Nominations sought for Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics

The Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison seeks nominations for the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics. Now in its 12th year, the Shadid Award recognizes ethical decisions in reporting stories in any medium, including print, broadcast and digital, by journalists working for established news organizations or publishing individually.

The award focuses on current journalism and does not include books, documentaries and other long-term projects. Entries should involve reporting done for stories that were published or broadcast in 2020. Individuals or news organizations may nominate themselves or others.

The nomination window opened November 16, 2020.

The Shadid Award includes a $1,000 prize and travel expenses to accept the award and discuss the reporting at an awards ceremony typically held in New York City.

The Shadid Award is different from other journalism prizes in that it seeks to recognize the difficult, behind-the-scenes decisions reporters make in pursuing high-impact stories and in fulfilling their ethical obligations to sources, to people caught up in news events, and to the public at large.

“At its best, journalism brings important stories to light in a way that shows a real duty of care for people whose lives will be affected by the reporting,” says Lucas Graves, chair of the judging committee. “The Shadid Award gives us a chance recognize the tough ethical choices reporters face and the steps they take to minimize harms from their work.”

Previous winners of the award include:

  • 2020: Lakeidra Chavis and Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica & Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune
  • 2019: Julie K. Brown and Emily Michot, Miami Herald
  • 2018: Brian Grow and John Shiffman, Reuters
  • 2017: Shane Bauer, Mother Jones
  • 2016: Martha Mendoza, Margie Mason, Robin McDowell and Esther Htusan, Associated Press
  • 2015: David Jackson, Gary Marx, Duaa Eldeib and Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune
  • 2014: Adam Goldman, Matt Apuzzo and Ted Bridis, Associated Press

A graduate of UW-Madison, Anthony Shadid died in 2012 on a reporting assignment in Syria for the New York Times. He won two Pulitzer Prizes for his courageous and insightful foreign correspondence. Shadid sat on the the Center for Journalism Ethics advisory board and strongly supported its efforts to promote public interest journalism and stimulate discussion about journalism ethics.

Letters of nomination must include:

  1. Name and contact information of the nominators and their relationship to the story
  2. Names and emails of the reporter or reporting team that produced the report
  3. Brief description of the story and a link to it online
  4. Description of conflicting values encountered in reporting the story
  5. Options considered to resolve the conflicts
  6. Final decisions and rationales behind them

Nomination letters of three pages or less should be saved in pdf format and attached to an email sent to

Deadline for submissions is January 15, 2021.

By entering this competition, you grant the Center for Journalism Ethics permission to use your entry as a positive example of ethical decision-making if your entry is judged a finalist for the award.

If you are chosen as a finalist for the award, your nomination letter will be posted on our website. If there is anything within the nomination letter that needs to be kept confidential, please let us know.