Award Competition

The Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The Briscoe Center for American History’s Morley Safer Award for Outstanding Reporting included a $5,000 prize. It was bestowed on Hannah Dreier, a reporter whose work the jury deemed as the best example of creativity, vision, and integrity in reporting from among the field of entries.


The Morley Safer Award celebrated work of creativity, vision, and integrity that, like Morley Safer’s, changed how we understand the world. Jurors looked for news stories that met the following criteria:

  • An overlooked story of national significance or a fresh perspective on a familiar subject
  • In-depth investigation that gets to the heart of important issues
  • Approachable storytelling about complex political, cultural, or social issues
  • Meticulous and compelling use of language

Considerations for the Morley Safer Award was open to United States or Canadian print, broadcast, radio or digital news media that was published or broadcast between January 1 and December 31, 2018.

Episodes from a series of stories entered for consideration must have been published or broadcast in 2018.

Entrance requirements

Candidates for the Morley Safer Award submitted their application materials directly online via the application system portal hosted by Open Water located on this webpage during the call for entries from January 1–February 28, 2019. A complete entry package included:

  • A single news story or series of news stories. If the story was a series, applicants submitted up to three installments/episodes for review by the jury. Episodes were uploaded in the applicants’ order of preference with the version the reporter considered the best work first. Candidates were also asked to upload the full series as a separate file for review by the jury as needed.
  • Team entries were required to indicate a project team lead and a primary contact name to represent the group. A total of three team members could be listed by name on the application. Additional team members were credited to the organization’s staff.
  • A reporter, editor or producer’s statement of 350 words or less describing how the story met the selection criteria.
  • Media files for consideration were uploaded directly to the application system. Submitted materials must have met these technical requirements:
    • Video: MP4 – 1080p SD or HD, H.264 preferred
    • Audio: MP3 – Stereo or Mono
    • Images: PNG (preferred), JPG/JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF
    • Documents: PDF, DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPS, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, RTF, TXT
    • Written materials must have been in 12-point Times New Roman or similar font.
    • Individual files up to 25 MB each were accepted.
    • Zipped files and watermark files were not accepted.
    • Passwords to access files behind a firewall were required to be submitted with the application.
    • Duplicate entries were considered once.
  • An entrance fee of $100 payable via major credit card in the application system was required to complete the entry. The entrance fee for stories nominated by a member of the Morley Safer Award Panel of Nominators was waived. Limited scholarship funds for freelance or independent reporters who needed assistance with the entry fee were available. Fees for duplicated entries were not refunded.