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The American Geophysical Union is accepting nominations for its 2021 journalism awards through 15 April 2021. 

Click here to submit a nomination

The Perlman and Sullivan awards each honor specific stories reported by journalists in the past year (i.e. 2021 awards honor 2020 stories). Journalists are welcome to nominate their own work for these awards, or someone may nominate a story on the reporter’s behalf. Nominations may be from any country, in any language (English translation required), and in any news medium, except books. Eligible news stories must be about one or more of the scientific disciplines represented by AGU. A nominee may submit only one entry for each award in a given year (i.e. one entry for the Perlman and one entry for the Sullivan). Each award consists of a plaque and a $5,000 award.

The Cowen Award celebrates a career of outstanding reporting on Earth and space sciences. Nominations are open to science journalists (or teams of journalists) who have, over a period of at least 15 years, made significant, lasting, outstanding and consistent contributions to Earth and space science journalism for the general public, including reporting, writing, editing or producing. Additional contributions to science journalism, including leadership and mentorship, will also be considered. Self-nominations are allowed, and anyone (AGU members and non-members) may submit a nomination for the award.

Additional nomination requirements for the awards can be found below. Instructions for submitting a nomination can be found here

Questions? Contact Nanci Bompey, director, AGU media relations, at nbompey@agu.org. 

Additional Award Information:

Perlman Award:

The David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism—News recognizes excellence in science news reporting, generally produced under deadline pressure of one week or less. It is named for the late David Perlman, longtime science editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

This award recognizes excellence in reporting a news story or series that meets one or more of the following criteria: Brings new information or concepts about AGU sciences to the public’s attention, identifies and corrects misconceptions about AGU sciences, or makes AGU sciences accessible and interesting to general audiences, without sacrificing accuracy.

The selection committee will also consider accuracy, initiative, originality and clarity. The committee may also consider the timeliness of the news story, whether it was published first, before other media outlets, and whether it contains information of exceptional originality, importance, surprise or secrecy.

Nominees:

  • Nominations are open to journalists working in any medium, except books.

  • A nominee must be the author of the submitted story. In the case of collaborative efforts, those involved must determine who is or are the nominee(s) up to four people, which can include contributors to the audio and visual aspect of the entry.

  • The nominee must be an author who is employed in one the following arenas:

    1. Print or electronic publication,

    2. Broadcast or cable station, or broadcast network

    3. Freelance journalist.

  • A person or group may be nominated or may self-nominate for both the Perlman and Sullivan awards in one year. But no individual or group is permitted to win both awards in the same year.

  • Nominees who have won the Perlman Award during the past two award cycles are not eligible to enter a nomination for the Perlman Award for the current award cycle. (i.e., the 2019 and 2020 Perlman Award recipients are not eligible for the 2021 award.)

Entries:

  • Eligible entries must have been first published between 1 January and 31 December of the year prior to the award year (e.g. must have been first published between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020 to be eligible for the 2021 award)

  • Eligible entries must have been intended for, and available to, the general public;

  • Entries must be in English (or include an English translation).

  • A nominee may submit only one entry for the award in a given year.

  • Eligible news stories must be about one or more of the scientific disciplines represented by AGU. Click here for a full listing.

  • If each segment of a series was identified at the time of publication as being part of the series, the series is eligible to be judged as one entry. Alternatively, coverage of an ongoing activity, such as a scientific society meeting or a natural event, can be regarded as a series. However, no more than three segments of any series may be submitted for judging.

  • For most submissions, AGU will need a URL web address for the entry, which you can enter into the nomination form. However, for three types of entries, you will also need to submit additional documents, which you can upload by means of the online nomination system.

    • BROADCAST/MULTIMEDIA REPORT: If your entry is a broadcast or multimedia report (i.e., video or audio), please be certain to upload a written transcript, in the form of a PDF or Word document, for the video or audio portions, which you can do by means of the online nomination system.

    • NON-ENGLISH REPORT: If your entry is in a language other than English, please be certain to upload a written translation, in the form of a PDF or Word document, which you can also do by means of the online nomination system.

    • PAYWALL: If your entry is located behind a paywall, please upload a PDF version of the entry by means of the online nomination system. 

  • If a URL and a PDF of an entry are both submitted, please indicate how the two versions are substantially different and which is the preferred version. 

***

Sullivan Award:

The Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism—Features recognizes excellence in science feature reporting, generally produced under a deadline of longer than one week. It is named for the late Walter Sullivan of The New York Times, who was the first recipient of the award.

This award recognizes excellence in reporting and writing a feature story or series that meets one or more of the following criteria: Brings timely information or concepts about AGU sciences to the public’s attention, identifies and corrects misconceptions about AGU sciences, or makes AGU sciences accessible and interesting to general audiences, without sacrificing accuracy. The selection committee will also consider accuracy, initiative, originality and clarity.

Nominees:

  • Nominations are open to journalists working in any medium, except books.

