Robert L. Vann Media Awards


The 27th annual Robert L. Vann Media Awards program, which will include dinner, will start at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 30, 2015, at the University of Pittsburgh’s O’Hara Student Center ballroom, 2nd floor, 4024 O’Hara St., Oakland.  The event will celebrate the best of print, broadcast, photography and online journalism coverage of the African-American community of Western Pennsylvania.

In 1988, the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation established the Robert L. Vann Media Awards to honor excellence in journalism coverage of the African-American community.  The awards program was named in honor of the late Robert L. Vann, legendary publisher of the Pittsburgh Courier, to recognize his personal commitment to journalism and to creating a voice for the black community.

See the list of 2015 Robert L. Vann Media Awards winners: Robert L. Vann Awards Winners 2015.
See the list of 2015 Robert L. Vann Media Awards finalists: Vann 2015 finalists news release – 3-31-15.



Tickets for the April 30 awards program are $15 each for PBMF members and $20 each for nonmembers in advance online until Monday, April 27.    


The annual Vann program helps support PBMF initiatives, such as college scholarships for graduates of PBMF’s Frank Bolden Urban Journalism Workshop for teens, professional development events for PBMF members and community service projects. PBMF would be honored if your organization would become a Vann awards sponsor, which would assist the federation in carrying out its programming. The available sponsorship options are as follows:

  • Half-page ad, $100: half-page ad inside the program booklet.
  • Full-page ad, $200: full-page ad inside the program booklet.
  • Sponsorship package 1, $350: half-page ad inside the program booklet, 1 table (10 tickets), recognition at the awards program and on PBMF’s website.
  • Sponsorship package 2, $700: full-page ad inside the program booklet, 1 table (10 tickets), recognition at the awards program and on PBMF’s website and social media engagement (two tweets).

Sponsorships may be purchased via the PayPal link below until Friday, April 24. Please send 4 x 5 camera-ready ads, preferably in JPEG format, to vannawards@pbmf.orgFor more information, call 412-339-0730.







The contest is open to all communicators for newspapers, magazines, wire services, websites, and radio and television news stations in Western Pennsylvania.  Submitted work must be related to journalism coverage of the African-American community of Western Pennsylvania.

2015 contest guidelines are as follows:

1.  All entries must have been published in a newspaper or magazine or on a website, or aired on radio or television between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2014.

2.  The contest entry deadline has been extended to March 2.  Entries must be postmarked or emailed by that date.  Entries that miss the deadline will be disqualified.

3.  Each entry should be separately packaged to be sent via postal mail or emailed, with the category and subcategory indicated on the submission. Two copies of each printed entry must be sent with a postal submission. Entries sent via email require only one copy and must feature the category and subcategory information in the email’s subject line.

4.  Contest fees are $30 per entry for PBMF members and $40 per entry for nonmembers. An individual or organization may submit multiple entries in each category. An entry produced by a group of people may receive the discounted fee only if all the members of the group are PBMF members. One payment may cover multiple entries. No entry without an accompanying fee will be accepted.

5.  Entry fee checks should be made payable to the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation and should be in a separate envelope with the completed entry form inside the mailed package. Payments also may be made via PayPal at the bottom of this page.

6.  All entries become the property of PBMF. Do not send irreplaceable materials. When possible, include broadcast/audiotape or DVD or digital links to print or broadcast news stories. Entries will not be used for any purpose beyond judging. PBMF does not assume responsibility for receipt of entries or damage for loss in transit for judging.

7.  Entries may be emailed to or mailed to Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, c/o Ervin Dyer, P.O. Box 292, Pittsburgh, PA 15230. In the body of the email or in the mailed package, please include the following information: name of the media outlet, date the entry was published or broadcast, title of the entry, contest category and subcategory under which the entry is being submitted, name of winner as it would appear on award and a phone number.

8.  Finalists will be announced in March.  Winners will be announced at the April 30 awards dinner.

9.  For more information, contact Vann Media Awards Co-chair Ervin Dyer at 412-624-4796 or or Co-chair Deborah Todd at 412-263-1652.


Entries that do not meet the specifications outlined in this call-for-entry form will be disqualified. PBMF reserves the right to re-categorize entries. Entrants will be notified that a category correction has been made.


Materials submitted will be judged by a panel of recognized journalism professionals selected by PBMF. The panel is made up of out-of-state journalists.  One award will be made in each subcategory in which judges find merit. Decisions are final. The judges may elect not to give an award in a category.


Print and Illustration/Graphics (newspapers, wire services, websites or magazines)

All entries sent by postal mail must be posted neatly on 8.5 inch x 11 inch white paper and enclosed in a protective folder.  If possible, send in tear sheets or other evidence of publication.  Place entry in a folder with the completed entry form. Stories and photos may be reproduced or printed out from websites.  For digital entries, editors must verify the original date of publication.

Broadcast (television or radio)

All entries should be made either in the name of the station or the individuals most responsible for the entry, e.g., writer or producer.  ALL ENTRIES MUST HAVE BEEN BROADCAST, or produced and posted on a website.  In the case of entries involving the work of more than one person, indicate the name of the person(s) or the office or department to which an award should be presented.  Videos can be on DVD or be sent via email or the PBMF website and should include names of writers and news channels or websites.  Radio entries also can be submitted on CD.


All entries for print or broadcast must be in one of the following subcategories:

  • Editorial/Documentary
  • Column
  • Feature Story
  • Series
  • Investigative/Enterprise
  • Business News
  • Health/Science/Environment
  • Public Affairs
  • Spot News Story
  • Sports News
  • Sports Feature
  • Art/Illustration


Photography entries can be an 8 inch x 11 inch glossy print that has been published or sent as a high-resolution electronic file.  Illustration entries must be mounted on 8 inch x 11 inch board or can be sent as a high-resolution electronic file.  Both must include cut lines, if applicable, dates of publication and the names and affiliations of the photographers or illustrators must be attached to the back of the prints. Electronic submissions must be high-resolution JPEG images that are approximately 10 MB when open, 170 dpi at 9 inches x 13 inches for the image dimensions.  Use RGB mode only with no layers in Photoshop. Include subcategory information with electronic submissions.


All entries for photography/illustration must be in one of the following subcategories:

  • Feature Photo
  • Picture Series
  • Sports Photo
  • News Photo