Journalism Awards


The American Academy of Religion honors the best in-depth reporting on religion through the AAR Journalism Awards, a program of the AAR's Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion. (View a list of past winners and sample articles)

Awards will be given in the following two categories:

  • Best In-Depth Newswriting
  • Best In-Depth Multimedia Journalism

Be sure to review our two-step submission process. See our submission instructions below.


  • Membership in the American Academy of Religion is not required.
  • Applicants may only submit to one of the two award categories in any given year.
  • An entry fee of $25 (USD) is required for each submission.
  • Reporting must have been published during the previous calendar year, January 1 through December 31.
  • Applicants must 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.


Best In-Depth Newswriting

  • Written news articles, columns, editorials, and other reporting in any published medium of any audience/market size.
  • Up to three (3) submissions are accepted per entry.

Best In-Depth Multimedia Journalism

  • Broadcast, radio, podcast, interactives, or other multimedia news media distributed for any audience or market size.
  • Submissions include religion reporting that utilizes audio, visual, or other digital technologies to tell stories about religion.
  • News commentary or opinion is not eligible.
  • Up to three (3) submission packages are accepted per entry, each defined as a single act of reporting inclusive of print and media files.
  • The total of the three (3) packages is not to exceed 60 minutes.

Submission Instructions

The nomination submission process consists of two (2) steps:

Step 1: Submit $25.00 Payment
Payment must be submitted via an online form. Once the payment has been made, you will be provided with a link to the AAR Award Nominations Portal for Step 2.

Step 2: Complete a nomination form and upload submission materials 
The nomination materials required for each of the award categories must be submitted as follows:

  • Best In-Depth Newswriting: Entries must be submitted as a single PDF or Doc file.
  • Best In-Depth Multimedia Journalism: Entries must be submitted using stable URLs.

Nomination items must not be behind paywalls.

 Please note that both steps of the submission process must be completed for a nomination to be eligible for consideration.

For each nominated journalist, the payment of $25.00 (USD), completed nomination form and submission materials must be submitted by the deadline.

Late, emailed, or incomplete payments, nomination forms or materials cannot be accepted.  

Once the payment has been received, you will be directed to Step 2 of the submissions process. 

To begin the payment process for Step 1, please click on the following link:  

Submission Payment

Selection Process

Each award is evaluated by a jury of two current or former journalists, and a member of the AAR’s Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion, who serves as chair of both juries.

For each award, winners are determined by jury consensus. 

The juries will confer awards only when the nominations received are of high quality. Reporting for the general public is preferred.

Both juries 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 reporting, which may address any topic should advance the understanding of religious issues in the public sphere. 
  3. It should communicate effectively to various publics either across traditions or broadly within a single tradition. 
  4. It should represent exemplary use of the medium’s tools to advance the public understanding of religion. 
  5. In alignment with the American Academy of Religion’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, submissions will also be evaluated on their reflection of these values in content, authorship, and audience.

Award winners are typically announced in June.


For questions, please contact [email protected].




To Be Announced

Entry Fee


Award Amounts

for Each Award

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