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David Perlman Award
for Excellence in
Science Journalism – News

Information on the Perlman Award

The David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism – News is an annual award recognizing excellence in science news reporting, defined as work prepared with a deadline of one week or less. It is presented annually to a journalist or a group of journalists for a news story or series in any medium, except books, that makes information about the Earth and space sciences accessible and interesting to the general public.

The Perlman Award, first presented in 2000, was named in honor of the distinguished former science editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Award benefits

AGU is proud to recognize its honorees. Recipients of the David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism – News will receive the following benefits with the honor:

  • 1
    Engraved plaque
  • 2
    $5,000 monetary prize
  • 3
    Recognition in Eos
  • 4
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting
  • 5
    Travel expenses up to $1,000 to attend AGU Fall Meeting
  • 6
    Two complimentary tickets to the Honors Banquet at the AGU Fall Meeting

Nominee eligibility

AGU membership is not required for nominators or nominees of the David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism – News. A person or group may be nominated or may self-nominate for both the Perlman and Sullivan awards in one year, but no individual or group is permitted to win both awards in the same year. Self-nominations are accepted. Nominees should:

  • Be journalists working in any medium, except books
  • Be an author of the submitted report. In the case of collaborative efforts, those involved must determine who is or are the nominee(s) of up to four people, which can include contributors to the audio and visual aspect of the entry
  • Be an author employed in one of the following arenas:
    • Print or electronic publication
    • Broadcast or cable station, or a broadcast network
    • Freelance journalist
  • Submit only one entry for the award in a given year
  • Nominees who have won the Perlman Award during the past two award cycles are not eligible to enter a nomination for the Perlman Award for the current award cycle. (i.e., the 2019 and 2020 Perlman Award recipients are not eligible for the 2021 award.)

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The Perlman Award recognizes excellence in reporting a news story or series that:

  • Brings new information or concepts about AGU sciences to the public’s attention,
  • Identifies and corrects misconceptions about AGU sciences, or
  • Makes AGU sciences accessible and interesting to general audiences, without sacrificing accuracy.

The selection committee will also consider accuracy, initiative, originality, and clarity. The committee may also consider the timeliness of the news story, whether it was published first—before other media outlets—and whether it contains information of exceptional originality, importance, surprise, or secrecy.

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Additional Perlman Award eligibility information

Eligible news stories must be about one or more of the scientific disciplines represented by AGU.

Eligible entries for the Perlman Award must have been intended for, and available to, the general public.

Entries must be in English (or include an English translation).

If each segment of a series was identified at the time of publication as being part of the series, the series is eligible to be judged as one entry. Alternatively, coverage of an ongoing activity, such as a scientific society meeting or a natural event, can be regarded as a series. However, no more than three segments of any series may be submitted for judging.

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Nominations for the 2021 David Perlman Award are now closed.

We encourage you to read our guide on how to submit a successful nomination. Recipients are chosen by the Perlman Award Committee.

Eligible entries must have been first published between 1 January and 31 December of the year prior to the award year. Most nominations are submitted by the author(s) of the entry. However, if you are not the nominee, AGU will contact the nominee(s) to ask if the nomination should move forward and to request any additional materials that may be needed.

Articles published by 31 December of the year two years prior to the award year (e.g. by 31 December 2019 for the 2021 award) but dated 1 January of the year prior to the award year or later (e.g. dated 1 January 2020 or later) may be submitted for the award, if they were not submitted for the previous year’s award (e.g. were not submitted for the 2020 award).

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Additional documentation for the Perlman Award

For most submissions, AGU will need a URL for the Perlman Award entry, which you can enter into the nomination form in the online nomination system. However, for two types of entries (broadcast/multimedia and non-English), you will need to submit additional documents, which you can upload through the online nomination system:

  • Broadcast/multimedia report: If your entry is a broadcast or multimedia report, please be certain to upload a written transcript as a PDF or Word document for the video or audio portions, which you can do through the online nomination system.
  • Non-English report: If your entry is in a language other than English, please be certain to upload a written translation, in the form of a PDF or Word document, which you can also do by means of the online nomination system.

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Past recipients


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Nanci Bompey

Director, Media Relations

202.777.7524 | [email protected]

General Media Inquiries Contact

Public Information

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