Awards

Awards

Much of the finest writing published each year is done by freelance writers.

ASJA relishes in the opportunity to recognize these fine works and their authors. Our annual awards program highlights stellar nonfiction articles, essays, books, and content marketing writing in a variety of categories.

While some awards are offered only to members, others are open to all freelance writers, regardless of membership. Nominations may be made by the authors themselves or by someone else. All entries must be published by a freelance, nonfiction writer in the calendar year preceding the award year.

ASJA’s award season is generally held each winter and spring. Nominations usually open in January and close in February. Judges consider entries through early spring, and the announcement of winners often coincides with ASJA’s annual conference in mid-spring.

Awards Categories

Open to all

The Arlenes: Articles That Make a Difference

ASJA member Howard Eisenberg established the Arlene Eisenberg Memorial Fund to honor his late wife, the author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting and other bestselling books that made a difference in the lives of mothers worldwide. Income generated by the fund allows ASJA to give monetary awards to winners of Arlenes, which are awarded annually for articles and once every three years for books. The winning book or freelance article must have “made a difference” by inspiring positive action within a locale or community, society, or the world. In the past, the award has been given for articles or books that inspired readers to do such things as lobby for legislation or form an advocacy group. Past winners have also stirred officials to launch an investigation, correct an injustice, or remove a hazard.

The Arlene Article Award is presented annually for an article published within the prior two years. For 2021, eligible articles must have been published in 2019 or 2020.

To be considered for an Arlene, articles must be:

  • Published in the United States within the stated period
  • Freelance written
  • Accompanied by documentation supporting the positive impact of the book or article. This may include evidence of media coverage, testimonials, or other public recognition.

The Donald Robinson Memorial Award for Investigative Journalism

This award honors ASJA’s third president, a noted investigative journalist. Articles entered should demonstrate outstanding writing and organization, plus new or previously unrevealed research. Or, if the topic frequently gets attention, the article should show it in a new light.

The work of any writer may be nominated, so long as it is freelance-written and published or released in the United States during the eligibility period. (Staff-written work does not qualify.)

If the work was supported by a grant or payment from a foundation or other organization, or if the author was otherwise aided (such as in data collection or statistical analysis), we ask that this be noted at the time of submission, along with the time period for any such support. This is solely for the purpose of establishing that the work was freelance-written.

Outstanding Article Awards

These awards honor writers whose articles, produced on a freelance basis, have demonstrated excellence in writing, research, and clarity of presentation.

Categories:

  • Blog Post, Personal: Posts, or a collection of no more than three related posts on the same topic, published on personal blogs. (Articles appearing on third-party blogs should be entered in Opinion/Op-Ed or Reported Essays.)
  • Business, including Marketing: Any business-related article.
  • Excellence in Reporting (formerly called “Reporting on a Significant Topic”): Reported pieces that represent superior reporting. Consideration will be given to the relevance and universality of the topic, as well as overall excellence.
  • First-Person Essays: Personal essays that are entirely based on personal experiences, reflections, or observations. (Reported personal essays have their own category, Reported Essays.)
  • Fitness & Sports: Running, fitness, and any sport or specific sporting event. Profiles may be entered here or in “Profiles,” but not both.
  • Food & Drink: Food, wine, beer, a vineyard, chefs, a restaurant or restaurants, and the like.
  • Health: Any piece on a health topic is eligible, no matter where published.
  • How-To (formerly called “Service”): Advice, self-help, or how to do something.
  • Lifestyle: Articles on matters of culture, style, leisure and home pursuits (including decorating and companion animals), art and music criticism, and reviews.
  • Opinion/Op-Eds: May include blog posts published by third parties. In addition to the writer’s opinion, entries must include reported evidence/research.
  • Profiles: All profiles, no matter where published. Formerly, members entered profiles appearing in trade journals in the “Trade” category.
  • Reported Essays: Personal essays that incorporate research supporting the topic.
  • Science: Articles on any science subject.
  • Social Change: Articles or essays that address current social change or injustice.
  • Technology: Articles on any tech subject.
  • Trade: Pieces that appeared in a specialized industry or professional publication intended for members or those who work in a specific field.
  • Travel: Any narrative travel articles.

Outstanding Book Awards

These awards are for nonfiction books written by independent (not staff) writers that are deemed significant, exceptionally well-researched, and skillfully written.Books must have published in the United States during calendar year 2020. Entries may be written by an individual author or may be collaborative works. Self-published books, eBooks, and traditionally published books may be nominated.

Categories:

  • Biography/History
  • Children/Young Adult Nonfiction
  • General Nonfiction
  • Memoir/Autobiography
  • Service/Self-help

Please note: Only PDF or eBook submissions will be accepted.

Outstanding Content Awards

These awards honor writers whose articles, produced on a freelance basis for an organization — a brand, business, nonprofit, hospital, university, or association — have demonstrated excellence in writing, research, and clarity of presentation.

Categories:

  • B2B Blog or Article: Blog posts and articles published in either print or online, written for B2B (Business-to-Business) companies. Only stories that are not focused on products or services will be considered. Entries for any size company or industry are welcome.
  • B2C Blog or Article: Blog posts and articles published in either print or online, written for B2C (Business-to-Consumer) companies. Only stories that are not focused on products or services will be considered. Entries for any size company or industry are welcome.             
  • Long-Form Content: Long-form content published in either print or online, written for either B2B or B2C companies. Only stories that are not focused on products or services will be considered. Accepted formats include whitepapers, eBooks, or reports.

Open to ASJA members only

June Roth Memorial Awards for Outstanding Medical Article and for Medical Book

The June Roth Memorial Fund was established by her late husband to honor our 31st president, a well-known medical writer. Income generated by the fund provides monetary awards to ASJA members whose articles or books represent exceptional achievement in health and medical writing. The June Roth Article and Book Awards are offered every year.

Other ASJA member awards

From time to time, an ASJA member offers exemplary service to the organization, reaches a notable career achievement, or demonstrates special contributions to the media industry. In these moments, ASJA members and leaders can nominate such members for the special awards listed below. 

  • ASJA Founders Award for Career Achievement
  • ASJA Extraordinary Service Award
  • Robert C. Anderson Award
  • Conscience in Media Award
  • Open Book Award