Too often there are unsung heroes in our midst. People who have used their creativity and ingenuity to make their organization, classroom or newsroom a better place, but who haven’t received the recognition they deserve.

The Virginia Press Foundation is pleased to announce that it is accepting nominations for its inaugural Leadership & Innovation Awards that will be presented during a special reception on Friday, April 3 in Roanoke.

The awards will recognize and celebrate those who work for Virginia Press Association member organizations and who have exhibited leadership and innovation in a variety of ways. From the mailroom, to the classroom, to the boardroom, we will recognize people who have made their organizations better—in big and small ways.

Help us recognize the unsung heroes where you work.

The VPF will present several awards in two categories—Leadership & Innovation. The award descriptions are listed below in bullet points. To nominate a peer, please complete the form on the final page.

Leadership Awards Categories

  • Promoting diversity within the publication or community – by helping create a diverse and inclusive environment through hiring, mentoring, promoting, training, holding events or community activities.
  • Community engagement and underserved populations – community programs and initiatives that engage citizens and provide forums for discussion to new audiences and underserved communities.
  • Mentoring staff or students – providing opportunities for veteran employees to provide less experienced employees or students with advice, training and support.
  • Starting a new or revamping an existing publication – substantially changing a publication from print to online, developing a new format or design or creating an entirely new print, specialty publication or online publication.
  • Using training to improve staff performance and efficiencies – utilizing training to improve the quality of the publication, increase efficiencies and to help train staff to grow and take on new responsibilities.
  • Promoting civic engagement through journalism – reporting projects or research that shows the importance of journalism to democracy and civic life.

Innovation Awards Categories

  • Using technology to improve your news organization – increasing efficiencies/cost savings with the use of technology.
  • Creating successful partnerships/collaborations within your organization or community – to help in expanding coverage and reaching more readers. Show how the collaboration strengthened the outcome for both parties.
  • Finding new or increased uses for data in the newsroom – this could include storytelling with data (interactive maps, visualizations and online databases) and/or data analytics (using metrics to measure and improve your news organization’s effectiveness).
  • Developing and utilizing new ways to reach readers and/or advertisers – for example, through creating new beats, developing new products (such as newsletters) or using social media platforms and social media.
  • Using multi-media in new ways in the newsroom, classroom or advertising department – including the use of drones, immersive video, virtual or augmented reality and other innovations.

Who Qualifies: Nominees must be employed by a VPA member newspaper, magazine or university journalism department. You can’t nominate yourself and no individual or organization can be nominated more than two times in a main category (Leadership or Innovation).

Submission Information: Send nominations to VPA Executive Director Betsy Edwards at by 5 p.m. on Feb. 21, 2020.

Download: VPF Leadership & Innovation Awards Nomination Package