MOLLY NATIONAL JOURNALISM PRIZES


Photograph of author Keri Blakinger

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Molly Ivins is our legend. Her editorial run here lasted six years, from 1970 through 1976, when we lent her back to the wider world. Thing is, she never quite left: Her irreverence and irrepressibility continue to help define the Observer. Her love for the organization and drive to make it go left us, when she died in 2007, a clear path to the future.

We named the MOLLY (always all caps) Prize after her as a way to honor this legacy. Winners represent the best in American journalism; reporters willing to tell stories that need telling. They’ve included Michael Grabell and Howard Berkes with ProPublica and NPR, Shane Bauer in Mother Jones, Joseph Neff, the News & Observer, Esther Kaplan in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Dave Philipps in The Gazette (Colorado Springs), and Sarah Stillman in the New Yorker.

Each year, winners are feted at a dinner in Austin. Past keynoters of the event include Joan Walsh, Jose Antonio Vargas, Dan Rather, Ellen Goodman, Seymour Hersh, Gail Collins, Paul Krugman, Connie Schultz, John Quiñones and Jamelle Bouie.

Our annual MOLLY Prize dinner not only serves as an opportunity to celebrate the best in investigative and commentary journalism, but is also the Texas Observer’s largest fundraiser of the year. Our reader’s commitment to independent, investigative journalism helps keep the Observer going, as we pursue collaboration—with other media outlets in Texas and nationally—over competition, stories that derive power from the recognition that people are experts in their own lives, and investigations that make data public and free for anyone to access.

The 2022 MOLLY Awards Gala

The MOLLY National Journalism Prize gala honors Molly Ivins’ legacy, benefits the Texas Observer and our nonprofit parent, the Texas Democracy Foundation–and awards the best investigative journalism and political commentary in the country. Chaired this year by Kristen Gunn and Lizette Resendez, and led by the Event Committee, this year’s gala will be unforgettable.

Keri Blakinger, award-winning journalist for The Marshall Project, will keynote. Her recent book, Corrections in Ink, is a memoir tracing Keri’s path from figure skating to heroin addiction to prison… to life as an investigative reporter covering mass incarceration. The book was reviewed in the Texas Observer, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times.

Author Keri Blakinger Photo credit: Ilana Panich-Linsman

These days, Texans miss the words of Molly Ivins. Our legendary editor and columnist enriched the lives of progressive readers. Molly’s voice – sometimes humorous, sometimes angry – was always insightful. Her bluster made many conservatives cower in their boots. Molly wrote: And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.

That’s why there’s the MOLLY Awards, the most important annual fundraiser for Texas Observer, a Texas legend in its own right. The Observer has been telling it like it is since 1954 – and we’re just getting started!

The gala is October 20th at the Line Austin hotel. It is our honor to extend to you, with the deepest respect, this invitation to become a table sponsor. Your sponsorship will deliver urgently needed funding for our journalism. When Texas is at its worst, the Texas Observer must be at our best, and your investment at this moment will fuel our fire. Will you join with us?

Remember that Molly’s voice still resides inside each of us. Her voice and legacy help fund the journalism of the Texas Observer and the best journalists in America. Join with us and let’s be sure to tell those who come after us how much fun it was!

2022 MOLLY Awards Event Committee

Cari Marshall, Vice President of MOLLY Event, Texas Democracy Foundation Board of Directors

Betsy Moon and Ellen Sweets, Honorary Co-chairs

Kristen Gunn and Lizette Resendez, Co-chairs

Lize Burr
Beth Buyse
Russ Buyse
James Canup
Carlton Carl
Saneta Devuono-Powell
Kate Donaho
Lana Hansen
Laura Hernandez Holmes
Kelly Inselmann
Darlene Lanham
Susan Longley
Vince LoVoi
Ron Rapoport
Peter Ravella
Marc Yagjian
Canan Yetmen

2022 MOLLY Award Judges

Reeve Hamilton, Vice President of MOLLY Judging, Texas Democracy Foundation Board of Directors

Gabriel Arana
Kathy Blackwell
Nate Blakeslee
Maria Bustillos
Carlton Carl
Maurice Chammah
Sarah Courteau
Hannah Drier
Leah Finnegan
Amanda Hess
Abby Johnston
Mike Kanin
Jason Leopold
Dave Mann
Eileen McNamara
Ayan Mittra
Joanna Pearlstein
Abby Rapoport
Geoff Rips
Brian Rosenthal
Tom Scocca
Christopher Shay
Andrea Valdez
Jeremy Young
Dan Zehr

Submissions

Submissions for the 2022 MOLLY Awards have closed.

Past Winners

2021
Katie Engelhart, The California Sunday Magazine – Investigative Journalism Prize

Kyle Whitmire, Alabama Media Group – Excellence in Political Commentary/Columns

2020
Pamela Colloff, ProPublica

2019
Hannah Dreier, ProPublica

2018
Michael Grabell & Howard Berkes, ProPublica/NPR

2017
Shane Bauer, Mother Jones

2016
Joseph Neff, the News & Observer

2015
Esther 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