2024 Poynter Journalism Prizes entries are closed; winners announced April 23

The Poynter Prizes

Honoring excellence in U.S. journalism


Winners and finalists will be announced via livestream on poynter.org at 2 p.m. Eastern time April 23. Look for the program on the homepage. 

UPDATE: The entry period for the 2024 Poynter Journalism Prizes is now closed.

The 2024 Poynter Journalism Prizes are now open for entries, honoring the best in U.S. journalism from 2023. Go here to create and account and enter. Deadline for entries is February 16.

The Poynter Journalism Prizes contest was previously run by the News Leaders Association, which voted in 2023 to transfer the stewardship of its awards to Poynter. Before the NLA took on the contest in 2019, most of the categories came from the American Society of News Editors Distinguished Writing Awards, established in 1979.

Poynter is proud to continue the legacy of these awards, which have honored many of the most notable journalists and news organizations of the last 45 years. Most prizes are named for distinguished journalists and media leaders, and support for cash awards is provided by generous sponsors from the world of journalism.

Poynter has a long history with the awards, which were inspired by the late Gene Patterson when he was editor of the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times). Patterson served as ASNE president, and was chairman of the Poynter Institute, which owns the Times. (The ASNE merged with the Associated Press Media Editors in 2019 to form the NLA.) For many years, Poynter hosted the judging for the awards at its St. Petersburg headquarters and published an annual book compiling the work of the winners, Best Newspaper Writing.

Today, the contest has expanded beyond newspapers to honor work across platforms. Once the entry deadline of Feb. 16 has passed, juries will meet to determine three finalists for each award. Later a different panel of judges will choose the winning entry in each category. Winners will be announced in a livestreamed event on April 23 from the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg.

To receive updates about the contest, deadlines and entry criteria, sign up for emails here.

For questions, email poynterprizes@poynter.org.

The current Prizes are:

The Batten Medal ($2,500 prize) – for exceptional journalism that makes a difference to the lives of people and their communities, sponsored by editors of the former Knight Ridder. 

The Frank A. Blethen Award for Local Accountability Reporting ($2,500 prize) – for outstanding work holding local officials accountable, sponsored by the Seattle Times. 

The First Amendment Award ($1,000 prize) – for the best example of protecting or advancing freedom of information principles, sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University’s Free Speech Center. 

The Deborah Howell Award for Writing Excellence ($2,500 prize) – for exceptional writing, sponsored by Advance Publications.

The Dori J. Maynard Justice Award ($2,500 prize) – for reporting on social justice issues, sponsored by the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism at Marquette University.

The Burl Osborne Editorial and Opinion Award ($2,500 prize) – for editorial writing that has made an impact, sponsored by the Dallas Morning News.

The Mike Royko Award for Commentary and Column Writing ($2,500 prize) – for excellence in writing by an individual expressing a personal point of view, sponsored by the Chicago Tribune.

The Punch Sulzberger Innovator of Year ($2,500 prize)  – for a leader who excels in pushing their newsroom into new ways of executing the craft of journalism, sponsored by the New York Times.

The Robert G. McGruder Diversity Award ($2,500 prize) – for the accomplishments of media professionals who encourage diversity in hiring and coverage, sponsored by Gannett/USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Roy Peter Clark Prize for Excellence in Short Writing ($2,500 prize) – for compelling journalistic writing of less than 800 words in any medium, sponsored by the Poynter Institute.