22 journalism contests for awards season

Journalists who aren't forced to work on Christmas and Thanksgiving are doubly blessed. In addition to a rare day off and a meal that's not eaten in front of a keyboard, they have journalism awards season to look forward to.

From now until April, applications for some of America's most prestigious journalism contests will remain open. So if have some time off and a fantastic story in your portfolio, you might consider putting your name forward for one of the following awards:

Berger Award
Deadline: March 9
Prize: $1,500
Description: "The prize, named after the late New York Times reporter Meyer “Mike” Berger, is awarded to a reporter for outstanding human-interest reporting."

Cabot Prizes
Deadline: March 16
Prize: $5,000
Description: "The prizes recognize a distinguished body of work that has contributed to Inter-American understanding."

The Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma
Deadline: Jan. 29
Prize: $5,000
Description: "The Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma recognize exemplary journalism about the impact of violence, crime, disaster and other traumatic events on individuals, families and communities. Entries should focus on the experience of victims and survivors as well as contribute to public understanding of trauma-related issues."

The Emmys
Deadline: March 3
Prize: An Emmy Award
Description: "The News and Documentary Emmy Awards recognize outstanding achievement in broadcast journalism and documentary filmmaking."

Heywood Broun Award Contest
Deadline: Jan. 30
Prize: $5,000
Description: "This annual competition is intended to encourage and recognize individual journalistic achievement by members of the working media, particularly if it helps right a wrong or correct an injustice. First consideration will be given to entries on behalf of individuals or teams of no more than two. This, too, is in the spirit of Broun."

J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project
Deadline: Dec. 10
Prize: $10,000.
Description: "The J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize ($10,000) recognizes superb examples of nonfiction on an American topic that exemplifies the literary grace, commitment to serious research and social concern that characterized the work of the award’s namesake."

John Bartlow Martin Award
Deadline: Jan. 31
Prize: $4,000
Description: "John Bartlow Martin advanced the tenets of public interest journalism. His magazine stories about labor racketeering, poor working conditions, racism, crime and abuse of mental patients were marked by careful reporting, incisive writing and a palpable concern for victims."

The Livingston Awards for Young Journalists
Deadline: Feb. 1
Prize: $10,000
Description: "The Livingston Awards for Young Journalists honor outstanding achievement by professionals under the age of 35 in local, national and international reporting. The largest all-media, general reporting prize in American journalism, the Livingston Awards judge print, broadcast and online entries against one another, a practice of increasing interest as technology blurs the traditional distinctions between the branches of journalism."

Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism
Deadline: Feb. 28
Prize: $5,000
Description: "The award is given to the individual or team of journalists, working for a U.S.-based media outlet, who best displayed moral, ethical or physical courage in the pursuit of a story or series of stories. The contest is open to journalists from newspapers, television stations, online news operations, magazines or radio stations. The story subjects may be local, national or international in scope."

The Michael Kelly Award
Deadline: Feb. 6
Prize: $25,000
Description: The Michael Kelly Award honors a writer or editor whose work exemplifies a quality that animated Michael Kelly’s own career: the fearless pursuit and expression of truth. The award is sponsored by the Atlantic Media Co., where Michael Kelly worked from 1997 until his death in 2003."

Mirror Awards
Deadline: The Mirror Awards begin accepting nominations in December
Prize: $1,000 or $1,500
Description: "The Mirror Awards are the most important awards for honoring excellence in media industry reporting. Established by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, the awards honor the reporters, editors and teams of writers who hold a mirror to their own industry for the public’s benefit."

The Edward R. Murrow Awards
Deadline: Applications open in December
Prize: Trophy
Description: "The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow’s pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the electronic news profession. Learn more about Edward R. Murrow from a CBS profile and read about his most famous speech."

NABJ Salute to Excellence National Media Awards
Deadline: April 10
Prize: Not listed
Description: "NABJ recognizes journalism that best covered the black experience or addressed issues affecting the worldwide black community during 2014. The Salute to Excellence National Media Awards competition is open to all media organizations and individuals involved in print, broadcast and/or online journalism media. Submissions must cover people or issues of the African/African American Diaspora. Entries will be judged on content, creativity, innovation, use of the medium and relevance to the black community in 69 categories."

Peabody Awards
Deadline: Jan. 15
Prize: Bronze statuette
Description: "Since 1940 the Peabody award has steadily grown from being the “Pulitzer Prize for Radio” to recognizing excellence in a wide range of electronic media. In 1948 the Peabody Awards began recognizing television programs, and eventually cable TV was included beginning in 1981. By 2003, the first website had been included in the list of winners and 2012 saw the first Peabody Award given to a blog."

Philip Meyer Journalism Award
Deadline: Nov. 21
Prize: First place — $500; Second place — $300; Third place — $200
Description: "Three awards are given annually — a first, second and third place — to recognize the best work using techniques that are part of precision journalism, computer-assisted reporting and social science research."

The Pulitzer Prizes
Deadline: Jan. 25
Prize: $10,000
Description: "The Pulitzer Prizes, established and endowed by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism founder Joseph Pulitzer (1847–1911), are American awards regarded as the highest national honor in print journalism, literary achievements and musical composition. They are administered by Columbia University in New York City."

The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards
Deadline: Feb. 2
Prize: $1,000
Description: "In its 47th year, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards honor outstanding reporting on issues that reflect Robert Kennedy’s concerns, including human rights, social justice, and the power of individual action in the United States and around the world. Winning entries provide insights into the causes, conditions, and remedies of human rights violations and injustice, and critical analyses of relevant policies, programs, individual actions, and private endeavors that foster positive change."

Scripps Howard Awards
Deadline: Feb. 10
Prize: $180,000 in prize money distributed across 17 categories
Description: "Since 1953, the Scripps Howard Foundation has been honoring the nation’s finest journalists with meaningful awards for significant work. Over the years, contest categories have evolved to reflect the changing communications industry but the standards for excellence – accuracy, fairness, context, storytelling and a deep respect for the First Amendment – have remained unchanged."

Selden Ring Award
Deadline: Feb. 1
Prize: $35,000
Description: "Full-time or freelance reporters working for a general circulation United States newspaper, wire service, magazine, or online publication are eligible for the $35,000 award. Through their investigative reporting, candidates must have informed the public about major problems or corruption in our society."

Society of American Business Editors and Writers

Deadline: Jen. 28
Prize: Personalized plaque
Description: " Each category will be judged by a panel of business journalists who will award a maximum of first, second and third place in each category (where a sufficient number of entries is received). Ten to twenty entries may be awarded first and second place prizes. Greater than twenty entries may be awarded first, second and third place prizes."

Society for Features Journalism
Deadline: April 18
Prize: $300
Description: "The 26th annual Society for Features Journalism Excellence-in-Features Awards honor the craft of feature storytelling and the people who do it for a living at news organizations and wire services."

Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism
Deadline: Jan. 23
Prize: $20,000
Description: "The $20,000 Worth Bingham Prize honors investigative reporting of stories of national significance where the public interest is being ill-served. These stories may involve state, local or national government, lobbyists or the press itself, wherever an “atmosphere of easy tolerance” exists, as journalist Worth Bingham himself once described public misconduct in his reporting on the nation’s capital."

Know an important award contest I'm forgetting? Send me an email at bmullin@poynter.org and I'll add it to the list!

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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.

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