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John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism

Entries are due Jan. 31

John Bartlow Martin advanced the tenets of public interest journalism. His magazine stories about labor racketeering, poor working conditions, racism, crime and abuse of mental patients were marked by careful reporting, incisive writing and a palpable concern for victims. In many cases, these stories, published in major magazines such as Harper’s, The Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look, Collier's and The Atlantic, prompted public policy changes and inspired other journalists to make a difference with their own reporting.

In his 10 years at Medill, Martin helped students become skilled reporters and writers. Medill established the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism in 1988 to encourage outstanding professional work in this crucial area.

Award

A cash prize of $4,000 is awarded annually for the entry deemed most outstanding by the panel of judges. The winning author or team will be honored at a ceremony in May in Chicago.

Rules of entry and entry form

Single stories or series work should shed light on the causes, consequences and remedies of problems in American society. The work should analyze and critique the policies, relationships and events behind these problems and solutions. Originality, excellence of writing and the impact of the article(s) also will be considered.

Submissions must have been published during the calendar year prior to the submission. Medill welcomes articles published in print or digital consumer magazines. Newsletters are excluded, but circulation size is not a criterion of the award. Entries may be submitted by either authors or publications. The award will go to the author(s). If submitting series work, please enter a maximum of three parts.

Entries are now being accepted. Please use the entry form to submit an entry by Jan. 31.

The winner(s) and finalists will be notified mid-March. The winner(s) will be invited to receive the award at a ceremony May 17, 2018 in Chicago.

The administrator of this award reserves the right to authenticate, accept or disallow entries.

Questions may be directed Beth Moellers, beth.moellers@northwestern.edu.

Founding sponsors

Alice Arlen
Harry Ashmore
Marshall B. Front
John Kenneth Galbraith
Frank B. Gibney
Milton S. Gwirtzman
Irving B. Harris
Marshall M. Holleb
Michael Janeway
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy
John A. Kouwenhoven
Eric Larrabee
Russell Lynes
Newton S. Minow
Bernard Nath
Dorothy Olding
Pierre Salinger
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
Bernarda Shahn
John L. Steele
Rolf Stetter
Sam Vaughn
Willard Wirtz
Rep. Sidney Yates (D.-Ill.)

Winners

Column 1

2017

  • Winner: Shane Bauer, Mother Jones magazine, for “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard”
  • Honorable Mention: Christie Thompson and Joseph Shapiro, The Marshall Project and NPR
  • Honorable Mention: Ari Berman, The Nation magazine

2016

  • Winners: Ken Armstrong, The Marshall Project, and T. Christian Miller, ProPublica, for a collaboration of “An Unbelievable Story of Rape”
  • Honorable Mention: Joaquin Sapien, California Sunday Magazine and ProPublica
  • Honorable Mention: Meaghan Winter, Cosmopolitan Magazine

2015

  • Winners: David Bernstein and Noah Isackson, Chicago magazine
  • Honorable Mention: Jacob Jones, Deanna Pan, Daniel Walters and Heidi Groover, Pacific Northwest Inlander
  • Honorable Mention: Nikole Hannah-Jones, ProPublica/The Atlantic

2014

  • Alexandra Robbins, The Washingtonian

2008

  • First: Peter Landesman, LA Weekly
  • Second: Joshua Kors, The Nation
  • Third: Jesse Katz, Los Angeles Magazine

2007

  • First: Julia Whitty, Dick Russell, Marla Cone, Michael W. Robbins, Jonathan Stein, H. Bruce Franklin and Daniel Duane, Mother Jones
  • Second: Charles Bowden, Mother Jones
  • Third: Brian Alexander, Glamour

2006

  • First: Mimi Swartz, Texas Monthly
  • Second: Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker
  • Third: Alan Prendergast, Westword

2005

  • First: Dan Baum, The New Yorker
  • Second: Katherine Boo, The New Yorker
  • Third: Maximillian Potter, 5280

2004

  • First: Wil S. Hylton, Harper's
  • Second: Julie Jargon, Westword
  • Third: Katherine Boo, The New Yorker

2003

  • First: Staff, Miami New Times
  • Second: John Cook, Chicago Magazine
  • Third: Michael Hall, Texas Monthly

2002

  • First: Lisa Davis and John Mecklin, SF Weekly
  • Second: Katherine Boo, The New Yorker
  • Third: Amy Silverman, Phoenix New Times

2001

  • First: Jonathan Alter and Mark Miller, Newsweek
  • Second: Ann-Marie Cusac, The Progressive
  • Third: Bob Burtman, Houston Press

Column 2

2000

  • First: Dana Hawkins, U.S. News & World Report
  • Second: Alex Kotlowitz, The New Yorker
  • Third: Laurie Garrett, Esquire

1999

  • First: Don Barlett and James Steele, Time
  • Second: Jonathan Schell, The Nation
  • Third: David Pasztor, San Francisco Weekly

1998

  • First: Bob Burtman, Houston Press
  • Second: James Stewart, The New Yorker
  • Third: Dale Mezzacappa, Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine

1997

  • First: William Finnegan, The New Yorker
  • Second: Paul Rubin, Phoenix New Times
  • Third: Erik Larson, Time

1996

  • First: Jimmie Briggs and Kenneth Miller, Life magazine
  • Second: Adrian Le Blanc, Esquire
  • Third: Jerry Adler and Team, Newsweek

1995

  • First: William Finnegan, The New Yorker
  • Second: Paul Keegan, Philadelphia magazine
  • Third: (tie) Mary A. Fischer, GQ; Series Writers, U.S. News & World Report

1994

  • First: Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker
  • Second: Michael McLeod, Orlando Sentinel Magazine
  • Third: Lisa Belkin, The New York Times Sunday Magazine

1993

  • First: Barry Yeoman, The Independent
  • Second: Series Writers, National Law Journal
  • Third: Jeff Goldberg, Life magazine

1992

  • First: Walt Harrington, Washington Post Magazine
  • Second: Le Anne Schreiber, Glamour
  • Third: Shira Maguen, The Advocate

1991

  • First: Debbie Nathan, Village Voice
  • Second: John Conroy, Chicago Reader
  • Third: Trudy Lieberman, Consumer Reports

1990

  • First: Rob Warden, Chicago Times
  • Second: Walter Updegrave, Money
  • Third: Fen Montaigne, Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine

1989

  • First: Robert Alvarez and Arjun Makhijani, Technology Review
  • Second: Peter Hamill, Esquire
  • Third: Series Writers, Business Week