Frequently Asked Questions: Piazza Grande Religion Journalism Award

FAQs: These Q&As provide more information about the new contest. Please visit the main contest entry page to read an overview of the contest—and to submit your entry.

QUESTION: Do I have to be a religion beat reporter to submit an entry?
ANSWER: No, any journalist may enter provided the story meets the eligibility requirements. We are aware that in many countries not all media outlets have a reporter covering religion exclusively.

Q: Do I have to be a member of the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) or of the European Academy of Religion (EuARe) to qualify for the award?
A: No, the contest is open to all journalists based in the countries of the designated area. Nevertheless, we welcome you to visit the IARJ and the EuARe websites to apply for membership should you meet the requirements.

Q: Do I have to hold a passport of a European country or of a country of the Mediterranean basin to be eligible?
A: No, applicants can be of every nationality in the world. The requisites are to be based in any of the countries of the designated area, and to have had their pieces published in media based in any of those countries.

Q: Are freelance journalists eligible?
A: Freelance reporters, stringers, and staff journalists whose work has appeared in media who publish regularly in the countries of the designated area can enter the competition.

Q: Are bloggers eligible?
A: Yes, as long as their blog is located in a media outlet that qualifies for the award, and that the story meets the standard journalistic practices required.

Q: Are stories distributed by wire services eligible?
A: Yes, since wire services are providers of news stories for print and online media outlets. However, the author of the story must be based in a country of the designated area.

Q: Are reports produced by broadcast media and posted as text in their websites eligible?
A: No.

Q: Are news analysis, columns, commentaries and opinion articles eligible?
A: No.

Q: Are books chapters and book excerpts eligible?
A: No.

Q: Are works produced solely by advocacy religious groups or for purposes of proselytization eligible?
A: No.

Q: I have produced a story that includes video and audio, and it has been published on the website of a newspaper or on a news website. Is it eligible?
A: Yes, as long as video and audio are complementary elements and not the main component of the work. The judges will be looking at the quality of the text. If needed, the jury will determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

Q: How many entries may I submit?
A: Each applicant can submit no more than three entries.

Q: Are stories with joint bylines eligible?
A: Yes, we accept stories co-authored by up to three people. The authors can win together and split the prize.

Q: Is there a word limit for the pieces?
A: Yes, the maximum is 3,000 words.

Q: Is it essential to include a translation of the submitted piece in English or in French?
A: Yes, it is mandatory. Pieces can be in every official language of the countries of the designated area, provided the submission includes a faithful translation in English or in French.

Q: Who are the jurors?
A: The international jury consists of 7 journalists. Of these jurors, 6 are appointed by the IARJ among its most prominent members or among relevant journalists who cover the religion beat, all of them of different nationalities, and one is an Italian journalist representing the FSCIRE. The jury’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.

Q: When will I know if I am the winner?
A: The coordinator of the contest will contact the winner at least a month before the conference.

Q: When and how is the winner announced?
A: A news release about the winner will be posted on the IARJ, FSCIRE and EuARe websites in early June. The winner will also be announced through their social media.

Q: When and where does the award ceremony take place?
A: The award is presented in Bologna (Italy) at the annual conference of the European Academy of Religion in June.

Q: If I win, do I have to travel to Bologna to pick up the award?
A: The winner is expected to be in Bologna at the annual conference of the EuARe, where he or she will receive the award and participate in a panel on religion journalism. Travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses will be covered by the FSCIRE. In case of a co-authored piece, the FSCIRE will cover the costs of only one of the authors travelling to Bologna to receive the award. However, if the winner finds that it is impossible to travel to Bologna, the winner can explain the reason and request an exception.

Q: Will the IARJ post the awarded work on its website?
A: Yes.