A last-minute rush of submissions pushed the Deadline Club’s 2015 journalism awards contest to a new participation record, but strained the online entry system and kept Club volunteers working late into the night on Feb. 27 as they provided phenomenal technical assistance to a few frustrated submitters.
There were some tricky moments, according to Contest Committee Chair Michael Arena, but his City University of New York associate, Beethoven Bong, was up to the task, as he has been through this and previous six-week contest entry periods. He reassured many that while the broadband system slowed with the volume of last-minute entries, those who were still applying on Feb. 27 would still have their material counted, without fear of being shut out by technology.
Before the Club started using its online contest system in 2012, paper submissions were delivered by the cartload in person or by mail. Because of how cumbersome the process was, the Club could handle only one-third to one-half the number of entries as it does with today’s online system.
This year, there were at least 569 entries, eclipsing last year’s record of 547. The total could be somewhat higher since some entries are still pending final verification.
Judging in the contest’s 31 categories will take place in the latter half of March, and finalists will be announced in late March or early April. Winners will be announced at the Club’s annual awards dinner on May 12 at the Waldorf Astoria.