Much of the finest writing published each year is done by freelance writers. We write what you read!

ASJA relishes the opportunity to recognize exceptional freelance writing and writers.

Our annual awards program highlights stellar nonfiction articles, essays, books, and content marketing writing in a variety of categories.

Although 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.

The ASJA 2024 awards submission period is closed. Judges are considering entries in the summer with announcements of winners expected in August.

ASJA Writing Awards


Submissions are closed for 2024 ASJA Awards.

ASJA Writing Awards

Professional and Associate Members Only

Submissions are closed for 2024 ASJA Awards.

Past Winners

Our annual awards program highlights stellar nonfiction articles, essays, books, and content marketing writing in a variety of categories.

Learn more

Awards Rules and Guidelines

All articles and books considered for an award must have been published in the preceding year, unless otherwise noted.

Learn more

Congratulations to our 2023 ASJA Writing Award Winners

See the list of 2023 awardees

Awards Categories

Open to all freelance writers

The Arlenes: Articles and Books 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. The fund allows ASJA to give monetary awards to winners of the Arlenes, which are awarded annually for articles and once every two or 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 to allow time to show proof of its positive social impact. For 2024, the amount for the Arlene Article Award will be $1,000.00.

The Arlene Book Award will next be presented in 2026 and will cover books published in 2023, 2024, and 2025.

To be considered for an Arlene, articles and books 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, and is presented each year. According to the Global Investigative Journalism Network, investigative reporting includes “systematic, in-depth, and original research and reporting, often involving the unearthing of secrets.” 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.

For 2024, the amount of the Donald Robinson Memorial Award for Investigative Journalism will be $1,000.00.

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.


  • 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 the previous calendar year. Entries may be written by an individual author or may be collaborative works. Self-published books, eBooks, and traditionally published books may be nominated.


  • 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.


  • 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 Outstanding Medical Book

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

The June Roth Article Award is offered every year. For 2024, the amount of the June Roth Article Award will be $1,000.00.

The June Roth Book Award will next be offered in 2025 and will cover books published in 2023 and 2024.

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

Awards FAQ

What category should I enter?

This is up to you! We’ve tried to make the categories as clear as possible. Please enter the one that you think sounds right based on your piece and the awards category descriptions and the guidelines.

If an article has been entered in a category that is obviously incorrect—for example, a food article is entered into the book category—that will be addressed before judging begins. There is always the possibility of refining and clarifying categories and the guidelines as needed for next year and beyond.

Can I enter more than one piece in the same category?

Yes. Each writer may submit a total of up to 10 articles and/or books for consideration. Within that total, there are no restrictions on how many articles or books may be entered in each category.

How do I volunteer to be a judge?

Volunteering to be a judge is a lot of fun because you get to read amazing work written by your peers. To sign up to be a judge, click here.

When you sign up, you can list category preferences, but categories aren’t guaranteed. That’s because assigning judges can be a bit of a chess game since judges aren’t allowed to judge a category they themselves have entered.

After all submissions are in, the Awards Committee assigns judges to each category. The Awards Committee then reaches out to judges with next steps.

What do judges do?

Once all judges are assigned, the Awards Committee contacts each panel to give them the links or pdfs for the articles they will be judging. Then it’s reading time!

Each panel also selects a head judge. This judge will be responsible for communicating a winner and runner-up to the Awards Committee.

If a category has many articles, there will be a Panel A and Panel B, even a Panel C, so that the judges aren’t overwhelmed. In this case, the articles are divided up among the panels and each Panel picks a top choice for the pieces they read.

Then, the top choices from each Panel are read by all and a winner and runner up are chosen. Each panel may decide how they want to communicate throughout the judging process—via phone, over email or video call.

The most important piece is that the Awards Committee is notified of a winner and runner-up for each category by the end of the judging period.

Can I be a judge and still enter the awards contest?

Yes! You cannot, however, judge a category in which you’ve entered a piece.

Are Q&As eligible?

Yes. There is not a separate category for Q&As. Please use your best judgment as to which category to enter. For example, a Q&A with a chef about her restaurant seems like a good candidate for the Food & Drink category.