The MOLLY Investigative Journalism Prize is an annual award of $5,000, open to national print and digital outlets. For the second year, the Texas Democracy Foundation and the Texas Observer will also be presenting an award of $2,000 for Excellence in Political Commentary, in memory of the biting analysis Molly Ivins offered throughout her career.

The deadline for submissions is August 1, 2022. The deadline has been extended to August 15, 2022.

General rules for submitting an entry appear below. For more information on the award, becoming a sponsor, attending the award gala or contributing to the MOLLY Prize fund, please contact [email protected]


  • 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, 2021, and December 31, 2021. Entries must be received by August 1, 2022. The deadline has been extended to August 15, 2022.
  • 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 for the MOLLY Investigative Prize will be judged on the basis of either a single piece or a series of up to four related articles; all entries for the Excellence in Political Commentary will be judged on the basis of either a single piece or a series of up to four related pieces or columns.
  • Judges will value work that reflects Molly’s ability to challenge conventional wisdom, to look critically at the issues of the day — particularly those relating to civil liberties and social justice — with compassion, and to tell the stories that need telling.

How to submit:

  • Email your submission and submission form 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 donated here or mailed to Texas Observer, P.O. Box 6421, Austin, TX 78762 (Please make sure your name is on the check and please note that it’s for the MOLLY Prize.).
  • Pay online

If you or your organization is struggling to pay the fee, or the publishing outlet has closed since publication, please contact [email protected], as we may have funds available to help cover your submission costs.

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 and writers from around the country. Judges will not judge work generated by their respective publications.

Past Winners

2020: Pamela Colloff, ProPublica

2019: Hannah Dreier, ProPublica

2018: Michael Grabell & Howard Berkes, ProPublica/NPR

2017: Shane Bauer, Mother Jones

2016: JosephNeff, 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