Journalists from RFE/RL's 19 broadcast services as well as its Central Newsroom are encouraged to submit content they consider deserving of recognition, to be evaluated by a jury of their peers. Each service or unit can submit up to four entries during each evaluation cycle. Until recently, the competition was conducted on a bi-monthly schedule; as of November 2012, the "Best of RFE/RL" will be determined every month.
Content can be submitted in one of four categories:
News & Current Affairs (Breaking news or lead story, analysis, stringer’s report from the scene, political round table or other content a service deems appropriate)
Features (Longer-form coverage of a social, economic or cultural issue, a human interest story, investigative report, or interview)
Multimedia (Videos, photo essays, sound slide shows or other multimedia content)
Innovation (New media project, blog, or other innovation on any platform)
Submissions can be produced by an individual service or be a broadly based project that brought together members of several RFE/RL services or units to produce a more compelling and informative account. Most importantly, the entries need to deal with a newsworthy political, social or economic issue, national or international. The report must be accurate and timely, contain information of added value not readily available from other news sources, and must tell the listener or reader why they should care about the issue. Last but not least, the content should reflect a focus on RFE/RL's mission.