Stanford University | School of Humanities and Sciences

The Knight-Risser Prize
for Western Environmental Journalism
Sponsored by the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships and
The Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University
Eligibility Guidelines > Entry Form >

Application forms available for 2013 entries
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Entry Deadline for 2013 Work
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Entry Form and Instructions

By recognizing the highest-quality environmental reporting about the North American West, the Knight-Risser Prize seeks to inspire journalists in all media to bring sophisticated reporting, solid environmental science and compelling storytelling to the public.

We want to reward and showcase reporting that best addresses important Western environmental issues — whether or not it was produced by journalists based in Western news organizations. Starting this year, we invite new players, from startups to nonprofits, students and citizen journalists to submit their finest work. Please refer to our standards for journalistic independence as explained below in the eligibility section.

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Story Selection

The judges put a premium on journalism with some or all of the following attributes, such as stories that:

  • Report on, investigate, and explain complicated issues
  • Uncover hidden problems or misdeeds
  • Carry wider implications for the North American West in general
  • Result in a tangible impact in Western communities
  • Demonstrate meaningful innovation in environmental journalism, whether through new techniques like crowd-sourcing, use of social media, data-driven reporting, data visualization, multimedia or other interactivity, or work that represents innovative models of collaboration, reporting, or financing great Western environmental journalism.

Issue Areas

Given the Western environmental focus of the award, we are especially interested in stories covering the following areas:

  • Water and other natural resources
  • Wildlife and habitats
  • Regional planning
  • Energy
  • Environmental change, including climate change
  • Interstate and transnational environmental issues
  • The West’s diverse communities and cultures, and the environment

We also encourage stories that address continental and global environmental issues with a focus on the West.


For the purposes of this award we define the North American West as:

  • The United States west of the Mississippi River
  • Canada west of Ontario, including Nunavut
  • All of Mexico


Journalists working in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are eligible to apply.

We cannot consider entries from publications or programs connected to:

  • Government agencies
  • Advocacy organizations
  • Business or trade groups

Scope of Entries

Entries must be predominantly about an environmental subject occurring in or affecting the North American West, and must have been:

  • Published, broadcast or posted during the previous calendar year, or
  • A series partly published in the previous calendar year (in which case only portions published or dated during the previous calendar year are eligible), and
  • Entered only in one Knight-Risser Prize contest year

Submission Instructions

  • As of January 2011, there is no longer any entry fee
  • Entrants are limited to one submission per author, per year
  • All entrants must submit six (6) copies of each entry.
  • Entries must be accompanied by a letter of up to two pages that:
    • Summarizes the entry
    • Describes resources that went into reporting it, and if applicable any innovative methods employed
    • Describes the impact of the story
    • Describes any obstacles the reporters faced
    • Briefly summarizes stories not included with the entry if entries are part of a larger series
  • Proof of publication and date: All elements of the story must have been published, broadcast or posted online with an identifiable dateline
  • Corrections: Any challenge to the accuracy or fairness of the story, such as letters, corrections, retractions and responses by the news organization, must be included
  • Translation: Non-English-language entries must be accompanied by a complete translation or transcript in English

Media-Specific Instructions

You may submit a single story or package with up to four follow-up stories, a series of up to five parts, or up to five stories on a single issue. Photo essays are also eligible.

Print clippings should be mounted on U.S. Letter (8.5"x11") or A4 size sheets. They can be photocopied but must not be reduced in size. Printouts of archived stories are acceptable if they include publication name, date and page. You may supply PDFs if they are generated by your pagination or page layout system; scanned PDFs cannot be accepted. PDFs should either be included on a data CD or DVD (6 copies), or a URL should be provided on the entry form for downloading them. We additionally encourage you to paste these URLs in the body of an email with your organization's name in the title field, addressed to:

Broadcast Entries
Submissions may be a single broadcast story with up to four follow-up stories, a series of up to five parts, or up to five stories on a single issue. Total airtime should not exceed one hour.

A transcript of the submitted entries should be included (with English translation for non-English-language entries). If program length exceeds one hour, you may submit a condensed version; the condensed version must not exceed one hour, must not consist of more than three edits, and must include the beginning and end of the original program. In such cases, a brief description of where the edits occur and what has been cut must be included.

Broadcast entries may be posted online as they appeared on air, or may be burned onto DVD (6 copies) in NTSC format (standard-definition television). If needed, URLs for online viewing should be submitted on the entry form. Additionally, you are encouraged to paste the titles and URLs in the body of an email with your organization's name in the title field, addressed to

Online Entries
Online submissions can be a single story, a series of up to five parts or a package including multimedia, interactive or social media elements.

To clarify the scope of entry, please include printouts of each text page (6 copies) with highlights indicating the items to be judged. All other elements will be ignored.

Titles and URLs of the relevant pages should be indicated on the entry forms. Additionally, you are encouraged to paste the titles and URLs in the body of an email with your organization's name in the title field, addressed to

Thank you for your interest in the Knight-Risser Prize. We will be posting entry forms for 2014 work in January 2015. If you wish to be notified when they are available, follow @knightrisser on Twitter. Meanwhile, you can look at the 2014 forms as a guideline for materials you'll need.

Entry Form

2014 Knight-Risser Prize Entry Form (Adobe PDF format)

Mail entry materials to:
2014 Knight-Risser Prize Entry
450 Serra Mall, Building 120
Stanford, CA 94305

Entries must be received, not postmarked — by Saturday, March 15, 2014

Please direct questions by email to:


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