The Molly National Journalism Prize Submissions

Submissions for the 2020 prize are now closed.

The MOLLY Prize 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.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have cancelled the 2020 MOLLY Prize Dinner. The winners of the award will be announced on Thursday April 30, 2020.

General rules for submitting an entry appear below. For more 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 ext 103.


  • 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, 2019, and December 31, 2019. Entries must be received by February 1, 2020.
  • 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 bylines for a single entry are acceptable.
  • 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.

How to submit:

  • Submit and pay online (entry form below), or
  • Email your submission to [email protected] along with a cover letter and brief bio, as well as contact information for yourself and for the publication. Mailed submissions will not be accepted. The entry fee is $50, which may be mailed to Texas Observer, 54 Chicon St, Austin, TX, 78702 (Please make sure your name is on the check and please note that it’s for the MOLLY Prize.)

Please note: Work that has appeared in the Texas Observer is ineligible in order to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.


Judging will be conducted by a panel of journalists, including Eric Benson, Kathy Blackwell, Carlton Carl, Maurice Chammah, Jason Cherkis, Pamela Colloff, Sarah Courteau, Emily Dreyfus, Emily Douglas, Hannah Dreir, Charlotte Greensit, Amanda Hess, Cierra Hinton, Michael Hoinski, Caitlin Kelly, Tristam Korten, Michelle Legro, Jason Leopold, Naomi Gordon Loebl, Dave Mann, Francesca Mari, Olivia Messer, Alexa Mills, Michael Mooney, Kathleen McElroy, Hamilton Nolan, Ricardo Sandoval Palos, Joanna Pearlstein, Katha Politt, Will Potter, Gabriela Resto-Montero, Amanda Ripley, Geoff Rips, Leonard Roberge, Naveena Sadasivam, Jeff Salamon, Tom Scocca, Christopher Shay, Annys Shin, Ellen Sweets, Rebecca Traister, Erik Wemple, Jeff Winkler, Jeremy Young, and Dan Zehr. Media outlets represented by the individuals on this list can and should apply for the MOLLY Prize. Judges will not judge work generated by their respective publications.

Past winners:

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

  • Please submit a link to the entry or upload it below.
  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, odt.
  • First NameLast Name 
    Multiple bylines acceptable
  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, odt.
  • Price: $50.00
  • American Express
    Your credit card will be charged $50 immediately upon submission.