The Molly National Journalism Prize 2018 Submissions

Submissions are now closed

Starting November 1, 2017, through February 28, 2018, the Texas Observer and the Texas Democracy Foundation will be accepting entries for the 2018 MOLLY National Journalism Prize. 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.

The MOLLY Prize and two honorable mentions will be presented at an awards dinner on Thursday, May 17, 2018, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas, keynoted by a special guest. Past speakers have included Matt Taibbi, Jose Antonio Vargas, Dan Rather, Ellen Goodman, Seymour Hersh, Gail Collins, Paul Krugman, Connie Schultz, John Quiñones and Jamelle Bouie.

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 100.


  • 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, 2017, and December 31, 2017.
  • 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, 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 Trevor Aaronson, Shane Bauer, Jamelle Bouie, Carlton Carl, Kathleen Carroll, Jason Cherkis, Marcia Davis, Kira Don, Lee Fang, Ali Gharib, Amanda Hess, Sarah Leonard, Dave Mann, Kathleen McElroy, Joseph Neff, Amanda Ripley, Gabriela Resto-Montero, Leonard Roberge, Tom Scocca, Christopher Shay, Annys Shin, Ellen Sweets, A.C. Thompson and Erik Wemple. 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.


If you would like to sponsor the awards dinner, please contact Mike Kanin at (512) 477-0746 or by email at [email protected].

Previous Winners

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

Board of Advisors

Hugh Aynesworth, Maurine H. Beasley, 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, Peggy Engle, James Fallows, Doug Foster, Ellen Goodman, Wade Goodwyn, Patti Kilday Hart, Jim Henderson, Steven Isenberg, Melissa Jones, Lewis Lapham, 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, Jim Willse and John Young