Q. I work for a media outlet that is not headquartered in the United States. Am I eligible for the award?
A. Yes, thanks to a generous supplement to the contest endowment by The Kavli Foundation in 2015, the awards are now open to journalists worldwide.
Q. If my work appears in a language other than English, must I include a translation with my entry?
A. Yes, a translation is mandatory.
Q. What if providing a translation is a true hardship?
A. We have only limited translation resources available but would like to encourage non-English entries. If providing a translation is a real hardship, submit the entry and we’ll consider, with the advice of our screeners, whether to arrange a translation for the judging phase of the contest. Early entry is essential for this consideration.
Q: I work for a state-funded news organization. Am I eligible?
A. The news outlet must be editorially independent. Questions about eligibility are decided by the awards administrator in consultation with the Managing Committee (an advisory panel of science journalists.)
Q. Are commentaries or articles in advocacy publications eligible for the award?
Q. Are books eligible?
No, books, book chapters, book excerpts and e-books are not eligible.
Q. Are stories written by public information officers or freelancers for university-funded research magazines or Web sites eligible for the awards?
A. No. The Managing Committee has determined that such publications are not eligible for the awards.
Q. What about pieces for foundation-sponsored publications?
A. The Managing Committee generally has disallowed such entries, particularly in cases where editorial independence is in question (if, say, an officer of the foundation serves as editorial director of the publication).
Q. Are podcasts eligible for the award?
A. Some podcasts are eligible for consideration within the Audio category. They must be science-news-only podcasts aimed at a general audience and prepared by reporters. Institutional podcasts from university news or research offices, or podcasts featuring news as well as other types of segments are not eligible.
Q. Are blogs eligible?
A. Yes, in the “Online” category. The judges will determine whether a blog entry meets the standards of professional journalism and is accessible to a general audience.
Q. What about blogs or published articles written by scientists?
A. The awards are for professional journalists producing content aimed at a general audience. Scientist-authors who are not on staff at media outlets or who do not do freelance science writing as a full-time pursuit generally do not qualify for the contest. The screeners and judges, with the advice of the Managing Committee, have the final say on eligibility.
Q. Are there any exceptions to the exclusion of articles exclusively concerning health or medical treatment?
A. To be considered, medical or health writing must have a strong science component to it. It must be more than a look at how someone is coping with multiple sclerosis, for example, and whether the latest drug shows promise. The piece must deal in a substantial way with the science behind the drug discovery and the biological mechanisms being explored by researchers.
Q. How many times may I enter the contest?
A. You may submit up to THREE entries in all, in one or more categories.
Q. Is there an entry fee?
Q. When and how are the winners announced?
Q. How many parts constitute a “series” and why?
A. The Managing Committee has decided that no more than three parts of a series should be submitted for judging, enough for the judges to assess the body of work. The series may have more than three parts, however.
Q. I have three stories on a single topic that could constitute a series, but are not formally designated as such. How do I submit?
A. You may enter them as one group of three unrelated items, since they’re not officially a series. The judges will consider them as a whole.
Q. I’m allowed to submit three totally unrelated articles as a single entry. Why should I take that approach rather than submitting each one as a separate entry?
A. By submitting three unrelated items in a single entry, a reporter is able to demonstrate a breadth of work and a facility with disparate science subjects. Such entries have won the contest, including both newspaper awards in the 2005 competition. But judges also have cautioned that a writer who enters three unrelated pieces must meet their expectations with each of the pieces. If one part of the entry is weaker than the others, it can hurt the entrant’s overall chances. If you have any doubts, it is probably best to enter your strongest pieces as individual entries.
Q. May I submit just two unrelated stories rather than three? Yes.
Q. Are there “Honorable Mentions” in the contest?
A. On rare occasions, judges have awarded a “Certificate of Merit” for a noteworthy entry that did not win the award. Starting with the 2015 contest year, there are two awards for each category, Gold and Silver.
Q. There is no category for wire-service reporters. Which category should wire-service reporters submit under?
A. Wire-service stories may be entered in the Large Newspaper category or the Online category at the entrant’s discretion. If entering the large newspaper category, the entrant may include either a PDF of or link to the story as it appeared on the wire. Alternately, the entrant may submit a PDF of the story as it appeared in a client newspaper. If the story includes online multimedia features (for example, video or audio interviews, slideshows, or animation), we encourage you to enter the story in the Online category.
Q. If I’m a reporter for a weekly newspaper, which category do I submit under?
A. Depending on the circulation of your newspaper, you would submit under “Large Newspaper” (circulation of 150,000 or more) or “Small Newspaper” (circulation of less than 150,000).
Q. What is considered the publication date for a magazine entry?
A. The cover date of the issue in which the article appeared in print (NOT the date it was first posted online).
Q. My name is not given as a byline on articles for my magazine. Is this a problem for entry?
A. The Managing Committee has agreed to revise the long-standing policy against non-bylined entries. Entries without a byline will be accepted as long as the entrant includes a written confirmation from a supervising editor regarding the entrant’s authorship of the submitted work. Submit the editor’s statement as a PDF (on the publication’s letterhead) in the “Proof of Publication” section of the entry form.
Entries with Multiple Contributors
Q. Do you accept print pieces with joint bylines?
A. Yes, joint bylines are fine. Two or more authors on one story can win together and split the prize.
Q. I’m submitting a radio documentary that I produced with the help of another person who did about 1/3 of the work. How should I proceed?
A. You can submit the entry as a team. If you win, you will split the award. Or, if you want it to be clear that you are the primary producer, you can submit as “John Doe, with Jane Smith.” If you win, you will be responsible for dividing the award. In any case, it is important to discuss your entry with your colleagues before submitting so there is no misunderstanding about credit. These awards recognize individuals, including multiple authors when appropriate. Applicants are asked to fully disclose any other significant contributions to the work being submitted.
Q. How many people can be included on an award entry?
A. We prefer no more than four names. We recognize that there may be many people involved in the production of a TV documentary, or a comprehensive online site. We ask that you enter only the names of those primarily responsible for the quality, clarity and originality of the content presented.
Children’s Science News
Q. Because of the timing of publications aimed at children, the stories often are not truly “news.” They often are features, or about the science related to something that was in the news. Do such stories qualify?
A. Science features based on recent news are acceptable entries, as are features based on less timely events and “cool” areas of science that are described in an interesting way that engages young minds.
Q. How do you define “children” in the case of the children’s award category?
A. Up to age 14.