Journalism Awards

About

Every year, the American Academy of Religion honors the best in-depth reporting on religion. Beginning in 2022, awards will be given in the following two contests:

Criteria

Best In-Depth Newswriting

  • Written news articles, columns, editorials, and other reporting in any published medium of any audience/market size.
  • Up to three submissions published during the previous calendar year, January 1 through December 31.

Best In-Depth Multimedia Journalism

  • Broadcast, radio, podcast, interactives, or other multimedia news media distributed for any audience or market size.
  • Up to three submission packages are accepted per entry, each defined as a single act of reporting inclusive of print and media files. Submissions must have been published during the previous calendar year, January 1 through December 31. 
  • Submissions include religion reporting that utilizes audio, visual, or other digital technologies to tell stories about religion.
  • News commentary or opinion is not eligible.
  • Submissions should be submitted as stable URLs.
  • If any URL points behind a paywall or file protection, password and login information required.
  • Three packages are not to exceed 60 minutes in total.  

Timeline

  • Annual submission date is March 14 for reporting published the previous calendar year (January 1 through December 31).
  • Winners are usually announced in June.

Eligibility

  • Applicants may only submit to one of these two award categories in any given year.
  • Contestants should be the lead contributor on all submissions: multiple bylines or credits are acceptable, provided that the contestant identifies the multi-authored submission, and demonstrates that they did most of the reporting.
  • Eligible submissions should adhere to journalist standards of editorial independence.
  • Non-English language reporting is acceptable if translated into English. Copies of the original reporting must be included with the submission.
  • Reporting as part of a series is acceptable. However, other eligibility items should be considered, such as the number of entries per entry, and use of research or perspectives of scholars.
  • Membership in the American Academy of Religion is not required. 

Evaluation

  • The award committee will confer awards only when the nominations received are of high quality.
  • Reporting for the general public is preferred.
  • The committee will use a five-point scale (excellent, very good, good, fair, poor) to evaluate the following criteria:
    • (1) Reporting should consist of a historical, explanatory, or contextual approach to the subject matter while integrating a depth and breadth of academic research or scholars as sources.
    • (2) The subject matter may include any topic that advances the understanding of religious issues in the public sphere.
    • (3) Communicating to various publics, including journalism on a diversity of topics, either across traditions or within a single tradition.
    • (4) Effectively using the medium’s tools to advance the public understanding of religion. 

Jury

Each award is evaluated by a jury of two current or former journalists, plus a representative from the AAR’s Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion, which oversees the contest.

Submission Instructions

  • For Best In-Depth Newswriting, submit entries as a single PDF or Doc file using the online form provided. Mailed submissions will not be accepted. 
  • For Best In-Depth Multimedia Journalism, contestants will submit entries online using stable URLs. If any URL points behind a paywall or file protection, please provide password and login information.

Questions

For contest questions, contact Marion Pierre at [email protected].

Status

Closed. The award cycle will reopen in 2022.

Annual Deadline

March 14

Entry Fee

$25

Award Amounts

for Each Award

First place: $500
Second place: $150
Third place: $100
Second and third place awarded at discretion of judges.