The Victor K. McElheny award honors outstanding coverage of science, public-health, technology, and environmental issues at the local or regional level — a special concern of the Knight Science Journalism Program’s founder, Victor K. McElheny, whose generous gift helped endow the award. Entries for the 2019 McElheny Award will be accepted beginning December 1, 2018, and ending January 31, 2019. The winner of the $5,000 prize will be announced in April 2019.

To encourage wide participation, we define “local or regional” broadly. Only outlets with a large staff and emphasis on a national audience will be excluded. We will accept entries on local or state-level topics from newspapers, small magazines and digital sites, broadcasters, podcasters, even bloggers.

The Victor K. McElheny award was made possible by the generous support of Victor K. McElheny and his wife, Ruth McElheny, and by the Rita Allen Foundation.

Eligibility Requirements

Entries for the Victor K. McElheny award may be submitted by an individual or by a representative of a publication. An entry may consist of a single story or a series of up to three stories on a single theme. An individual or publication may enter no more than three separate submissions. 

Entries must:

• have been published during the 2018 calendar year. 

• have been published in a U.S.-based media outlet. 

• have been published in English or — if published in a different language — accompanied by an English translation.

There is no entry fee. For more eligibility information, see our FAQ page.

Submission Process

Submissions for the Victor K. McElheny Award should be accompanied by a 300-word statement of the significance and impact of the nominated work. Entrants may upload each work as a document, audio, or video file, or provide a permanent URL.

The final deadline for submission is January 31, 2019. 

Judging and Selection

Submissions will be judged by a panel of distinguished science journalists. Emphasis will be put on investigative, community-service, and compelling narrative journalism — journalism that breaks new ground and makes a difference. In the words of Victor McElheny: “Reporting for regional news organizations is often the way for beginning science journalists to cut their teeth. The prize can help illustrate a continuing contribution to the maximum level of public understanding of what technology and science are achieving, and what these achievements imply for humanity.”

One winning work will receive a $5,000 prize. The winner(s) will be honored in April 2019 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

For further questions, please contact mcelhenyaward@mit.edu.

MIT Knight Science Journalism Program