The 2021 RTDNA Canada Awards are presented for the best in Audio, Video and Digital journalism first published in 2020.



You are invited to enter the 2021 RTDNA Regional and National Awards for Excellence in the following categories:

  • Audio-Visual Storytelling *New Award*
  • Breaking News
  • Continuing Coverage
  • Enterprise Journalism
  • Excellence in Data Storytelling
  • Excellence in Editing *New Award*
  • Excellence in Innovation, Sponsored by Dejero
  • Excellence in Sports Reporting
  • Excellence in Social
  • Excellence in Sound
  • Excellence in Video
  • Feature News
  • Graphics *New Award*
  • Investigative Excellence
  • News App
  • News Information Program
  • News – Live Special Events
  • Opinion  
  • Overall Excellence in Digital
  • Podcast
  • Radio Newscast
  • Sports app
  • Sports – Live Special Events
  • TV Newscast

Click on the button to proceed to the Awards Submission Site:


Click on the link below to download / print the PDF version of the Entry Guidelines: 


Dates and Deadlines

Here are the important dates to keep in mind.

December 16, 2020 – Entry period opens

December 16, 2020 – January 31, 2021 – Early Bird period

January 31, 2021 – Early Bird Deadline EXTENDED

January 16 – February 21, 2021 – Regular entry fee period

February 21 – Final Entry Deadline


Mid-April 2021 – Regional nominees announced

Late-April 2021 – Regional Winners Announced – West | Prairies | Central | East

May 2021 – National & Best Canadian Local News nominees announced

Spring 2021 – National & Best Canadian Local News winners announced  


NOTE: Winners of Regional Awards are automatically entered to compete for a Best Canadian Local News Award. No additional entry applications or fees are required. Best Canadian Local News Award winners will be announced along with the National winners in Spring 2021.


Entry Rules

Consider your best work broadcast (or launched) during the 2020 calendar year only. 

Please read these rules carefully. There are revisions and changes since last year.

  1. 1. ELIGIBILITY: Entries may be submitted by stations, networks, syndication services, website and online news organizations. Only individual members of the RTDNA can submit entries. Your organization may be a corporate member of the RTDNA but in order to submit an entry, your news director or a member of your team/department must be an individual member. That individual may create an awards account, and then journalists working under that person submit awards using that account. Please note the director, or whoever has the account, will receive all email notifications and must manage all awards entries. In addition, anyone with the login information will see all awards submitted under that account. Please note that RTDNA Awards are presented to organizations. Individuals’ names are not announced at awards ceremonies or engraved on the awards presented at those ceremonies.
  4. 2. CODE OF ETHICS: The RTDNA Canada Code of Ethics serves as the basis for judging standards. Please be sure your entry follows this code of ethics.Whenever the term “broadcast” is used in these rules, it also refers to digital publishing (via the web, mobile, app).
  7. 3. COPYRIGHT: By entering, you acknowledge that you hold copyright to the material or that you have received permission from the copyright holder to enter the material.
  10. 4.ELIBILITY PERIOD: Entries must have been broadcast for the first time between January 1st and December 31st, 2020.
  13. 5.DEADLINES: Even if your submission is not complete, you MAY pay by the January 31, 2021 Early Bird deadline and benefit from the savings. You have until February 21, 2021 to finalize your submission.
  16. 6. ENTRY FEES: Entry fees are not refundable. RTDNA will not be held responsible for incomplete entries or for entries which are submitted improperly.
  19. 7. LANGUAGE: Entries must be in English or in other languages with English captions or an English transcription.
  22. 8. REGIONAL / NATIONAL: Entries must be submitted as either “regional” OR “national.” A national entry is one that was produced for broadcast in more than one province.If an entry was produced to be broadcast in a single market, but was subsequently broadcast in additional markets, it should be submitted as a regional entry. We have four regions:
    • West               BC, YT
    • Prairies         AB, SK, MB, NT
    • Central          ON, QC
    • East                PE, NV, NS, NL, NU 


  23. 9. MARKET SIZE: Several Regional Awards have separate competitions for Small/Medium Market Stations and for Large Market Stations. There are seven
    Large Markets in Canada:
      • Vancouver
      • Calgary
      • Edmonton
      • Winnipeg
      • Toronto
      • Ottawa
      • Montreal


        • Generally speaking, you do not enter identical content in multiple categories. (See below for details about permissible overlap). However, you may enter the same topic in more than one category.


