McElheny Award Submission Guidelines

The Victor K. McElheny award honors outstanding coverage of science, public-health, technology, and environmental issues at the local or regional level — a special concern of the Knight Science Journalism Program’s founder, Victor K. McElheny, whose generous gift helped endow the award. One winning work will receive a $5,000 prize. Submissions are accepted between December 1 and January 31. The submission window for the 2020 Victor K. McElheny Award is now closed.

To encourage wide participation, we define “local or regional” broadly. Only outlets with a large staff and emphasis on a national audience are excluded. We will accept entries on local or state-level topics from newspapers, small magazines and digital sites, broadcasters, podcasters, even bloggers.

The Victor K. McElheny award was made possible by the generous support of Victor K. McElheny and his wife, Ruth McElheny, and the Rita Allen Foundation.

Eligibility Requirements

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 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 preceding 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.

Judging and Selection

Submissions will be judged by a panel of distinguished science journalists. Emphasis will be put on investigative, community-service, and compelling narrative journalism that breaks new ground and makes a difference. In the words of Victor McElheny: “Reporting for regional news organizations is often the way for beginning science journalists to cut their teeth. 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.”

The winner(s) of the $5,000 prize will be honored at a ceremony at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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