SEJ 2023 Awards: How To Enter SEJ's Student Awards for Reporting on the Environment

Late deadline: May 15. Extra fees apply.


NEW: This year SEJ is asking contest entrants two questions to help further SEJ’s work to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in journalism.

One is to share whether their news outlets publicly post demographic data on the diversity of their staff, including a breakdown of their composition by gender and race/ethnicity. The other is whether their news outlets have participated in the News Leaders Association diversity survey, or if they plan to participate in the next survey.

Gathering this information is a step toward addressing inequities for people of color and other groups that remain underrepresented in newsrooms. It will also provide a benchmark for measuring news organizations’ progress toward reflecting the communities they serve.

The questions are on the contest payment form, and answers will not be seen by judges or used in any way to evaluate entries for the 2023 awards.

NEW in 2023:

  • SEJ member students enter for $0! 
  • The first-place winner — or a representative from the first-place winning team — can attend SEJ's 2024 Annual Conference in Philadelphia expenses paid! (Complimentary member-rate registration including ticketed events ($600 value); up to five nights’ lodging at SEJ’s conference hotel ($900 value); travel (airfare, ground travel to/from airport, and travel day meals) reimbursement up to $1000)

Description: Outstanding Student Reporting: A story or series on an environmental topic by a student or group of students enrolled in a university, college or high school at the time the content was produced. Entry stories must have been published, aired or otherwise produced in a media outlet accessible to the general public between Feb. 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023. Up to five stories are allowed. Related stories and sidebars published the same day count as one story. 


  • All audio, TV, print and online content published or aired by the original media outlet are eligible, including campus media and journalism produced during undergraduate internships and student-held part-time jobs.
  • Class assignments not published, posted or broadcast to the public aren't eligible.
  • Stories with bylines shared with non-students and work from post-graduate internships aren't eligible.
  • Work from mid-career journalists who have worked five or more years as full-time professional journalists before returning to school aren't eligible.
  • Republished or rebroadcast stories aren't eligible.

SEJ's student members: No entry fee if you enter by May 1. (May 2 - 15, $25)

Not sure you're current with dues? Check here:

Not a member? Nonmember students can enter for $25. But why not join? Students can Join SEJ for just $25 ($45 after the first year).

Member Benefits: Free one-on-one mentoring, no awards entry fee, low registration rates for annual conferences, members-only listservs for discussing all things journalism and environment, and much more. Click the Join SEJ link to find out what SEJ can do for you.

You can enter the contest multiple times, but...

  • Nonmember students: A PAYMENT FORM MUST BE FILLED OUT FOR EACH ENTRY. To enter more than once, return to this page and click the payment link below for each time you enter the contest.
  • Nonmember students: Watch for your payment confirmation. It contains your invoice number — needed for the entry form — and the link to the contest entry form.
  • You'll need a new invoice number or PayPal Transaction ID# for each time you enter.
  • Member students: a $0 payment means you won't receive an invoice number. On the entry form, enter SEJ Member Student in the invoice-number field. For multiple entries, skip the payment form after the first entry. If you enter May 2 or later, you'll have to go back to the payment form to pay the late fee of $25. 


  • A cover letter is mandatory in all categories.
    • It may be submitted by the student entering the contest or any other individual, and should help judges understand difficulties in reporting, impacts of the story or other information that would interest them.
    • It can be typed in, pasted in or uploaded as a file.
  • Your story links:
    • Related stories and sidebars published or aired the same day count as one story. Group same-day stories and sidebars together.
    • If you're using URLs for judges to access stories, paste them into the Story Links field on the entry form.
    • Do not use a general link that contains a list of stories, as that list might contain stories you're not submitting. General links won't be sent to judges.
  • PDFs are also accepted.
    • You can upload up to five PDFs.
    • Combine PDFs of stories, related stories and sidebars that were published or aired on the same day. (Help with combining PDFs.) (Related stories and sidebars published or aired the same day count as one story.)
  • Make sure judges can see your stories! If your links are behind a paywall or limited to three stories, you need to include access information. Access codes need to work through Sept. 30.
  • Transcripts for recorded stories: If you enter audio or television stories, or if your online entry includes audio/video components.
  • Run time for recorded stories: Total run time for all recorded stories in your entry may not exceed 60 minutes.


  • All student entrants must fill out the payment form, even if your fee is $0.
  • Nonmember students, write down your invoice number. You'll need it to enter the contest.
  • Member students: a $0 payment means you won't receive an invoice number. On the entry form, enter SEJ Member Student in the invoice-number field. If you enter more than once, you can skip the payment form until May 1. After May 1, there's a late fee of $25.
  • Paying with PayPal? your transaction ID# will be in your emailed confirmation. Use the transaction ID# in the invoice-number field. 
  • Once you click Submit on the payment form, the Student Reporting award entry form will open.
  • Nonmember students: Watch for your payment form confirmation.
    • The payment confirmation contains the link to your invoice number and the link to the Student Reporting award entry form, in case the page didn't open automatically.
    • If you don't see your confirmation, check your spam. (Add SEJ to your contacts to help avoid spam hazards.)
  • Read the rules. Some disqualifying rules are listed on the entry forms, but it's best if you are familiar with the rules of the contest.
  • The contest entry site is If you've entered this contest before, you already have a profile there. Otherwise, you'll be asked to register for the site before you can proceed. Registration is free.
  • You can edit your entry. You'll receive an automatic response after submitting your entry confirming the category you entered and that your entry has been received. It contains instructions on how to access your entry to make changes or to check the progress of your entry.
  • Then comes the wait. Judges' deadline is Aug. 18. We'll let winners know ASAP after that and will announce after winners have been contacted.



  • Students who are members of SEJ have a $0 fee if entering the contest before May 2. Students can join SEJ for $25 to avoid the entry fee. May 2 - 15 entries pay a late fee of $25. (Member students will at that time pay $25 and nonmember students, $50.)
  • AMEX, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal accepted. US funds only.

Reminder: SEJ membership must be current to access the SEJ member rate. If membership dues or awards fees pose a barrier, current or lapsed members can request a fee-waiver from the SEJ Members in Need fund. If you'd like to help, you can make a donation to the fund here.

Please read the membership application thoughtfully to avoid applying if you don't qualify. Note that individuals engaged in any kind of paid public relations work concerning environmental issues are not eligible for membership.

Did you calendar the deadline yet? MAY 1. (Late deadline, May 15. Late fees apply.)

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