        •  Exception: Only one (1) entry is allowed in each of the Best TV Newscast and Best Radio Newscast categories.


        • Exception: Do not enter the same topic in Enterprise, Investigative and Continuing Coverage.


        • Exception: A report submitted as a Breaking News entry MAY be included as part of a Continuing Coverage entry. 


        • Identical content can appear in two categories. For example, a Short Feature which appeared as part of a Best Newscast entry. However, the duration of the overlap should not exceed 25% of the duration of the second entry.


        • A maximum of one item (less than 3 minutes) may overlap between Best Newscast and another entry.


        • Each program or station is limited to two (2) entries per category per platform – so theoretically, six entries.


        • Although the web version may have links to the video (which is being entered separately), there should be enough unique content on the web so that it is not simply a rehash. Aside from text written for the web, that could include Tweets, ScribbleLive, live polling, mapping, original audio and video that was broadcast.


        • A network that has several stations in a region may submit two entries per station each as long as content being entered was not a joint regional effort.


        • You may include the same web link in multiple submissions as long as the rest of the submission is not identical.


11. DURATIONS & EDITING: All commercial breaks must be removed from the entry.

    • No show opens or custom opens may be edited onto the entry. You may leave in the existing show opens. The intent is that submitters should not create something brand new to enhance the entry.
    • The story must be entered as it appeared on air. A late in and an early out are permitted. But no fine editing is allowed, e.g. removing 30 seconds from the body of the piece.
    • “15 minutes” and “30 minutes” refer to the total length of the submission. For the TV Newscast / Radio Newscast / Video News Information Program / Audio News Information Program  / Live Special Events categories, you may submit three separate clips from the same program with the same airdate. Each clip may only be edited as described above (10c).
    • Your entry must be submitted in one single, functioning clip per medium. There should be five seconds of silence for an audio entry or five seconds of black for a video entry between the two segments. Alternatively there can be an audio or video “slate” dividing the two segments.
    • Host/anchor intros and extros may be deleted from the submission. A transcript of intro and extro may be uploaded as Word doc or pdf.
    • If the host/anchor intro and extro is included in the clip, it must be counted in that clip’s duration.
    • A host-reporter talkback may be included in the entry as long as the talkback is not edited and the combined clip and talkback do not exceed the category’s maximum length. Do not include a transcript of the talkback with your entry
    • Live Special Events category: Newsbreaks, weather, traffic, sports may be removed to allow back-to-back interviews to fit time constraints.


12. You may submit a report that aired in two parts (e.g. in Sports categories) as long as maximum category duration limits are observed.



      1. Web links (maximum 5) should only be included in digital entries.
      2. All websites must be live until June 30, 2021. Check and double-check your links even well after you have submitted your entry. We cannot judge what we cannot access. If the link is not active at time of judging, the entry will be disqualified immediately and entry fees will not be refunded.
      3. Sites to be judged must not require registration or be password-protected.


14. TIME LIMITS: Respect category time limits. Judges are instructed to only watch or listen up to the allotted time for each entry. You are permitted to exceed limit by a maximum of 10 seconds.


A promo is required for each entry but is NOT judged as part of your entry. Promos belonging to winning National and Network entries will be shown at the RTDNA National Awards Gala

      1. Your promo can be an excerpt from your piece or you can create the promo from scratch. You are welcome to enhance your promo with added graphics and stings
      2. TV and radio promos should run 30 seconds (35-second maximum.)
      3. For web entries, you have a choice. You can produce a 30-second promo or you can send us three high quality screens shots.


16. Each entry must be accompanied by a separate online entry form and the appropriate entry fee. Entries will not be judged unless the fee has been received by RTDNA Canada.


