Victor K. McElheny Award

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

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 2021 McElheny Award will be accepted beginning December 1, 2020, and ending January 31, 2021. One winning work will receive a $5,000 prize.

To encourage wide participation, we define “local or regional” broadly. Only outlets with a large staff and emphasis on a national audience are 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 is made possible by the generous support of Victor K. McElheny and his wife, Ruth McElheny, and 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 for the 2021 McElheny Award must:

  • include substantial reporting on issues relating to science, public health, technology, or the environment;
  • have been produced with significant contributions from a local or regional media outlet;
  • have been published during the 2020 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. Submissions for the Victor K. McElheny Award may be accompanied by a 300-word statement of the significance and impact of the nominated work. Entrants may upload their work using the specified file formats or provide a permanent URL. For more eligibility information, see our FAQ page.

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 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.”

The winning journalist or team of journalists will be awarded with a $5,000 prize.

For more information, please contact us at mcelhenyaward@mit.edu.

Victor K. McElheny Award