Council for the Advancement of Science Writing Accepting Entries for Sharon Begley Science Reporting Award

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Rosalind Reid, Executive Director, Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) is accepting entries for the 2024 edition of the Sharon Begley Science Reporting Award, which recognizes and supports reporting and writing that embody high standards.

The Award comprises a career prize that recognizes the accomplishments of a mid-career science journalist, and gives a grant of at least $20,000 to enable the winner to undertake a significant reporting project.

To be eligible, applicants must be experienced journalists with at least 8 to 10 years reporting experience, who have compiled a substantial body of work in science journalism, defined as print, audio, video, and online reporting on science, health/medicine, environment, mathematics, and technology.

Entries for the award should include three to five published clips or other work samples that illustrate the applicant’s best work in science journalism. Eligible work includes: news, features; heavily reported columns, analysis, and other commentary; newsletters, book chapters (not entire books), podcasts; and video, audio, and multimedia storytelling.

For an entry to be eligible, it must have been published in English. Self-published work is not eligible.

An entry should include a cover letter making the case for the candidate and the proposed project. The cover letter should address:

  • Summary of applicant’s work in science journalism and examples of how that work has had an impact.
  • Personal statement conveying motivation and commitment.
  • Additional personal information:
    • may have to do with journalism advocacy or teaching work, mentoring, or innovation;
    • may be about the arc of the applicant’s career: education and experience, the pivot into science journalism, excursions into other fields;
  • Overall “why now? why me?” pitch for proposed project.

Applicants must include their resumes which should include details that help the judges assess their commitment and broader contributions to science journalism as well as their career and publication record. The resume should include, as applicable:

  • A summary of published work and/or a link to a portfolio website.
  • Contributions to science journalism including:
    • Volunteer service, collegial and leadership activities
    • Journalism advocacy
    • Teaching
    • Mentoring
    • Innovation
    • Outreach activities such as public lectures, workshops, residencies, and presentations

The entry should also include one to three supporting letters: a letter of support or nomination from an editor or publisher who is familiar with the applicant’s work; and one or two additional letters from a senior colleague or second editor.

Each entrant must submit a project proposal describing a reporting and writing project he/she will undertake with the award grant. The proposal should show that the project is viable, novel, and well-conceived; demonstrate that the candidate has done enough research to know that there is a story and has thought through how to approach the project; describe the research already done and outline a plan of work that the grant would support; and include a project timeline.

A simple budget that supports the plan of work and show the judges how the grant will enable the proposed project is required. The budget may include reporting expenses; examples: travel, equipment, data, FOIA costs; living expenses during writing and pitching; pitching expenses (for example, meeting with editors to pitch a book proposal); and multimedia production costs.

Entries for the 2024 Sharon Begley Award will be accepted between January 1 and April 30, 2024 and may be submitted at Submittable.com.

Detailed information about the award can be accessed at https://casw.org/awards-fellowships/sharon-begley-science-reporting-award/.