Science in Society Journalism Awards
Read details and Rules below then use the link in the menu to create your entry and complete all steps of the online entry process by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on February 1, 2024. Your entry is not complete until you reach the confirmation screen and, if applicable, mail any hardcopy books or media. Please note that we strongly encourage all material to be submitted in electronic format online.
Still have questions after reviewing the rules? Check out our detailed FAQ.
NASW established the Science in Society Journalism Awards to provide recognition — without subsidy from any professional or commercial interest — for investigative or interpretive reporting about the sciences and their impact on modern society.
Beginning with the first award in 1972, winners have demonstrated innovative reporting that goes well beyond the science itself and into ethical problems and social implications for communities and society at large. We especially seek to recognize science writing that is shaped by a variety of perspectives, because such writing enables us to tell more broadly relevant stories that better serve our readers and communities. Therefore, we consider diversity in topics, sources, audience and authors to be a critical component of excellence. A committee of accomplished peers judges the entries each year.
Beginning with the 2024 awards cycle, the Science in Society Journalism Awards will be open to submissions from international publications and outlets. English-language works first published or broadcast between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023 are eligible. Works translated into English are not currently eligible. Categories are platform-independent. Self-published works such as blogs are eligible for the awards; unpublished works are not.
Books: An entry consists of a book-length work that has been published and made commercially available, either in print or as an e-book.
Commentary: An entry consists of a single article or broadcast that is an opinion piece, editorial, essay, or similar work that conveys a subjective point of view or perspective on a scientific issue of societal importance.
Science Reporting: An entry consists of a single article or broadcast covering recent or breaking news. Written entries must be fewer than 1500 words, or a single broadcast, up to four minutes in length. If an entry consists of a combination of media (text + video, text + audio, etc.), each minute of audio/video is considered equivalent to 350 words. A mixed-media entry may not exceed the total word limit for the category. Entrants must indicate whether judges should consider text only, or multiple media.
Science Features: An entry consists of a single article or broadcast that offers a deep dive into a subject. While the focus may be timely, the category is not intended for longform breaking news. Features should be deeply reported and may include narrative elements, analyses and/or data visualizations. Written entries must be 1500-4000 words, or a single broadcast, 4-12 minutes in length. If an entry consists of a combination of media (text + video, text + audio, etc.), each minute of audio/video is considered equivalent to 350 words. A mixed-media entry may not exceed the total word limit for the category. Entrants must indicate whether judges should consider text only, or multiple media.
Longform Narratives: An entry consists of a single article or broadcast that tells a compelling story through deep research and reporting and strong narrative storytelling. Written entries must be 4000 words or more, or a single broadcast, 12 minutes or more in length. If an entry consists of a combination of media (text + video, text + audio, etc.), each minute of audio/video is considered equivalent to 350 words. A mixed-media entry may not exceed the total word limit for the category. Entrants must indicate whether judges should consider text only, or multiple media.
Series: An entry consists of a series of articles or broadcasts published/produced as a coherent, named series in a single publication (or publications working together on the series). Entrants may choose to submit a minimum of two articles or broadcasts to represent the series, and no more than three, for consideration in the competition. If an entry consists of a combination of media (text + video, text + audio, etc.), each minute of audio/video is considered equivalent to 350 words. A mixed-media entry may not exceed the total word limit for the category. Entrants must indicate whether judges should consider text only, or multiple media.
Rules for Submission
Please follow the rules carefully. Submissions that do not follow these procedures will not be considered.
1. Entries must meet the purpose stated above. Entries about significant advances in science, or a science topic in general, will be ineligible if the relevance to the broader society is unclear, no matter how well-written the entry.
2. All stated word counts and broadcast lengths are verified and strictly enforced. Entries that do not meet length, or any other category criteria, are ineligible for further consideration.
3. An individual is eligible to be an entrant (referred to herein as an “Entrant”) provided that they a) did not win a Science in Society Award last year, b) have not won the awards three times, c) are 18 years old or older as of as of January 1, 2023 and is residing and located in a jurisdiction where the awards contest is lawfully allowed. The awards contest is void where prohibited.
4. Any individual is eligible to submit one entry in each category as an Entrant. All entries should be attributed to bylined authors and producers. Generally, only authors and producers attributed in the submission will be recognized in the award. Publishers, publications and media outlets may enter, or be represented by, multiple entries in any category. Authors may be represented only once in each category. In the case of multiple entries in a single category on the same author’s behalf, only the entry provided by the author themselves will be considered. If none was submitted by the author, the one with the earliest timestamp will be considered. If an author enters multiple of their own works in the same category, none will be considered. Moreover, if an author submits the same work in multiple categories, none will be considered. If an author is part of a team(s), they may also enter a solo work as an individual in the same category using the rules above.
5. Multiple teams from the same publication or media outlet are eligible to submit in a given category provided that the majority of any given team is not represented more than once. A team is eligible to be an Entrant if (a) the majority of the team did not win last year’s awards and (b) the majority of the team did not win the awards three times. In this context, “majority” refers to half, or more than half, of the members of the team.
6. It is an Entrant’s responsibility to enter in the appropriate category. Miscategorized entries (e.g., a feature or news article in the opinion category) will be disqualified. Entrants may NOT enter the same article in more than one category.
7. Work must be written or spoken in English, intended for the layperson, and first published or broadcast between Jan. 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2023.
