Awards Program Shines a Light on the Best Journalism … for the Planet’s Sake

March 28, 2017

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SEJ News: Awards Program Shines a Light on the Best Journalism … for the Planet’s Sake

By James Bruggers

Journalism is now under attack from the most powerful political voices. So what better way to respond than to help make sure that the best journalism is recognized and that a bright light shines on that work?

Last year, the 2016 Society of Environmental Journalists Awards for Reporting on the Environment competition honored 37 entries. The contest brought added attention and no doubt additional audience to every one of those winning entries, from first place showings to honorable mentions.

Now’s the time to join the 2017 competition. But you’d better hurry — April 3 is the (extended) deadline to enter.

The SEJ awards program honors the best environmental journalism in seven categories, bringing prestigious recognition to some of the most important stories on Earth.  

Large and small markets are separated for categories where the size of the institution especially can tip the scales, such as investigative and beat reporting — allowing for a more fair competition.

Winning entries typically cover a tremendous array of topics, reflecting the global-sized scope of the biggest beat on the planet.

First-place winners get $500 and discounts off this year’s SEJ Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Oct. 4-8. Second- and third-place winners and honorable mentions will receive a certificate and conference discounts.

Beyond that, all the winners get something even more valuable: Top recognition from their professional community. Their work goes up against the work of their peers, in a contest overseen by their peers, judged by their peers, with the winners celebrated by their peers online and at the annual conference.

That can feel pretty good.

And everyone who enters can feel good about how their participation helps keep the awards program and SEJ vital.

The program attracts and retains members while also helping SEJ to carry out its mission — to strengthen the quality, reach and viability of journalism across all media to advance public understanding of environmental issues.

It shines a bright light on some of the best journalism of the year. That’s as important as ever this year.

So just do it.

If you have work to enter, do it for yourself.

Do it for your news organization.

Do it for SEJ.

Do it for journalism.

Do it for the planet.

James Bruggers covers the environment for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, and is a member of the USA TODAY NETWORK environment team. He was president of SEJ when the awards program was launched and served 13 years on the SEJ board.

* From the weekly news magazine SEJournal Online, Vol. 2, No. 13. Content from each new issue of SEJournal Online is available to the public via the SEJournal Online main pageSubscribe to the e-newsletter here.  And see past issues of the SEJournal archived here.

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