 three (3) and a maximum of five (5) pieces. Judges will pick the candidate with the best portfolio. Entries can range from single visual stories to multimedia packages. 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 reserves 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. Disqualified entries are not eligible for a refund. 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 Digital Storytelling contest can be directed to [email protected]

File Specifications

  • Entries must be exported as H.264 MP4 files at 1920×1080 for horizontal videos and 1080 x1920 for vertical videos (Social/Mobile category).
  • 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. Failure to do so will result in your entry being disqualified.
  • For example, if John Public enters his story “Inauguration” in the News Story category, the file should be named “News_Inauguration_JP.mp4”.
  • Important! All video files must have all credits, watermarks, company logos and other indicators of the organization removed or blacked out before they are uploaded (with the exception of Digital Storytelling Package category). Failure to do so will result in your entry being disqualified.
  • Company names mentioned in voice overs or in difficult to remove graphics will be allowed on a case by case basis. Please make note of these in your entry.
  • Each entry must be accompanied by an upload of three still frames from the video that best represent the piece. Still frames need to be .jpgs at 1920 x 1080 or 1080 X 1920 for social videos.
  • Name the still frames the same way as the video files. For example, “News_Inauguration_JP_01.jpg”
  • You must submit URLs and standalone videos during the entry process for all categories except Multimedia Journalist of the Year and Digital Storytelling Package.
    • URLs should be the original link to your published piece. This will be used to check entries before judging, and winning entries will be hyperlinked on WHNPA’s website.

    WHNPA Multimedia Committee

    Pierre Kattar (Chair) – NPR
    Jayne Orenstein – The Washington Post
    Ben de la Cruz – NPR
    McKenna Ewen – CNN
    Jessica Koscielniak – The Washington Post
    Whitney Shefte – The Washington Post