David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism - News
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Award Type
Union Award
Of Note
Open to groups;
Peer OR self-nomination permitted
Established 2000

Recognizing Excellence in Science News Reporting

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 editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Honor Benefits
Recipients receive the following:

  • A $5,000 prize
  • An engraved award
  • Recognition in Eos
  • Recognition at AGU's annual meeting the year the honor is awarded
  • Paid travel expenses up to $1,000
  • Two tickets to the Honors Banquet at AGU's annual meeting the year the honor is awarded
  • Note: As members of the press, awardees also receive complimentary registration to AGU's Annual Meeting

Criteria for a Successful Nomination

The selection committee considers the following:

  • News stories or series that:
    • bring new information or concepts about AGU sciences to the public’s attention;
    • identify and correct misconceptions about AGU sciences, or makes them accessible and interesting to general audiences without sacrificing accuracy.
  • Accuracy, initiative, and clarity.
  • Whether the story was published first, before other media outlets.
  • Whether the story contains information of exceptional originality, importance, surprise, or secrecy.

Additionally, the news story or series must:

A series is eligible to be judged as one entry if:

  • each segment of a series was identified at the time of publication as being part of the series; or
  • the series includes coverage of an ongoing activity, such as a scientific society meeting or a natural event.
  • Note that no more than three segments of any series may be submitted for judging.


If an individual has multiple works nominated for a single award, AGU staff will contact the nominee to ask which they'd prefer to advance for consideration. Individuals may only submit one work for consideration for an award.


The nominee(s) must:
  • be a journalist working in any medium, except books
  • be an author or contributor of the submitted report
  • be a freelance journalist OR employed with a print/electronic publication or broadcast/cable station or network
  • submit only one entry for the award in a given year
  • not have won the Perlman award during the past two years.
In addition:
  • Groups of up to four authors/contributors may be included in the nomination.
  • Self-nominations are accepted.
  • Nominees are not required to be AGU members.
Are not required to be AGU members.
All Parties
Must be in compliance with AGU's conflict of interest and professional conduct policies.
Read AGU's Ethics Policies