The Michael Kelly Award honors a writer or editor whose work exemplifies a quality that animated Michael Kelly’s own career: the fearless pursuit and expression of truth. The award is sponsored by The Atlantic, where Michael Kelly worked from 1997 until his death in 2003.

In recognition of Michael Kelly’s career as a reporter and editor at a variety of newspapers and magazines, entries are encouraged from publications big and small, as well as from young journalists, whom Michael Kelly took delight in mentoring.

Deadline for entries: Friday, March 31, 2023

Entries must be for work published in a U.S.-based print or online publication in 2022. There is no entry fee.

An entry form must be submitted. A cover letter must accompany each entry. Supporting material (including editorials and letters) may accompany an entry. Any corrections or clarifications that were published as a result of the article or articles must be submitted. Between one and five articles (not including sidebars) that were written or edited by the entrant may be submitted. An entry should not exceed 25,000 words.

For team entries, up to four individuals may be named; otherwise, the entry must be in the name of the news publication’s staff.

You can email your entry to Ena Alvarado at Please put “Michael Kelly Award” in the subject line and include the following attachments:

– A cover letter.
– Either a PDF or PDFs of the articles being submitted or links to the online versions of the articles. You may submit multiple emails if the attachments are too large for one email.

You must also fill out the Entry Form. You should receive an acknowledgement of the submission within a week.

The winner will receive a prize of $25,000. Finalists will receive a prize of $3,000 apiece. If a team is selected as a winner or finalist, the award will be split evenly among team members. If the award is given to a publication’s staff, the disbursal of the award will be the responsibility of the person who submitted the entry.

Judging will be conducted by a panel of journalists. Employees of The Atlantic and National Journal are not eligible for the award. Announcement of the finalists typically occurs in the spring.

Questions may be directed to Ena Alvarado at