SEJ Awards: 2021 FAQs

What's the deadline to enter?

It's DIFFERENT this year: MARCH 1! Get it on your calendar!

Who can enter?

  • You don't have to be an SEJ member or on an environment beat to enter.
  • Reporters who cover health, politics, science, energy, local government or any other beat are encouraged to enter their work on environmental subjects.
  • Students enrolled in a university, college or high school — and graduates submitting work they did while enrolled as students — are eligible for the student category. Mid-career journalists who return to school, post-graduate students and students sharing a byline with non-students are not eligible to enter the student category.
  • SEJ welcomes entries from outside the U.S., but non-English entries must be accompanied by a complete English translation.
  • Judges for this contest may enter except in a category they are judging.
  • Group entries are accepted. Everyone with a byline MUST be included in the group. Photographers, graphic artists etc, contributing reporters without a byline etc. can also be included. Only individuals or teams of individuals can enter; publications, stations, websites, programs or networks may not enter.
  • Members of SEJ's Board of Directors, Awards Committee, SEJ staff and awards personnel may not enter. Exceptions will be made for group entries where a board member of SEJ was involved only because of their position in the newsroom, but did not play a significant role and is not listed as part of the team.

Can I enter more than once?
Yes, you may enter the contest multiple times, but stories you already entered once may not be entered again. This could result in duplicate stories being disqualified.

Am I in the Large or Small category?

  • Print and online determined by organization size. More than 75 employees = large. Under 75 = small. All employees of the organization count. 
  • TV and audio: Large is for national networks in the U.S. and elsewhere and top 30 television and audio markets in the U.S. and in equivalent markets outside the U.S. Small is for broadcast networks under the top 30. 
  • Small-newsroom entities collaborating with large-newsroom entities qualify as large-newsroom.
  • FREELANCERS: Determine category size by where your entry ran or aired. 

If my entry is disqualified, will I be reimbursed?

No. Staff time will have already been spent screening your entry for eligibility. There will be no refunds for entries that are ineligible or for entries that are withdrawn by the entrant. Check the rules for eligibility.

What is the deadline to enter?

March 1, 2021, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
Books category:
postmark deadline March 1, 2021

Late entries (additional fees apply): April 1, 2021, 11:59 p.m. EST
Late Books category: postmark deadline April 1, 2021

►These are firm deadlines: If you submit after the deadline (electronically or by mail), the form will still operate, but your entry won't be sent to judges and your entry fee won't be reimbursed. Be sure to leave yourself enough time! (If your entry is submitted late because of an SEJ website malfunction, email or call (502) 641-1844.) (Please don't call at midnight.) :)



What are the eligible air/publication dates?

  • Books: January 1 - December 31, 2020
  • All other entries: Published or aired between February 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021. Check your category for the number of stories allowed.

What prizes are offered?

SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment

  • First Place: $500, trophy, certificate and discount to attend the annual conference
  • Second Place: $250, certificate and discount to attend the annual conference
  • Third Place and Honorable Mentions: Certificate and discount to attend the annual conference

The Nina Mason Pulliam Award for the "best of the best" environmental journalism:

  • $10,000 and a trophy to one entry selected from the first-place winners of SEJ's Awards
  • Travel, registration and hotel expenses (up to $2,500) for the winner, or representatives of the winning team, to attend SEJ's annual conference

All SEJ Awards first-place winners are automatically entered into the Nina Mason Pulliam Award.

How much does it cost?

Nonmember journalists may apply for membership in SEJ to qualify for the member rate.

  1. Complete a membership application.
  2. Eligibility criteria apply! Read the membership application thoughtfully and don't apply if you don't qualify. Individuals engaged in any kind of paid public relations or lobbying work concerning environmental issues are not eligible for membership in SEJ.
  3. You can enter the contest at the member rate after your membership application and dues payment are submitted. However, if you're found to be ineligible for membership, SEJ will bill you for the additional $65 for the non-member contest fee and refund your member dues. Entries will not be processed until the correct payment is received.

What do I need to do to enter?
Just read the How to Enter page. Everything you need to know is listed there.

See SEJ Awards 2021 Rules for complete rules.

If you are not sure which category you should enter, email Chris Bruggers or call her at (502) 641-1844 (Eastern Time). The awards committee is the final authority for determining which category an entry belongs in and whether an entered story is eligible.

What's the Deadline to Enter again?


Who will select the winners?
Independent panels of journalists, journalism educators and other qualified individuals appointed by the Awards Committee will judge qualified entries and pick place-winners and honorable mentions. Judges may select no winners or fewer place winners in a category if they decide fewer prizes are warranted. SEJ board, staff, awards committee members and awards personnel do not act as judges.

When will the winners be announced?
Winners will be announced in July. Awards will be presented during SEJ's 30th Anniversay Conference (Part 2) in Boise, Idaho, to be held in August 2021.

What will happen to the winning entries?
Copies of place-winning stories will be retained as an archive by SEJ and may be reproduced on the SEJ website and in SEJ publications at SEJ’s discretion.


Back to the main Awards page.

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