17. An entry that does not adhere to all competition rules may be disqualified


18. All entries become the property of RTDNA Canada which reserves the right to use this material as the Board of Directors deems appropriate.


19. JUDGING: The decisions of the judges are final. At the discretion of the judges, awards may not be granted in some categories. If few entries are received for a particular award, RTDNA reserves the right to combines awards.


We strongly recommend you make a copy of each of your entries prior to submission.

Award Categories


Please click the links to view Regional and National Award categories.


How to Prepare Your Entry


All entries must be submitted online. All accompanying media must be uploaded using this website. Submitting your Awards Entry online is a simple process. However, it requires some preparation at your end. We strongly recommend that you follow the procedures outlined below.

Note: You do not need to complete your submission in one sitting. The system will remember your information in draft form until you submit it.

We recommend you start this process well before the February 21, 2021 deadline.

  1. Only members of the RTDNA can enter for award submissions. See “Entry Rules: Eligibility” for details.


  1. If you are not a current active member of the RTDNA, please click here to become one.


  1. For the next step, you will need your RTDNA Membership Number. If you don’t know it, log into your Membership Account. The 8-digit “User ID” is your Membership Number.


  1. You can now create an Awards Account. Include your contact information. Note: Usernames and passwords from previous years will not work.


  1. After registering, you can now sign in to your Awards Account.


  1. If you have been working on submissions that are not yet complete, you will now see those drafts listed. You can continue working on them.


  1. Otherwise, click the “Begin new submission” button.


  1. Select the appropriate Award Category.


  1. Select whether it is a national or regional submission. (Note: Inapplicable choices are greyed out.)


  1. Select whether it is an audio, video,  radio, television, or digital submission. (Again, inapplicable choices are greyed out.)


  1. Supply the title of the entry, your station name and the name of the person who will accept the award should you win. You will need to supply a shipping address (if different.)


  1. The title should be what would appear on the award plaque should you win.


  1. You have until February 21, 2021 at midnight (EST) to make any edits to your submission.


  1. A separate online submission is required for each entry that you intend to enter into the competition.


Fees and Payment



Early Bird Fee (Dec 16, 2020 – Jan 31, 2021) Regular (Jan 31 – Feb 21, 2021)
  • Audio / Radio – $75.00
  • Digital – $90.00
  • Video / TV – $110.00
  • Audio / Radio – $75.00
  • Digital – $90.00
  • Video / TV – $110.00


Early Bird Fee (Dec 16, 2020 – Jan 31, 2021) Regular (Jan 31 – Feb 21, 2021)
  • All entries – $150.00
  • All entries – $150.00



You may benefit from the Early Bird fees by paying for your entry by January 31 and submitting it by February 21, 2021. The entry does NOT need to be complete by January 31 but it does not to be paid for by that date.


  • You have the option to pay by credit card or by cheque. If you choose cheque, a pdf invoice will be available for downloaded. Print it and mail it along with your cheque to the address indicated on the invoice. If paying by cheque, cheques must be received by February 21, 2021 or the submission will be ineligible.


  • After you have chosen cheque or submitted your credit card information, you will receive a confirmation e-mail.


  • You should now find yourself on the “Edit Submission Page.” Before you continue, we recommend that you review the Technical Guidelines in order to prepare your audio and video media files for upload.


  • Entry fees are not refundable.

Technical Guidelines

For uploading and playing back audio/video files, please ensure you are using the latest version of your web browser: Chrome, Safari or Firefox.


  • All media file uploads must be no greater than 4GB in size.


  • Video uploads are accepted in the following formats: .avi, .flv, .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .mpeg, .mpg


  • Audio uploads are accepted in MP3 format only.


  • Video and audio submissions via URL (e.g. on YouTube, Vimeo, ctvnews.ca, globalnews.ca, cbcnews.ca, etc.) are acceptable if the following conditions are observed:


  • Entry must remain accessible until June 30, 2021 for judging purposes.


  • Entry must NOT be password protected.


  • If entry is contained within a larger newscast, you MUST indicate “IN” and “OUT” times for entry.


  • Document uploads are accepted in PDF and Microsoft Word format only.


