To become a judge, please complete this form. 

Judging Groups
To indicate that you are a judging site and grouped into the same judge entry group, please make note in this form and make sure to list the full names and emails of all individuals from the judging site. All efforts will be made to keep group sites together, however, please understand some may be joined to a different group to make judging responsibilities more effective.

Why Should You Become a Judge?

What makes Hometown different from other competitions is that we place great emphasis on the impact of programs on their communities. Be a vital part of this awards program and take pride knowing your support has greatly impacted the wonderful workers of this industry. No traveling is required to be a judge – your work is done on your own computer!

Who is Eligible to Judge?

It is extremely important a judge is familiar with the community media industry, and understands what community access television entails. This includes awareness that many access centers, independent producers and all involved in creating community media have various capabilities and limited resources on their projects.

Submitted a Program? You Can Judge, Too!
Even if you enter to compete in the Hometown Media Awards, you can judge for categories other than those you have entered.

Judge training

All judges are invited to a training session. Megan will go over the judging platform and important dates. Wednesday, March 6 at 2 pm CT. The judge training will be recorded. 

Where and When Do You Judge?

Judging is scheduled to begin on March 7, 2024 and instructions will be emailed personally to each judge.

January 4– March 4| Sign up as a judging group or an individual judge
March 7 - March 25  | Conduct Judging Round 1
March 28 - April 11 | Conduct Round 2 (if needed/applicable)
April 11 | Pat yourself on the back! You have made a great impact on helping community media. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, expertise and time you’ve dedicated to this project.

How Do You Judge/Evaluate the Entries?

There is a scorecard within your judge account you will use for each entry. The scorecard provides specific items you will be evaluating on a scale of 1-10.

Judges should offer only constructive criticism. Providing comments is strongly encouraged; participants do use feedback to improve their future work.

Familiarize yourself with our Categories & Descriptions and our Rules before and during your evaluation of the entries. Please also read our disqualification guidelines below.

Process of judging the entries on your account:

  1. View each entry and fill out a scorecard.
  2. Please leave comments (constructive criticism only). If you do not have any comments, please write “no comments.”
  3. If you come across an entry where there is a strong conflict of interest (or the entry is from your organization), please email Megan Dobberstein immediately to notify her of the situation: mdobberstein@allcommunitymedia.org.
  4. If the entry you are viewing is not in the correct category, immediately notify Megan: mdobberstein@allcommunitymedia.org.
  5. Final tallies of all scorecards will be tabulated at the F/ACM Headquarters and awards given based on the highest scoring entry in each category.

Disqualification Guidelines

Disqualification is the last resort.  If a judge/panel decides to disqualify an entry for a qualified reason, please score the entry with a score of 1 across all questions and notify Megan Dobberstein:mdobberstein@allcommunitymedia.com

What Should Get Disqualified?
-The entry, or a portion thereof, which was produced prior to January 1, 2023 or after December 31, 2023. 

-Submission does not follow rules specified in the category description listed on the FACM website and FilmFreeway. 

What DOESN’T Get Disqualified?
-Entries for most standard categories are limited to eight minutes total run time (TRT). If the submission exceeds its limit of eight minutes, DO NOT disqualify the entry. DO only judge on eight minutes of the submission and score accordingly.

-If support materials are lacking and you cannot judge the producer’s intent, score the entry low of those questions.

If you are unable to view an entry due to issues with permissions, please notify Megan at mdobberstein@allcommunitymedia.org . She will contact the entrant to enable access.

More Tips & Information on Judging

Please keep in mind that the viewing quality of the video might not be the highest due to compression to fit the 300MB upload limit. This should, however, not affect your ability to judge the entry based on technical execution.

Each category will have a different number of entries so please be flexible on this.

Producer Divisions
Each category has three producer divisions: student, independent producer, and access center professional. Divisions are judged separately.

Overall Excellence Entries
The Overall Excellence award is the highest award presented by the Alliance to access organizations. It recognizes their overall operation and programming efforts. Overall Excellence entries should not be longer than 20 minutes. We ask judges to watch the entire entry and to carefully review the supplemental information. For Overall Excellence or any category that requires compilation, we would like to ensure that everyone is following industry standards for copyright and licensing procedures for music or other creative assets included in final products. 

Thank you for your generous support and time as a 2024 Hometown Media Awards Judge!