  • A nominee must be the author of the submitted story. In the case of collaborative efforts, those involved must determine who is or are the nominee(s) up to four people, which can include contributors to the audio and visual aspect of the entry.

  • Nominators are welcome to submit up to three parts of a multi-part series, or any select parts.  The selection committee will evaluate all submitted parts of a series collectively as one submission.

  • The nominee must be an author who is employed in one the following arenas:

    1. Print or electronic publication,

    2. Broadcast or cable station, or broadcast network

    3. Freelance journalist.

  • A person or group may be nominated or may self-nominate for both the Sullivan and Perlman awards in one year. But no individual or group is permitted to win both awards in the same year.

  • Nominees who have won the Sullivan Award during the past two award cycles are not eligible to enter a nomination for the Sullivan Award for the current award cycle. (i.e., the 2019 and 2020 Sullivan Award recipients are not eligible for the 2021 award.)

Entries:

  • Eligible entries must have been first published between 1 January and 31 December of the year prior to the award year  (e.g. must have been first published between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020 to be eligible for the 2021 award)

  • Eligible entries must have been intended for, and available to, the general public;

  • Entries must be in English (or include an English translation).

  • A nominee may submit only one entry for the award in a given year.

  • Eligible news stories must be about one or more of the scientific disciplines represented by AGU. Click here for a full listing.

  • If each segment of a series was identified at the time of publication as being part of the series, the series is eligible to be judged as one entry. However, no more than three segments of any series may be submitted for judging. (Please note: Whereas coverage of an ongoing activity, such as a scientific society meeting or a natural event, may be regarded as a series for the Perlman Award, such coverage is not regarded as a series for submission for the Sullivan Award.)

  • For most submissions, AGU will need a URL web address for the entry, which you can enter into the nomination form However, for three types of entries, you will also need to submit additional documents, which you can upload by means of the online nomination system:

    • BROADCAST/MULTIMEDIA REPORT: If your entry is a broadcast or multimedia report (i.e., video or audio), please be certain to upload a written transcript, in the form of a PDF or Word document, for the video or audio portions, which you can do by means of the online nomination system.

    • NON-ENGLISH REPORT: If your entry is in a language other than English, please be certain to upload a written translation, in the form of a PDF or Word document, which you can also do by means of the online nomination system.

    • PAYWALL: If your entry is located behind a paywall, please upload a PDF version of the entry by means of the online nomination system. 
  • If a URL and a PDF of an entry are both submitted, please indicate how the two versions are substantially different and which is the preferred version. 

***

Cowen Award

The Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism is given every other year to a journalist or team of journalists who have made significant, lasting, outstanding and consistent contributions to Earth and space science journalism for the general public. It is named for Robert C. Cowen, a longtime science editor (now retired) at The Christian Science Monitor.

Nominations are open to science journalists (or teams of journalists) who have, over a period of at least 15 years, made significant, lasting, outstanding and consistent contributions to Earth and space science journalism for the general public, including reporting, writing, editing or producing. Additional contributions to science journalism, including leadership and mentorship, will also be considered.

Nominees:

  • Nominations are open to science journalists (or teams of journalists) who have, over a period of at least 15 years, made significant, lasting, outstanding and consistent contributions to Earth and space science journalism for the general public.
  • Self-nominations are permitted.
  • AGU membership is not required to submit a nomination.
  • Eligible science journalism by nominees may be about any of the scientific disciplines represented by AGU. Entries may include articles, audio and video broadcasts, and multimedia journalism that were reported, written, edited or produced by the nominee in any language.

Nomination Package:

  • Nomination Letter: Each nomination must include a letter of support from someone other than the nominee that describes the nominee’s work and its importance. Please provide in this letter a synopsis of the nominee’s career in science journalism with particular emphasis on his/her work in Earth and space science journalism, an explanation of the qualities of the nominee’s work that have made it outstanding (i.e. accuracy, detailed analysis, sense of humor, …), mentions of some especially noteworthy articles, broadcasts, or other reports that the candidate created, edited or produced, and a description of any other ways the nominee contributed positively to, and improved, the field of science journalism, including leadership and mentorship. Nominations for editors and producers are strongly encouraged to include a letter of support from a person who has worked closely with the nominee (for example, a reporter regularly edited by the editor).

 

  • Examples of Outstanding Journalism by Nominee (up to 10). Nominations must also include examples of the nominee’s work that provide evidence of the significant, lasting, accurate and consistent contributions to Earth and space science journalism over the nominee's entire career. This can include noteworthy articles, broadcasts or other work that the candidate created, edited or produced. AGU will accept up to 10 examples of that work, which can include work created, edited or produced by the nominee in any language. Non-English examples must also include an English translation.

 

  • Each example may also include an optional 200-word summary about the work, including why it was chosen for the nomination package, why it is notable and any additional context that may be helpful in judging the work. This summary is strongly encouraged where the nominee is not the author of the work (for example, an editor).