  • If you are having issues uploading large video files, please try using Google Chrome to perform your upload, or upload your video to YouTube (with a privacy setting of “unlisted”) and add the YouTube URL as an attachment to your submission.


An entry that does not adhere to the technical guidelines may be disqualified.


Complete Your Award Entry and Upload Your Media File


  • You should now be on the “Edit Submission Page.”


  • In the first section of the page, “Submission attachments,” choose whether you’d like to provide a URL so the entry can be screened online or upload your media file to the RTDNA Canada Awards site.


  • Uploading your file may take a while but you do not need to remain on the webpage while this is happening.


  • On subsequent visits to this web page, you will be able to review/listen to the file that you have uploaded, and if desired, you may upload a revised file.


  • Note: If you have a Word or PDF document that you would like to be considered as part of your entry (e.g. another award citation, a letter of support or a clipping), you can also upload them here.


  • Should you have any technical questions during this process, please email info@rtdnacanada.com or use the Help Button, located in the top right corner of that web page. It will create an email to our technical staff who will be pleased to assist you.


  • In the second section of page, “Submission details,” complete the remaining questions about your entry (air date, duration, etc.) as well as a description of your entry (objectives, results, and any noteworthy elements).


Prepare the Promo Materials for the Award Ceremonies


IMPORTANT: Promos are required but they are NOT judged as part of your entry.


  • You are required to upload a 30-second (may be slightly shorter) promotional spot for each radio and television entry and an image of your submission for any digital entry (which must be indicated as the ‘promotional’ spot). This spot may be used during the award ceremonies.


  • Images (including screen grabs) should be high quality since they will projected to fill a large screen.


  • Radio format: MP3


  • TV formats: avi, .flv, .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .mpeg, .mpg


  • For digital award entries, you may shoot a promo or submit a still.


  • Digital formats: pdf, jpeg, URL


Submit Your Entry


When done, press “SUBMIT” at the bottom of the page to complete the entry process.

NOTE: If you accidentally submit your entry before you are ready, you may make changes as long as the final deadline has not passed. On your account page, click on “My Submissions” at top right. Find the award you would like to edit and under “Actions” you should be able to click on Edit.

Good Luck!


Entry FAQs



Q:        What happened to the multiplatform option for category submissions?  

A:        Because most news organizations are integrated, delivering coverage on various platforms (TV, radio, online, podcasts) we have changed RTDNA platform categories to VIDEO, AUDIO and DIGITAL. This means a news organization can submit an entry no matter how it was delivered. For example: a video news story that appeared on a traditional TV newscast could compete against a video news story that appeared online only.



Q:        There is no longer a diversity category? Why?  

A:        The RTDNA believes including diverse voices, interviews and content in all news stories is important. It is why, after consultation with a committee reviewing award categories, it was decided to include recognizing diversity in the community as a criteria for every entry, not as a stand-alone award.



Q:        I would like to submit a digital Breaking News entry. The story developed over several days. How much coverage can I submit?

A:         You may submit coverage from when the first story was published. Include that first story in your entry. If that is too limiting, consider entering Continuing Coverage.



Q:        I work on a program that is broadcast in all three territories. Should that be entered as Regional or National?

A:         Regional. Although the three territories cover a huge geographical area, we are talking about a total population of only 110,000. It would be unfair to make an entry like that compete against a genuine National entry that theoretically covers a country of 35 million.



Q:        Our item was broadcast (in slightly different versions) both regionally and on the network? Can we enter both?

A:         Not usually. You really can only get one kick at the can. It depends on the original intent when produced – for regional or national broadcast. If the answer in this case was “both” (which is unusual but not impossible) then you could choose one or the other, regional OR national. The only time that two might be permissible is if the final products were radically different (radically does not mean a shortened version.) Please contact RTDNA before you enter a similar item for both regional and national awards.



Q:        Coverage of our local election started on TV, then continued online (only) and then returned to TV at the end of the evening. Can we include an URL for the online coverage as part of our TV entry?

