Robert L. Vann Media Awards

About the Awards

In 1983, the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation established the Robert L. Vann Awards to honor excellence in journalism coverage of the African-American community.


The contest is open to all communicators for newspapers, magazines, wire services, websites, radio and television stations in Western Pennsylvania.

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, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013.

2.  Entries must be submitted via postal mail or email, or uploaded on PBMF’s website by April 30, 2014.  Two copies of each printed entry must be sent with postal mail submissions.  Entries sent via email require only one copy and must feature the category and subcategory information in the email’s subject line.  Entries that miss the deadline will be disqualified.  Winners will be announced by mid-July.

3.  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.  One check or PayPal payment may cover the entries.  No entry without an accompanying fee will be accepted.

4.  Each entry should be separately packaged, emailed or uploaded at, with the category and subcategory indicated on the submission.  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 below.

5.  All entries become the property of PBMF.  Do not send irreplaceable materials.  When possible, include broadcast/audiotape or DVD or digital links to news stories. Entries will not be used for any purpose beyond judging.

6.  Entries may be submitted by uploading them to PBMF’s website using the form below, emailing them to or mailing them to Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, c/o Ervin Dyer, P.O. Box 292, Pittsburgh, PA 15230.  If mailing or emailing an entry, download and complete an entry form from this webpage to send with the contest submission.


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. 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.

All prize-winning entries become the property of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation. PBMF does not assume responsibility for receipt of entries or damage or loss in transit for judging.


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


**To upload contest entries through this website, complete the entry form below.  To submit entries by mail or email, download the entry form here: Vann awards entry form.**



Select a fee. Multiple fees may be added to a shopping cart.