Best News Feature (BNF)

The Best News Feature (BNF) award honors exceptional news features reported worldwide on any platform.

Entries to this category should be fact-based stories — whether local, national, or international — created to uncover and interpret a current event or pressing issues, often on a tight deadline. Enterprising work that brings underreported stories to light is encouraged. News Features may also include journalistic formats beyond traditional documentary, including the two-way, essay, and other forms used in radio and podcasts.

Excited to enter the Best News Feature category? Get prepared by reviewing the information below.

About this Category


The Best News Feature (BNF) category is one of the original categories in the Third Coast/RHDF Competition. There is one Award-Winner in this category, honored with a cash prize, unique physical award, and recognition around the world, including a public showcase of comments by the judges. We now offer a list of Third Coast Finalists in this category, announced alongside Award-winners. Learn more about all of our Competition Offerings, and share your input to help us expand them in the future.

Eligibility Information

Length: 0-20 minutes
Publication: Must have been published between September 1, 2020 and March 10, 2023
Format: One single audio file. All advertisements or sponsorship segments must be removed from the audio file — this includes previews for upcoming episodes of this or other programs.
Language: There are no language requirements for this category. If you are entering work in a non-English language, you must provide a translated transcript.

Entry Rates

For the cheapest rates, enter before our Early Deadline of January 13. Check out our complete breakdown of sliding scale rates across all categories. (Don’t worry, the entry form will also guide you through to determine your rate!)

Note: as a Pilot Offering this year, we're honoring our Early Deadline rates through the Final Deadline for all non-English Language entries in any category.

Rates are shaped by our Collective Pricing philosophy, which distributes cost according to entrants’ access to resources.

Entry Checklist
  • Audio file (mp3 preferred, WAV also accepted) with all ads removed.
  • Total length of the entry (Minutes:Seconds)
  • Link to a published version of the story
  • Full credits (host, producer, sound designer, editor, etc.)
  • Descriptive summary of your entry (150 words or fewer)
  • Transcript (optional for English-language entries, required for non-English)

Best News Feature FAQ

How do I know if my entry is a News Feature?

Best News Feature entries are 0-20-minute-long pieces that should be driven by an event or a news-peg, however big or small, and proceed from there. These stories are often locally-focused, community driven, and made on a short deadline. It's okay if, by the time of submission, BNF content feels dated from a news perspective; we’re interested in BNF entries capturing a moment in time. BNF entries are eligible to additionally be considered for Best New Artist and Impact.

If your piece falls outside of this description, it probably better qualifies as BD or BDS. And if we think you’ve mis-categorized your piece, and we think it would be more competitive in a different category, we’ll move it on our end.

Do I need to be a journalist, or work for a news organization to enter this category?

No. Eligibility for this category is determined by the work itself, not by the maker’s credentials.

Missing something? Check the General FAQ or read through the Competition Entry Guide.

Past Recipients

2020 Diary of a HomeSchooler

Sarah Alli-Brown is sixteen-years-old. She’s a high school junior whose school has been shuttered for months because of the coronavirus.

2018 Overnight in the E.R.

For most of the past decade, if a child or teenager got shot in Miami–Dade County, they would be taken to one place: the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.