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John Bartlow Martin chats with President John F. Kennedy

John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism

The nomination period for the 2022 award is open now through Feb. 14, 2022 

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.


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 Evanston.

Rules of entry and nomination form

The nomination form for the 2022 award is available now. The deadline to submit a nomination is Feb. 14, 2022. Submitted work must have been published during the 2021 calendar year.

Submit a Nomination

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 previous calendar year. 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.

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

Please contact Jenna Braunstein with any questions.

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.)


Column 1


  • Winner: Katie Engelhart, The California Sunday Magazine, for "What Happened in Room 10?"
  • Second Place: Michael Barajas, Texas Observer, “The Prison Inside Prison”
  • Honorable Mention: Stephanie Clifford, The Marshall Project and The Atlantic, “When the Misdiagnosis is Child Abuse”
  • Honorable Mention: Lizzie Presser, ProPublica, “The Black American Amputation Epidemic”


  • Winner: Lizze Presser, ProPublica, for "The Dispossessed"
  • Honorable Mention: Karen Coates and Valeria Fernández, Pacific Standard, “The Young Hands”
  • Honorable Mention: Brian Goldstone, The New Republic, “The Homeless Many”


  • Winner: Hannah Dreier, ProPublica, for "Trapped in Gangland"
  • Honorable Mention: Kiera Feldman, ProPublica, Type Investigations, Voice of America
  • Honorable Mention: Brian Palmer and Seth Freed Wessler, Type Investigations and Smithsonian magazine


  • Winner: Seth Freed Wessler, New York Times Magazine in partnership with The Investigative Fund, for "The Coast Guard’s ‘Floating Guantanamos’”
  • Honorable Mention: Alec MacGillis, ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine
  • Honorable Mention: Ari Berman, Mother Jones magazine


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • Winner: Alexandra Robbins, The Washingtonian


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


  • 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


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


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


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


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

Column 2


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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