The Victor K. McElheny Award
The Victor K. McElheny Award honors outstanding local and regional journalism covering issues in science, public health, technology, or the environment. Each year, the award honors a single entry — be it a series or standalone piece — with a $5,000 prize. Submissions for the 2020 Victor K. McElheny Award will be accepted from December 1st, 2019 through January 31st, 2020.
We may think of science as something remote from where we live — our hometowns and home states. Yet it is just there that science touches our daily lives, in areas as diverse as climate change, technological upheaval, and access to health care. This is why science literacy has never been more important — and local and regional journalists have a central role in promoting it.
A critical part of assuring journalism excellence is to honor it. The Victor K. McElheny Award — for outstanding coverage of science, public-health, technology, or environmental issues at the local or regional level — does just that. Sponsored by the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the award honors the exceptional work done by journalists illuminating issues in their own communities. While some science journalism contests have “small market” categories, the McElheny Award is aimed exclusively at local and regional outlets and celebrates such work with a single award of $5,000 and a ceremony hosted by KSJ.
The judges are encouraged to honor investigative, community-service, and compelling narrative journalism — journalism that breaks new ground and makes a difference. In the words of Victor McElheny: “The prize can help illustrate a continuing contribution to the maximum level of public understanding of what technology and science are achieving, and what these achievements imply for humanity.”
Entries for the Victor K. McElheny award may be submitted by an individual or by a representative of a publication. An entry may consist of a single story or a series of up to three stories on a single theme. An individual or publication may enter no more than three separate submissions.
Entries for the 2020 McElheny Award must:
• include substantial reporting on issues relating to science, public health, technology, or the environment;
• have been produced with significant contributions from a local or regional media outlet;
• have been published during the 2019 calendar year;
• have been published in a U.S.-based media outlet;
• have been published in English or — if published in a different language — accompanied by an English translation.
Submissions for the Victor K. McElheny Award should be accompanied by a 300-word statement of the significance and impact of the nominated work. Entrants may upload their work using the specified file formats or provide a permanent URL. There is no entry fee. For more eligibility information, see our FAQ page.
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