The Keystone Media Awards reinforce excellence by individuals in the news media profession, by recognizing journalism that consistently provides relevance, integrity, and initiative in serving readers and audiences, and faithfully fulfills its First Amendment rights/responsibilities. Further, the Keystone Media Awards stimulate journalists to improve their craft and ultimately improve their community.

The Specialty Categories within the Keystone Media Awards Contest recognize specific individuals or areas within news organizations in print, digital and/or broadcast. The winner of each of these Specialty Categories will receive a special award, and in some cases, a cash prize. See the contest rules for details.

The Calkins Family Distinguished Video Award recognizes one entry package – across all circulation divisions – for the best use of video by an individual (no team or staff entries). Videos can involve breaking and ongoing news, features and/or sports and can be supplements to print coverage and/or online only productions. Three different videos must be submitted, along with a cover letter to explain the use, background, and impact of the videos. Sponsored by the Calkins Family.

Since 1987, the purpose of the Distinguished Writing Award is to showcase quality writing. The award is judged solely on the quality of writing, without regard to circulation or category. This category is open to individual writers only – no team entries. 

The First Amendment Award is presented to a broadcast company for a distinguished contribution to freedom of the press. Entries will exemplify the spirit and intent of the First Amendment and should demonstrate the news organization’s ability to fulfill its public service role and to overcome obstacles in gathering information. The recipient committed all necessary resources to overcome obstacles on behalf of the unrestricted flow of information vital to free society. By so doing, the recipient has served the public and has honored journalism.

The Freelance Journalist of the Year Award recognizes a talented freelance journalist for outstanding contributions to a newsroom. Freelancers may be part time or full time, but must not be employees of the news organization. They may be independent writers, photographers, videographers or designers who work on a contract basis only. Work must be published through an eligible PNA member or non-member news organization and that organization must nominate them for this special recognition.

The G. Richard Dew Award, the PNA’s most prestigious honor for outstanding journalism, was established in memory of G. Richard Dew, former general manager of PNA (then named PNPA) and former executive director of the Pennsylvania Society of News Editors (PSNE). This award is given to an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the community or state through an article or series of articles published in print and/or online, that demonstrate improvement in the quality of community life, enhancement of public understanding of the role of the news media, and journalistic responsiveness to matters of public interest. 

The John V.R. Bull Freedom of Information Award, created in 2002 in honor of the retired Philadelphia Inquirer editor who also was a founding member and leader of the First Amendment Coalition, honors a journalist or newspaper for exceptional work advancing or upholding the cause of Freedom of Information during the past year.

The Lenfest Institute Diversity Champion Award recognizes a talented journalist, of a diverse background, for outstanding contributions to his or her newsroom. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, factors such as: age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, race, religious creed, sexual orientation, veteran status and economic status. Sponsored by The Lenfest Institute.

The Lenfest Institute Emerging Journalist Award encourages talented young journalists to continue in their careers. This is open to professional journalists with two years or less experience (excluding internships or fellowships). Sponsored by The Lenfest Institute.

The Paul Vathis Memorial Photography Portfolio Award, formerly known as the Distinguished Visual Awards, honors the late Pulitzer-Prize winning AP photographer from Pennsylvania. The award recognizes one photographer, across all circulation divisions, whose portfolio entry of published spot news, feature and sports photography shows the strong journalistic instinct, all-purpose skills and dedication that were the hallmarks of Paul Vathis’ 56-year career with the AP. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania News Leaders Association.

The Public Notice Journalism Award recognizes excellence in journalism that draws reader attention to public notices. For purposes of this award, newspaper public notices are defined as those announcements or disclosures the law requires a private party or government entity to publish in or through a statutorily qualified newspaper. Winning entry will be entered into the national competition to vie for the national award of $500, in conjunction with the Public Notice Resource Center. Presentation of the national winner will be made at a recognized national association event.

Continuing the tradition of the news media as the “fourth estate,” the PNA Foundation Public Service Award is presented to the news company that has helped improve the community through public service leadership. This non-journalistic award is presented to a news company that has made a significant contribution to the betterment of its community through public service leadership.

The Reader Initiative Award honors news companies that continue to accept the challenge of growing readership through innovative initiatives. Some projects have transpired into success stories while others have been learning lessons; but every day, newspapers continue to seek new ways to touch readers. This award may honor projects that are both revenue makers and budget breakers.