VIDEO: The process, pitch and case for Svenska Dagbladet’s Best in Show

A behind-the-scenes look at SND33’s Best in Show judges’ deliberation and final vote. Watch as judges explain their support for Svenska Dagbladet’s gold-winning entry about the Norway attacks, and the campaign for it to receive the first SND Best in Show in a decade.

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Video produced by Syracuse University’s Mitchell Franz
Music: Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabriela (rodgab.com)

About Steve Dorsey

is @Statesman VP; relocated Detroiter; Syracuse grad. He was the 2011 president of the Society.

4 comments

Thanks for trying to convince us through this video, Jonathon 🙂
But after having listened to the argumentation, I still think the jury should give us their (new?) definition of breaking news.

In the video words like “on deadline” and “wonderful breaking news” are used describing Svenska Dagbladets contribution. But, again: Terror hit Norway 22. July. We all covered what we in normal terminology call breaking news 23. July. When the jury generously offers one day extra for Svenska Dagbladet to make their “breaking news” 24. July, we need an explanation.

(from earlier discussion, see below)

7:55 am

February 9th, 2012
Arne Edvardsen said:

Have the jury given best of show goldprize in the category breaking news to “a day after”-coverage?
Congratulations to Svenska Dagbladet. Think the covering of July 22. – when terror hit Norway – is excellent. Norwegian papers should ask the question, – how and why a swedish paper could cover this better than us. But, another question is how we define breaking news. In this case I would suggest July 23. for newspapers. As far as I have noticed Svenska Dagbladet’s “breaking news”-winner is datet July 24. Would be ok to see what the jury define as breaking news.
4:58 pm

February 10th, 2012
Jonathon Berlin said:

Thanks for the comments Arne, we appreciate your observations. The judges did indeed consider the date of publication and the nature of how this particular story broke.

We are posting a video shortly of some of the discussion which should give a good sense of how the jury was thinking in this case.

Hey Arne,

Thanks for pressing on this. I think it’s a good discussion to have. We are always looking for ways to make the guidelines for entering the competition as clear as possible. We make improvements every year and we can take a look at the wording of this category as well.

The judges took into consideration how and when this story broke, how it related to the news cycle in Sweden, how the magnitude and questions spread, how the paper responded. How this coverage relates to “planned” coverage, which is entered in different categories.

I think that the judges are pretty clear in their comments in the video and in the previous coverage about why this work is deserving of Best in Show and a Gold Medal. I don’t know what additional information you are looking for that would satisfy you.

They thought, and I agree, that this is incredible work, under incredible pressure, in a breaking situation.

Some stories break over more than a single day. Counting out the dates isn’t the defining characteristic of this work when considering how this story broke, how papers in Scandinavia and elsewhere had to respond. Is it worth arguing the exact timing of complete news cycles and partial news cycles when this is a story that “broke” over more than a day? Not in this case.

Perhaps, though, in offering publications a clearer way to think about “breaking news” as it applies to entering our competition we can improve.

But there is no argument I have heard that takes anything away from this coverage and this award.

Arne, thanks for your note and conversation.

Jonathon

Arne.

Thank you very much for your comments and questions. I don’t know if what I will share is going to convince you, but since it fell to me to allow the entry to remain in breaking news, and I selected the judges, I will share all the insight I can.

First, why was it allowed to be entered in Category 4, Breaking News Topics in the first place?

— The coordinator (this year, me) and SND’s competition committee pore over the Call for Entries every year, scrutinizing every line of every category. The call sets the parameters for entering.

— During the competition, the coordinator looks at any questionable entry and applies the definitions set forth in the Call to the entry, and it is left to the coordinator — and I should stress, the coordinator alone — to allow or disallow entries.

What I am saying is, this year, the buck for this entry started and stopped with me as coordinator. That is a great responsibility, one no coordinator takes lightly and one that no influences, SND officers included, are allowed to persuade either way.

I allowed the entry to remain in Breaking News Topics for two reasons.

— First, the news was the magnitude and gravity of the situation, which I think you would agree, was ongoing and evolving throughout the evening and well past print deadlines on the first day. The isolated nature of the camp and the conflicting reports among two different attacks meant there was no way this event could simply stop at, say, midnight on July 22.

So I determined that the content of this specific entry was focused on the magnitude, 8 dead in a bomb attack, and 69 dead in a children’s camp shooting, and that news continued to break long after the acts of shooting and explosions stopped.

— Secondly, the actual INTENT of the competition committee in having the Breaking News category was also a factor. Our primary concern was that planned coverage not be allowed, that the category reflect the ability of a staff to rally under pressure and present news quickly, thoroughly, and accurately.

Those were the reasons I determined this entry should indeed remain in Breaking News Topics. Frankly it is never pleasant for a coordinator to disqualify an entry a newspaper has paid for, and I did look for every opportunity for deference.

There is a second part to this as well. And this is the part that I can only hope you, and everybody else who may take exception to the Best In Show award this year, can at least find it within yourself to be understanding if not respectful, and that is this:

THIS VERY TOPIC WAS DISCUSSED AT LENGTH BY THE JUDGES DURING THE BEST IN SHOW DISCUSSION.

They brought it up on their own. They discussed it for several minutes among themselves as a judging team, and they all agreed that they as a judging group were comfortable with this not only winning a Gold Medal, but a Best In Show award as a Breaking News entry because the news was the gravity, magnitude and sheer horror of the situation, which came to light on the news cycle for the 23rd.

I am happy and willing to be the target for blame that it was allowed to remain in the competition, should my above answers not suffice. But I would implore you to please at least take into account that every judge with a vote took this matter up and determined via discussion and debate that they were comfortable with the result, and it was not taken lightly.

Thank you.

Josh Crutchmer
SND33 Print Competition Coordinator

As a former journalist — and former coordinator of this competition — I now find myself on the outside looking in. But, SND’s annual competition is like the Academy Awards for me. It is must-see programming.

I think Josh has just written the most thorough and concise explanation possible. The effort here is to explain and that’s exactly what Josh’s comment does. The Best in Show award has been elusive in year’s past and I applaud the judges and competition as a whole for recognizing the quality of this work.

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