Final Call to Enter the Sharyl Attkisson ION Awards for  Investigative, Original or Off Narrative News

  • ION stands for “Investigative, Original, or Off Narrative News”
  • $3,000 Cash Prize

Now, The ION Awards are being expanded to the work of professional news journalists in video, print and online. Entry details below.

ION Awards Judges: Prof. Alberto Martinez and Sharyl Attkisson

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson recently established The ION Awards for exceptional student journalism at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and Diablo Valley College.

Congratulations to the first student ION Award winners at the University of Florida in 2022.

Diablo Valley will award its winners in Fall of 2022.

To get more information on how to donate to fund additional cash incentives for off narrative journalism, please email [email protected] with “ION Awards Donation” in the subject line.

Submission Requirements and FAQs for Professional Journalists

Objective: The purpose of The ION Awards program is to recognize and encourage exceptional, original and off narrative news reporting in an increasingly-managed news environment.

Fee: None

What’s the prize? The ION Award comes with a cash prize of at least $3,000 donated by Attkisson. The amount will be given to one winner or divided among multiple winners.

Who can enter? The ION Awards are open to professional local and national video, print, and online news reporters. In this debut year, there are not segregated categories.

How many times can I enter? 1 entry per person. Judging will be limited to the first 100 entries.

What’s the entry deadline? May 31, 2022

What time frame of reporting is eligible? Entry must have been published by a professional news organization or site from April 1, 2021 to April 1, 2022.

What is The ION Awards looking to recognize?

  • The ION Awards is seeking superior, exceptional original or investigative reporting; particularly that which is off the typical news narrative.
  • This award is not designed for daily news event reporting or breaking news.
  • It is not intended to recognize reporting that covers a story in a way similar to a lot of other coverage.

Can I submit a series of reports as a single entry?
Yes, if it’s a single topic.

What factors will The ION Awards judges consider?

  • Is the reporting accurate and fair? 
  • How important is the covered topic?
  • Does the reporting give insight into something or reveal facts in a way that other news outlets did not? 
  • Are alternate or opposing information and views well-represented?
  • Is information appropriately sourced and attributed?
  • Are all appropriate ethical standards followed?
  • Did the reporter put in critical thinking and extra work to obtain information?
  • How well told is the story?

Who will serve as judges for The ION Awards?

Sharyl Attkisson and Professor Alberto Martinez of the University of Texas. Other judges may assist, as needed. If a judge personally knows an entrant, or if there is any conflict of interest, the entry will be scored by another judge.

When and how will the winner or winners be announced?

The announcement will be made June 30, 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter. The announcement will be made at The winner or winners will also be notified individually.

The ION Award process, from judging to prize(s), is a volunteer and charitable process on the part of organizers. No guarantees or promises shall be considered to have been made by this notice or award.

Application Process

(An application example is at the end of this notice)

Email the entry to: [email protected]

Subject line must read: “ION Awards Entry” with your name, such as: “ION Awards Entry, John Doe”

Entry must include an Internet link to the published work. The link should lead only to the section of work to be judged, as the judges will not search through a video or publication to find the operative entry.

In the body of the email (not as an attachment) please include the following:

1. Entry title

2. One line summary

3. Name and title of primary reporter(s)

4. Date, company of publication and (if applicable) program

5. A brief summary addressing why the reporting is interesting and original, investigative, or off-narrative; and the main findings.

6. Your phone number and email address, which will not be published or shared outside of the ION Awards.

Due to the expected volume of entries, we will generally not be able to answer individual questions or provide individual feedback. 

Thank you, and good luck!

Application Example

1. Entry title:

Ukrainian lobbyists

2. One line summary:

Through an examination of federal records and FOI requests, we revealed how popular political and media narratives about Ukraine were directly guided by millions of dollars spend by lobbyists.

3. Name and title of primary reporter(s):

John Doe, Investigative Reporter

4  Date, company of publication and (if applicable) program:

March 3, 2022, CNN, The International Hour

5. A brief summary addressing why the reporting is interesting and original, investigative, or off-narrative, and the main findings.

While most news reports focused on Russia’s agitation of Ukraine and efforts to fund the Ukrainian resistance, we decided to dig into FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) data to see how much of the public narrative might be influenced by US companies and officials operating as foriegn agents for Ukraine and Russia. We learned that while Russia spent a moderate amount of money on lobbying, Ukraine’s efforts far eclipsed that, quadrupling in a short time period and focusing on high profile lobbying firms that reached out to high ranking public officials and media organizations.

Below you can read the announcement about the ION awards at the University of Florida

Sharyl Attkisson Establishes Investigative Journalism Award for UF Students

Award-winning journalist and CJC alumna Sharyl Attkisson, B.S. Telecommunication 1982 and Hall of Fame 1999, has donated funds to establish the Sharyl Attkisson Investigative and Original News Prize, intended to encourage fresh, innovative and open-minded approaches to independent reporting on important public policy issues at the university, city, county, state or national levels.

A first-place prize of $3,500 and an honorable mention prize of $1,500 will be awarded for reporting that uncovers facts and illuminates issues not previously known or rarely discussed at the time of publication. The work must have been produced and published in either a student, university or professional publication during the 2021-22 academic year. The contest is open to all UF students enrolled during that year.

The contest entry period will begin in March 2022.

For 30 years, Attkisson was a correspondent and anchor at CBS News, PBS, CNN and in local news. She is a five-time Emmy Award winner, and recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting. Attkisson is a NYT bestselling author and is managing editor of the national Sunday TV show, “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson.”

Link to announcement can be found here.

About Sharyl Attkisson

Sharyl Attkisson is a nonpartisan investigative journalist whose work has received more than a dozen Emmy nominations. She is recipient of five Emmy Awards, including for investigative reporting; the Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting; and numerous nominations and awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Loeb, and others. Her recognized work includes exposes on Red Cross fraud, the vaccine-autism link and other pharmaceutical industry scandals, the Bush Administration bank bail-out, Firestone tires, the Fast and Furious “gunwalker” case, lobbying in Washington DC, waste of taxpayer money, charity fraud, and an undercover investigation into Republican fundraising.

Attkisson is author of three bestsellers: Stonewalled, Slanted and The Smear; and the college textbook Writing Right for Broadcast and Internet News. She has served on the journalism advisory councils at the University of Florida and Diablo Valley College. She has worked in local news and at the national news level at CNN, CBS and PBS (where she hosted a medical newsmagazine “HealthWeek”). She currently is host and managing editor of the nonpartisan Sunday TV News program “Full Measure.” Attkisson has written for many publications including The Hill, Real Clear Politics, Newsweek and Epoch Times. She has sponsored Freedom of Information conferences and donated extensively to good journalism causes. Her speeches and videos on journalism topics have garnered millions of views online.

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8 thoughts on “Final Call to Enter the Sharyl Attkisson ION Awards for  Investigative, Original or Off Narrative News”

  1. Dusan Milutinovic

    I want to submit out of a number of names, but one important thing to know is: must these names be American? It seems from the open aspect of the award to be available outside of America. And there are tremendous i.j.s revealing important topics that need exposing. This is such an exciting award idea from Sharyl that could, at least in the future, be expanded and become like a new sort of Pulitzer.

    1. Sharyl Attkisson

      Hello and thank you for your interest. Yes, international students/journalists are eligible to apply for the award. Must provide an English translation of application.

  2. I nominate Andy Ngo, who at real risk to himself has exposed the violence of Antifa and other violent crimes that the Corrupt Liberal News Media ignores because they detract from their bogus hard left agenda.

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