FAQs for the Reporting Award

One of the main purposes of the award is to fund a project that otherwise would not come to fruition. Bearing this in mind here are some answers to questions that people have about the likelihood of their proposal being successful.

Q: What constitutes a “significant work of journalism”?

A: A significant work of journalism would be expected to probe a subject in considerable depth and length (5,000 words for a print piece) and bring new understanding to an important public issue. The Committee will judge whether the Work is acceptable only after the Work is published in a reputable media outlet of wide circulation. The decision of the Institute’s Award Committee shall be final and conclusive.

Q: Must a story already have been commissioned by a publication in order for a writer to apply?

A: No, you do not need to have an assignment in order to apply.

Q. Does having an assignment disqualify me?

A. No. But few publications would actually assign a piece that needs to be reported if funding for that reporting was a question. Sometimes an editor might say, “We could see assigning you this piece if you had a way to pay for the travel.” If you have had a conversation like that, please let us know with whom you had it.

Q: How can the applicant guarantee that their project will get published in a suitably well-known publication?

A: Publication, in this world, is never guaranteed. But projects are selected based in part on our estimation of how likely the finished piece is to find a strong outlet for publication.

Q: I am a full-time staff writer at a publication, but the story I want to write is not something they will fund or publish. Can I still apply?

A: Yes, you may apply. The judges will want to hear how you plan to put sufficient time into the project in order to report and finish the piece in a timely fashion while working full-time.

Q: I see that my project would also fit the criteria for NYU Journalism’s Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award. Can I apply for both awards in the same year?

A: No, you may only apply to one of the Institute’s awards per year.

Q: I am a freelance writer; can I include payment for my time in the budget for the project?

A: No, the budget should include only expenses (not salary) likely to be incurred.

Q: I am not a U.S. citizen. Am I eligible to apply?

A: Yes, you are. There are no citizenship requirements.

Q: I am a U.S. citizen, but I live abroad. Do I need to come to New York to accept the prize or work on my project?

A: No, you do not need to come to New York.

Q: Does the project have to be published in American media?

A: No. However the publication should be well known to American audiences. Additionally, only proposals submitted in English, for articles intended to be written in English, will be considered.

Q: Can two people–co-writers, for instance–apply jointly for the award?

A: Yes.

Q. Can the award be used to pay for book research?

A. No. The award is intended to support the research and writing of an article.