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Jan. 5, 2010, 10:30 a.m.

Two awards to know about: Worth Bingham and Grantham

January is awards entry season in newsrooms across the country — the time when copy machines burn through countless toner cartridges, churning out copies of that great story you wrote back in April, the one that got the mayor thrown in jail.

And since more journalists are facing financial difficulties these days, it’s worth appreciating the journalism awards that attach a goodly-sized chunk of money to the prestige that comes with winning. I want to let you know about two such prizes that have deadlines looming.

First is the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism. This is a prize we administer here at the Nieman Foundation, named for the late reporter and member of the storied Bingham journalism family. You can read all about the prize here, but here’s the description:

The 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 there exists an “atmosphere of easy tolerance” that Worth Bingham himself once described in his reporting on the nation’s capital. The investigative reporting may cover actual violations of the law, rule or code; lax or ineffective administration or enforcement; or activities which create conflicts of interest, entail excessive secrecy or otherwise raise questions of propriety.

In other words, good old fashioned watchdog reporting. The winner of the Worth Bingham Prize will receive $20,000; past winners include Seymour Hersh, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Dana Priest, Anne Hull, Diane Henriques, Bill Dedman and other great journalists. And this year, we’re accepting applications from online-only outlets as well.

The deadline is coming up quick, though: Entries must be postmarked by this Friday, January 8. So get cracking.

The other prize hasn’t been around as long as the Worth Bingham, but it has an even larger dollar amount attached. It’s the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment and, as you might surmise from the name, it honors the best environmental reporting of the year. And first place is $75,000. About the prize:

The purpose of the Prize is to encourage outstanding coverage of the environment, to recognize reporting that has the potential to bring about constructive change, and to broadly disseminate the Prize-winning story to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental and natural resource issues.

(Disclosure: I sit on the advisory board of the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting at the University of Rhode Island, which administers the Grantham Prize.)

You’ve got a little more time to get that application ready: The deadline is February 1 (except for book-length entries, which are due sooner). Much more about the prize here.

POSTED     Jan. 5, 2010, 10:30 a.m.
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