Call for Entries Begins for Second Annual Morley Safer Award

Austin, TX—The Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting announces its second annual call for entries. A program of The University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History, where Safer’s archival papers are preserved, the award recognizes journalism that changes how we understand the world. Applicants have until 5 p.m. on March 20, 2020, to submit their entries.

“The inaugural Morley Safer Award was a resounding success, and we look forward to again celebrating journalism in the vein of one of America’s most fearless, eloquent and masterful reporters,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center.  “As an archive and history research center, the Briscoe Center wants to honor outstanding reporting not simply because it enhances our understanding of America today—but also because in the future, historians will rely on such reporting as important primary sources in their scholarly endeavors.”

Entries are open to reporters whose work was published in the United States or Canada between January 1 and December 31, 2019. Applicants (either reporters, team leads or their editors) have until 5 p.m. on March 20, 2020 to submit their work directly here:

After the call for entry period has closed, jurors review submissions to select finalists. They will then meet to select the 2020 Morley Safer Award winner. The recipient will be honored at a lunch in Manhattan in the fall and receive a $5,000 prize.

In October 2019, the first annual Morley Safer Award was given to Hannah Dreier for “Trapped in Gangland,” a series for ProPublica. “Trapped in Gangland” focused on the federal government’s bungled crackdown on the Central American gang MS-13 in Long Island, New York, during 2018. The groundbreaking series exposed a pattern of law enforcement bias and negligence that tore apart the lives of Latino immigrants who had fled their violent Central American homelands.

“Hannah’s work echoes Morley’s in two key ways,” Carleton said. “First, her writing is compelling, eloquent and gets to the heart of a deeply important issue. Second, I am confident that historians in the future will use her reporting to inform their research—just as historians and documentarians today use Morley’s notes, interviews, transcripts, correspondence and other writings that are preserved at the Briscoe Center. Reporters must obviously be concerned with the here and now, however—and perhaps somewhat unconsciously—they are also creating the primary sources that future historians must have in their effort to understand the past.”

The Briscoe Center for American History collects, preserves and shares the raw materials of history in order to foster exploration of the American past. Dating back to 1883, the center’s collections represent more than a century of collection efforts at The University of Texas at Austin. Since 1991, the center has evolved a national reputation for its collections related to news media history. Nearly three miles of archival materials across hundreds of separate collections include the personal papers of industry pioneers, print reporters, television and radio correspondents, photojournalists and media producers, as well as over 5,000 newspaper titles, millions of photographs and countless hours of audio and video footage. Together with the center’s libraries, museums and historic buildings, news media collections document the people, events and ideas that have shaped America.