A:         Yes. But the judges will consider the video portion of the website only. In other words, they will NOT take into consideration any articles, interactives, audio, etc. as part of a TV entry.



Q:        In our digital entry, can I submit articles written by our co-production partners that appeared on our website?

A:         Yes. Since they appeared on your website, you may include them.



Q:        Can I submit a 2-part radio story for the Excellence in Sound Award. Both pieces, the original and follow-up, total less than 10 minutes.

A:         Yes, if no editing is required. This would also be allowed in the Excellence in Video category. There should be five seconds of silence for an audio entry or five seconds of black for a video entry between the two segments. Alternatively there can be an audio or video “slate” dividing the two segments.



 Q:        I am entering best TV Newscast. Can I edit my entry?

A:         For the Best Newscast (TV or Radio) and Best News Information Program (TV or Radio) categories, you may submit three separate clips from the same program with the same airdate. A late in and an early out are permitted. But no fine editing is allowed, e.g. removing 30 seconds from the body of the piece.



Q:        For the Radio Newscast, our news hits at the top of the hour are around 5 minutes — can we use multiple clips over the course of one day as long as it’s below the half-hour limit?

A:         Yes. You choose whatever clips you’d like up to a maximum of 5.



Q:        Our story has a significant amount of the B-roll shot by another source. Is there any problem with submitting this story?

A:         If you hired a freelancer, that would be okay even if he/she is not an employee. Do not submit   an entry where a significant amount was found online or simply given to you. The footage should have been produced under your direction.



Q:        Our regular 11 pm newscast covered our local election. Can we entered it under Live Special Events?

A:         If the entire newscast was devoted to that single event only, yes.



Q:        We have a Best Newscast entry and within that 30-minute piece, there is one item we would like to submit for Excellence in Video. Will this be acceptable for judging?

A:         Yes. A maximum of one item (less than 3 minutes) may overlap between Best Newscast and another entry.



Q:        We’re using our election coverage for a couple different categories — mostly with no overlap, but one thing we want to use in multiple spots is our Facebook Live show we did leading into our regular broadcast on election night. We’re thinking it fits as a Live Special Event (Digital), but we also want to include it as part of the Excellence in Social Media AND the Excellence in Innovation awards. How much leeway to we have to reuse something like this?

A:         You could enter election coverage for each with one URL that overlaps between the entries.



Q:        As part of our Election coverage, we hosted candidates debates for all seven of our city’s area electoral districts. The one-hour debates were broadcast live on radio but, in order to embrace new ways of reaching our audience, we conducted the debates in larger venue and streamed them over Facebook Live in real-time. I would like to submit our Facebook broadcasts of the debates for an Excellence in Innovation Award and would like to know if this is the right category for us. Also, we are a radio station but wouldn’t be submitted audio… instead it would be URL’s to the videos. Would that be okay?

A:         Yes.



Q:        Continuing Coverage entries can have a maximum of five clips. Can the same clip have two reporters?

A:         Yes. A “clip” would be contiguous (non-edited) programming. If you originally went from one reporter straight into another into another reporter (and there’s no editing), that would be one clip.



Q:        We did a series on the 30th anniversary of the death of a black man at the hands of the police. Is that too long of a range for this to fit into Continuing Coverage? Because it covers a theme and a local issue, but it doesn’t have a moment of “initial coverage.”

A:        That is acceptable. Be sure to include your initial report in your entry.



 Q:        Should I submit as Small/Medium or Large Market station?

A:         The following are Canada’s Large Market Stations: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal. Entries from ALL OTHER CITIES should be submitted as Small/Medium.



Q:        When filling out an entry, what duration should I enter when linking to an URL?

A:         Leave that field empty.



Q:        I would like to enter a great newscast. That newscast had a great item that I would also like to submit. May I submit both?

A:         Identical content can appear in two categories. For example, an Enterprise Journalism entry which appeared as part of a Best Newscast entry. However, the duration of the overlap should not exceed 25% of the duration of the second entry.



Q:        Can you enter the same category in both radio and TV? For example, a flood for Breaking News.

A:         If they are different reports – and the radio is not simply the audio track of the TV report – yes.