8. Only online entries will be accepted, whether in the form of a PDF, multimedia file or URL. With the exception of the Books category, and some broadcast content, all entry material must be uploaded online to be part of the entry. If judges are unable to access the entries because of paywalls, or other barriers to access (such as site registrations or subscriptions), at any time during the judging process, entries will be disqualified. For this reason, we recommend all entries include PDF versions in addition to any links to the online version, or the necessary access credentials. While we do provide for submission of hard copy books, we strongly encourage electronic submission of ALL materials.
Important Legal Information
By submitting any entry, each Entrant represents, warrants, and agrees that:
The Entrant has the necessary rights and authorizations to submit the entry and is an author, creator, publisher, or producer (or authorized representative thereof) of the entry. Each Entrant agrees to indemnify NASW and its officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives for any costs or expenses of any kind related to a claim or assertion by a third party that the Entrant submitted the entry without authorization to do so.
NASW and its officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives shall not be responsible for any losses, damages or injuries of any kind relating to Entrants’ participation in the Awards or from Entrants’ acceptance, receipt, possession and/or use or misuse of any prize.
NASW shall have no liability whatsoever concerning or in any way related to Entrants’ travel. International Awardees shall solely be responsible for obtaining any required travel documents.
Awardees shall be solely responsible for all taxes, fees, and/or costs associated with any prize.
Acceptance of an award or honorable mention constitutes the Awardee’s permission for NASW to use Awardee’s name and likeness for promotional purposes in all forms of media in perpetuity without further authorization or compensation.
NASW assumes no liability, and shall not be liable, for typographical or other errors in the offer or administration of the awards including, without limitation, errors in the printing or display of the official rules, selection, notification and announcement of the winners, or distribution of the awards. NASW is not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by internet users or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the awards and assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction, or unauthorized access to any systems associated with the awards.
NASW reserves the right to disqualify any entry or Entrant or revoke an Award if NASW determines, in its sole discretion, that an Entrant has violated these Rules or taken actions that undermine, or are intended to undermine, the legitimate operation of the Awards; or that an Entrant has engaged in, or is the subject of investigation of claims of, fraud, harassment, unlawful conduct, or any other act that is inconsistent with the Purpose of these Awards or with any NASW policy, including but not limited to NASW’s Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct, and Operating Principles.
Use the link in the menu to create your entry and complete all steps of the online entry process by 11:59 p.m. EST on February 1, 2024. Your entry is not complete until you receive a confirmation email.
Entries can be provided either as a PDF (maximum size 10 MB), multimedia file or as a URL. Please note that URLs must be freely accessible at least through October 2024 to be considered for the awards. Entries that are not accessible at the time of judging will not be considered. Entries that provide a nonfunctional URL will be disqualified. If access to an entry requires site registration or a subscription, please provide credentials that the judges can use to access the entry. Furthermore, the paywall restrictions of a publication can change over time. To ensure an entry is not disqualified, we recommend providing either access credentials, or a PDF in addition to a URL (even if the preferred reading experience is online).
Entries should not include a cover letter.
There is no submission fee for current members of NASW. The entry fee for non-members and those entering on behalf of members but who are not members themselves is $45 per entry. Curious about membership and want to save on fees? Visit nasw.org/membership-information to learn more and apply. NASW also offers reduced hardship renewal rates for its international professional membership residing in low and middle income countries.
In an effort to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field and cast the widest possible net for excellence, members of AAJA, NABJ, NAHJ, IJA, NLGJA, SACNAS, SAJA, the Trans Journalists Association, and the Uproot Project are invited to enter at no cost.
Please adhere to the following file formats and sizes:
• Documents or e-books: PDF, max 10 MB (to minimize file size embedded images should be JPG/JPEG, 96 DPI, which is sufficient for web resolution)
• Audio: MP3, max 70 MB
• Video: MPG or .WMV, max 70 MB
You may also provide the entry as a web address, particularly if the file is too large for these limits. Those entering websites need only provide a working URL. (For detailed guidelines on URLs, please refer to the “To Enter” section.)
File too large or have a hard copy book? We strongly encourage electronic uploads for all entries, including books. The 70 MB limit for uploaded audio and video should be sufficient for the majority of entries, e.g. ~24 minutes of audio with a 3:1 compression ratio that allows for excellent sound quality preservation falls under 70 MB. For audio or video pieces larger than 70 MB for which you cannot provide a URL, a one-to-three minute clip should be uploaded and the complete entry should be shipped on DVD or CD. Shorter radio or television entries must be submitted entirely online. If shorter pieces are mailed rather than uploaded, they will not be considered.
To mail books or audio/video files over 70MB: We encourage you to submit ALL material electronically. If you are not able to upload the entire entry, please complete all steps of the online entry process and then send seven (7) copies of the book, DVD, or CD to
Attn: Science in Society
PO Box 7905
Berkeley, CA 94707
Must be postmarked no later than February 1, 2024, to be considered. Submissions will be accepted only at the provided P.O. Box address. NOTE: FedEx and UPS do NOT generally deliver to P.O. boxes. Material that arrives without a corresponding entry submitted online will be disqualified.
We cannot confirm receipt of materials, return materials or provide updates on any entry’s status during the judging process.
NASW will award separate cash prizes of $2,000 for writing judged best in each of the categories. Only authors or producers listed on the original submission will be recognized by the awards. The awards will be announced in October 2024. In cases of multiple authors or producers, prize money will be split between the entrants at their discretion. However, the prize money is intended for content authors or producers, not publications or news organizations.
Questions? Still have questions after reviewing the rules? Check out our detailed FAQ.