Molly 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.

Event Registration

Ticket registration for the 2022 MOLLY Prize dinner will become available in early 2022. 


Calls for submissions to the 2022 MOLLY National Journalism Prizes will open in early 2022.

Past Winners

Katie Engelhart, The California Sunday Magazine – Investigative Journalism Prize

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

Pamela Colloff, ProPublica

Hannah Dreier, ProPublica

Michael Grabell & Howard Berkes, ProPublica/NPR

Shane Bauer, Mother Jones

Joseph Neff, the News & Observer

Esther Kaplan, the Virginia Quarterly Review

Dave Philipps, The Gazette (Colorado Springs)

Sarah Stillman, the New Yorker

Trevor Aaronson, Mother Jones

Jeff Sharlet, Harper’s Magazine

A.C. Thompson, ProPublica

Rick Casey, the Houston Chronicle

Diane Suchetka, The Cleveland Plain Dealer