The MOLLY National Journalism Prize

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From January 1 through March 16, 2016, The Texas Observer and the Texas Democracy Foundation will accept entries for The MOLLY National Journalism Prize of 2016, honoring the memory of Molly Ivins by recognizing great American journalism.

The 2016 annual MOLLY Prize will be awarded for an article or series of up to four short, related articles or columns telling the stories that need telling, challenge conventional wisdom, focus on civil liberties and/or social justice, and embody the intelligence, deep thinking and/or passionate wit that marked Molly’s work.

The MOLLY Prize and two Honorable Mentions will be presented at an awards dinner on Thursday, June 2, 2016, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas, keynoted by a special guest in the tradition of past speakers (Dan Rather, Ellen Goodman, Seymour Hersh, Gail Collins, Paul Krugman, Connie Schultz, John Quinones, Jose Antonio Vargas, and Kathleen Turner).

Complete guidelines for submitting an entry appear below. For information on the award, becoming a sponsor, attending the dinner or contributing to the MOLLY Prize fund, please contact [email protected], or call 512-477-0746.

• The MOLLY is an annual national print or online journalism award of $5,000 with two honorable mentions of $1,000, each to be presented by the Texas Democracy Foundation and The Texas Observer in memory of Molly Ivins.
• All entries will be judged on the basis of either a single piece or a series of up to four related articles or columns. Judges will value work that reflects Molly’s ability to look critically at the issues of the day with compassion and/or humor, tell the stories that need telling, challenge conventional wisdom, and focus upon civil liberties or social justice.

• Submissions must consist of material originally published in a U.S.-based publication in print or as part of an online magazine (NOTE: This does not include unedited blogs) between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2015. One entry per individual will be accepted. Individual writers may enter on their own or be entered by the publication in which the work appeared. Multiple by-lines for a single entry are acceptable. NOTE: In order to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, work that has appeared in The Texas Observer is ineligible and current staff members of The Texas Observer are ineligible.

Both electronic and hard copies of stories are required (unless the method of publication makes one or the other version impossible, in which case that should be clearly stated in the submission). A cover sheet for each entry must give the following information: 1) author’s name; 2) mailing address; 3) telephone number(s); 4) e-mail address; 5) a brief biography; 6) publication name; 7) editorial contact person; 8) publication mailing address; 9) publication contact telephone number(s); 10) publication contact e-mail address; and 11) publication date.
• If submitting photocopies of published work, 8 1/2 ” x 11″ pages are preferred. If that requires great reduction of the print (as for a broadsheet), please provide a readable version of the story on 8 1/2 ” x 11″ pages with an additional photocopy of the story laid out in the publication. Award finalists may be required to submit tear sheets of the original work.
• One hard copy of each entry should be mailed to: The Texas Observer, attn: The MOLLY Prize, 307 W. 7th St, Austin, TX 78701.
• One electronic copy of each entry should be e-mailed to: [email protected]
All entries must be postmarked or emailed no later than Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
• Entry fee is $50 and should be paid by check or money order when submitting the hard copy of the entry. Please make checks payable to The Texas Observer.

This information can also be found online at

Initial screening for the entries will be conducted by journalists from the Board of Advisors, which governs the award. Finalists and winners will be determined by an annually selected Executive Committee of the Board of Advisors.

Funding of the prizes, expenses of the awards dinner, and travel and lodging for winning journalists and guest speakers will be underwritten through a fund established by friends of Molly Ivins. Contributions are welcome. If you want to become an event sponsor by purchasing a table for the awards dinner, please contact the publisher: Emily Williams at 512.477.0746 or by email at [email protected]

Click on a member of the MOLLY Board of Advisors below to download his/her bio information.
Hugh Aynesworth, Tom Bettag, Mike Blackman, Nate Blakeslee, Frederick Blevens, Roy Blount, Jr., Mary Breasted, Robert Bryce, Wanda Cash, Carlton Carl, Mike Cochran, Gail Collins, Patrick Cox, Greg Curtis, Lou Dubose, Ronnie Dugger, Carol Flake, Peggy Engle, James Fallows, Doug Foster, Ellen Goodman, Wade Goodwyn, Patti Kilday Hart, Jim Henderson, Steven Isenberg, Melissa Jones, Myra MacPherson, David McHam, Dave McNeely, Kevin Merida, Judith Davidson Moyers, Victor Navasky, Kaye Northcott, Larry Norwood, Karen Olsson, John Pope, Dan Rather, Geoff Rips, Matt Rothschild, Ben Sargent, Connie Schultz, Robert Siegel, Erna Smith, Glenn Smith, Paul Stekler, Carlton Stowers, Diane Suchetka, Ellen Sweets, Mimi Swartz, Saralee Tiede, Rusty Todd, Calvin Trillin and John Young.

2015: Ester Kaplan, The Virginia Quarterly Review
2014: Dave Philipps, The Gazette (Colorado Springs)
2013: Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker
2012: Trevor Aaronson, Mother Jones
2011: Jeff Sharlet, Harper’s Magazine
2010: A.C. Thompson, ProPublica
2009: Rick Casey, The Houston Chronicle
2008: Diane Suchetka, The Cleveland Plain Dealer