Science Journalism Awards


The Science Media Centre is excited to introduce Aotearoa’s premiere recognition for achievement in science journalism.

The 2024 Science Journalism Awards celebrate excellent reporting on science-related topics across all forms of media. Two awards will be offered: one for established professionals and one for emerging journalists. Winners will be presented at our mid-year gathering in June.

Update (6 May 2024): Submissions have now closed for the 2024 round and we can’t wait to announce the winners in June. Time to start thinking about your nominations for next year!

Who can enter, and how?

Nominating your favourite science journalism is simple and can be done by anyone, for anyone that fits the criteria below. There is no fee to apply.

A nomination can be made for:

  1. A single piece of science journalism,
  2. produced by a New Zealand-based team or individual, and/or
  3. published by any New Zealand-based media outlet (print, broadcast or digital),
  4. between 1 January 2023 and 4 May 2024.

The SMC will contact eligible nominees to confirm that they would like to have their entry considered.

What counts as “science” journalism?

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a science reporter, chances are you’ve covered one or more of the subjects in the wide-ranging criteria for these awards. We welcome entries that explore any aspect of science, tech, innovation and research, including the following:

  • emerging technologies
  • environmental and climate impacts
  • medicine and health research
  • natural hazards
  • engineering and space
  • mātauranga Māori and Pacific traditional knowledge
  • data and information science
  • food and agricultural science
  • psychology and social research
  • any other topic involving science’s impacts on the communities it reaches

What are the criteria?

Submissions will be evaluated by the following guidelines.

50%: Quality

Quality encompasses many aspects, including depth of coverage, variety of sources, use of the chosen medium to its full extent, accessibility and weaving together of ideas. Essentially, a high quality piece is not just a summary of information received. The work put in by its maker(s) amounts to something more than the sum of its parts.

20%: Impact

Nominees have the chance to describe the impact of a piece in the nomination form. This can include anything from tangible change (e.g: policy, community outcomes) to influencing public opinion, demystifying a complex topic, or advancing an existing debate. 

20%: Creativity and innovation

How has this piece pushed the boundaries of its medium? This criterion recognises innovation in the presentation of data, the creation of engaging visuals and multimedia, freshness of approach and unique angles that set it apart from similar coverage. 

10%: The X-Factor

You know it when you see it. This final 10% is reserved for special recognition of excellence not covered by other criteria. 

Each criterion will be scored out of ten and then weighted accordingly. Submissions will score zero on the X-Factor by default, to be increased only where judges especially deem this merited.

Additional details:

A maximum of one entry per person (or team) will be shortlisted. In the case of multiple entries, we will seek the nominee’s input on which piece to advance to the judging round. Our panel of judges will be announced here soon.

Work produced by New Zealand-based journalists for overseas outlets can also be submitted. We will consider podcasts, documentaries, short- and long-form articles and any other single example of science journalism. Note that submissions are limited to single pieces (e.g. one article in a series).

To be considered for the emerging journalist category, the nominee must either a) be under the age of 25, b) have fewer than three years of professional journalism experience or c) submit work published in a student media outlet.