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 we administer here at the Nieman Foundation that have deadlines looming: The Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism and the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers.
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, Diana Henriques, Bill Dedman, and other great journalists. We accept entries from newspapers, magazines, and online-only outlets (sorry, broadcasters).
The deadline is coming up quick, though: Entries must be postmarked by this Friday, January 14. So get cracking! Entry details here.
The second prize is the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers. The prize was established by the family that published The Boston Globe for more than a century, in particular Globe chairman emeritus William O. Taylor. The purpose of the award is “to encourage fairness in news coverage by America’s daily newspapers”:
The guidelines for the Taylor Fairness Award do not offer a definition of fairness. This is deliberate, recognizing that elements of fairness in journalism are diverse and do not easily lend themselves to a precise definition for a journalism competition.
Past winners include the Chicago Tribune, The Hartford Courant, The Charlotte Observer, The Sacramento Bee, and the Globe itself. First prize is $10,000. The contest is only open to newspapers and their websites. You’ve got a little more time to apply for this one: Friday, January 21 is the deadline. Details here.