American Society of Journalists and Authors Launches First-Of-Its-Kind COVID-19 Writing Awards

NEW YORK (May 19, 2020) – The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) has launched the ASJA Crisis Coverage Awards: COVID-19 Edition, the first-ever global awards program recognizing writers for their coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak. The contest is now open, and submissions will be accepted until July 3, 2020.

“Professional journalists are key in helping us all navigate the confusing and conflicting news about a worldwide crisis that is changing our lives,” said Janine Latus, chair of the ASJA Crisis Coverage Awards. “ASJA is proud to recognize our colleagues’ vital work as they help audiences make sense of all aspects of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Writers are invited to submit English-language articles, including self-nominations, published between January 1 and June 30, 2020. Teams of leading journalists will judge submissions based on quality of writing and reporting and whether new information was provided or a familiar concept was given a fresh perspective. Submissions must fit into one of the following categories.

  • Business & Economy – including all financial aspects, the effect on contract workers, recession, furloughs, open-up movements, remote work, supply chain disruptions, unemployment and travel and tourism.
  • Education – including homeschooling, school-related online classes and virtual internships.
  • Healthcare – including the broad spectrum of COVID-19’s impact on medical personnel, infection spread and testing, hospital overload, the reduction of elective procedures and long-term implication of delayed treatments for issues unrelated to COVID-19.
  • Mental Health – including explorations of resilience, grief, isolation, stress, pandemic fatigue, anxiety, depression and suicide.
  • Personal Essays – first-person accounts of any aspect of the pandemic.
  • Politics & Government – including federal, state, local and international government responses, positions by political entities, effect on campaigns and elections, stimulus efforts and the disparity of COVID-19’s impact on different demographics.
  • Science – including COVID-19 research, efforts toward vaccines and treatments, virus origin and evolution and future implications.
  • Social Adaptation – including parenting and innovative ways of dealing with isolation (i.e. incorporating social distancing into celebrations, finding at-home hobbies, online versions of traditionally in-person activities).
  • Technology – including quarantine chats, Zoom popularity, TV shows from home (like Saturday Night Live), tracking technologies, vaccine/treatment technologies and 3D printing of protective equipment.

“The aim of the awards is to bring greater visibility to this important time in our world history. I applaud Janine Latus and the ASJA Crisis Awards Committee for developing such a timely program to showcase the work of writers globally,” said Milton C. Toby, JD, president of ASJA.

Writers may apply for multiple categories, but cannot use the same article more than once. Articles can be submitted by visiting A portion of the entry fees will be contributed to ASJA’s Writers Emergency Assistance Fund. Winners will receive cash prizes. ASJA will feature winning articles in follow-up press releases and social media posts.

For more information about the ASJA COVID-19 Writing Awards, please contact ASJA Executive Director, Holly Koenig, (212) 297-2123,

About ASJA:

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Journalists and Authors is the nation’s professional organization of independent nonfiction writers. ASJA membership consists of outstanding freelance writers of magazine articles, trade books, and many other forms of nonfiction writing, each of whom has met ASJA’s exacting standards of professional achievement. ASJA brings leadership in establishing professional and ethical standards, and in recognizing and encouraging the pursuit of excellence in nonfiction writing. ASJA headquarters are in New York City. The Society has active regional chapters in a variety of locations. Learn more at