Q:        My item has no keys or supers. Is that okay?

A:         Yes.



Q:        My Excellence in Sound entry contains commercial theme music that goes straight to natural sound. Is the theme music permitted?

A:         Yes, the theme music is permitted but it will not be judged if it’s commercial music. Mention this in your entry. If it happened to be original, you should also mention this in your entry so that it could be judged.



Q:        Our evening TV newscast goes behind the headlines and focuses on features, analysis and reporter debriefs. Can we enter TV News Information Program rather than TV Newscast?

A:         No. It is still a TV Newscast.



 Q:        Our province only has one website. My city would like to enter Continuing Coverage (Digital) and so would the other city. Can we both enter the same category?

A:         Yes, if there is no overlap on the stories between the two cities.



Q:        We engaged our listeners on FACEBOOK and our website. Are we permitted to submit links to our other platforms as further proof of engagement?

A:         Yes



Q:         Prior to our provincial election, we created a public forum to discuss the options – to hear from the proponents and detractors of each voting option. It was in a local school cafeteria, and live broadcast on our webpage and on Facebook. Huge turnout, dynamic event. Lots of engagement. Does it qualify for Live Special Events Category?

A:         Yes



Q:        When submitting in a Digital category, is all of the material on the page considered? For example, any embedded videos or audio?

A:         Judges may screen and consider some of the embedded content, but we could not reasonably expect them to watch them all. If there were two or three pieces of media on a web page – and five pages in an entry – multiplied by several entries in a category. That would be far too onerous for the judges. In other words, expect the judges to click on some, but not all, just as a visitor to your page might do.



Q:         Is there a character limit for the text fields on the awards entry? Are additional Word document allowed as part of the submission?

A:         ALL of our text fields have limits of 1,000 characters. That’s approximately 140 words. No additional documents may be submitted.



Q:         I created an award entry account and password last year. Can I reuse it?

A:         No. You will need to create a new one.



Q:         I submitted my entry and would like to make a revision/correction. Can I?

A:         If you accidentally submit your entry before you are ready, you may make changes as long as the final deadline has not passed. On your account page, click on “My Submissions” at top right. Find the award you would like to edit and under “Actions” you should be able to click on Edit.



Q:        Can multi-part series which aired over three days be entered for the Feature News Award?

A:         No. Entries for Feature News (10 minutes) Award should be single items. The category recognizes the challenge and art of crafting a single documentary that stands on its own. Multi-part items can be entered in the “Continuing Coverage” or the Investigative” categories, as long as the items meet those categories’ other criteria..



Q:         I am going to be entering a Live Special Event. It was broadcast both in Inuktitut and English. Our bilingual host did the show in both languages and much of the script was the same in both languages. She would first talk in Inuktitut and then repeat in English. Do I still have to have all of the Inuktitut translated into English?

A:         No. You do not need to do a line-by-line translation – especially if it was essentially translated on-air. A summary will suffice. Much more detail is needed for items not translated on-air. But it does not need to be a line-by-line transcript unless one is readily available.


Q:         I have translated portions of the submission from Inuktitut into English. Where shall I include the translation as part of my entry?

A:         Include your translation in a Word document and upload it as part of your entry. To do that, click on the red “Add File” button at the top of the “Submission attachments” page. In addition, in the box “Description of submission,” add a line that you are uploading the translation document so that the judges will keep an eye out for it.



Q:         My radio entry contains commercial theme music and then goes straight into natural sound. Is the commercial theme music permitted?

A:         Yes, commercial theme music is permitted but will not be judged as part of the entry.

Only theme music created by the station will be judged.



Q:         I am part of a winning team. Can I order an additional award for myself? With my name on it?

A:         Additional awards may be ordered through the RTDNA. Please note that awards presented at our awards galas include the name of the category, the name of winning entry and the winning organization. Names of individuals who worked on the entry do not appear on that award. If you would like to order an additional award with your name on it, please include a supporting email from a senior manager in your organization verifying that you were part of the winning team and approving your request. Contact awards@rtdnacanada.com for details on ordering additional awards. 


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