The Sigma Awards 2022 Rules

Entries for the 2022 competition are now closed.

The Sigmas application process is easy. The no-category rule gives you more opportunities and fewer constraints to have your journalism recognized. 

When entries are open, just submit your work by filling our online form and our pre-jury and jury of international journalists will take care of the rest.  That’s it. 

You don’t have to think about what category to enter a piece of work in, or figure out whether it has a better chance in this category or that category.  Just send in the work.

Why do we do this?  We find categories restrictive and so 2020.  We want to be able to reward your great work in the best way possible. So the jury members will decide on the best work overall and come to a consensus on how to divide the US$5,000 cash prize. 

This year, we accepted entries from all over the world!  Entries in languages other than English were accepted, but participants had to translate as much as possible so that our pre-jury and jury can fully understand your work.

If participants wanted to be considered for a portfolio or a Young Talent prize, they just had to specify that on the online form and we’ll take note of it. A portfolio or Young Talent entry had to include no more than 10 examples of work, to be added via the link section of the application form. 

Here are the criteria for the Sigma Awards 2022:

  • Entries must be for work published in calendar year 2021

  • Entries had to be submitted via our online form.

  • Entries had to be received by January 14th, 2022 at 11:59pm ET, to qualify.

  • Applicants could enter as many projects as they want.

  • Entries had to specify if they qualify as a large or a small newsroom or as an individual, where applicable. Small newsrooms are defined as those with 35 or fewer journalists (including regular freelancers/contractors), or equivalent (eg, two half-time freelancers count as one person.)

  • Organizations that do not qualify under this definition but who believe they belong in the small newsroom category may petition for an exception by sending a letter from the editor-in-chief explaining his or her rationale to Marianne Bouchart, executive director at marianne@sigmaawards.org.

  • Collaborative work had to be entered as a large newsroom.

  • Entering organizations grant The Sigma Awards the right to use their material in their entry, including the organization’s name and logo, on The Sigma Awards website and other marketing material around the awards.

  • 2021 has been another special year for all members of the data journalism community, and we expect to receive a large number of entries tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we’d like to specify that all data journalism projects, regardless of their topics, could be entered into the competition.

Other considerations:

  • In the future, our goal will be to make these awards completely language-agnostic. But because of the tight deadlines around the 2022 contest, entries in languages other than English should have offered as much translation as possible.
  • The judges appreciate short, concise, and well-curated entries that pare the work to its essentials.

What we’d like to see:

  • Great data collection and analysis in the service of journalism, ideally shining a light on facts and issues of public interest that would otherwise not be known; 
  • Great storytelling and engagement with strong visual and interactive elements of (ideally) that kind of reporting;
  • Great public service, either in reporting/analysis of key issues or in terms of empowering communities to discover important information for themselves;
  • Great innovative ideas that will likely move the field forward;

About nominating a project

All entries had to be entered by their author(s) or someone explicitly nominated by the author(s) to enter on their behalf. However, people could and were encouraged to nominate their favourite data projects via Twitter by posting a link with the hashtag #SigmasNominations. Our team did their best to reach out to the authors and get them to enter the competition.