Esserman-Knight Journalism Awards

Esserman-Knight Journalism Awards

Meet the 2024 Esserman-Knight Award Recipients and Finalists

Twenty-seven outstanding journalists were finalists for this year’s award

About the Esserman-Knight Journalism Awards

A prestigious recognition program that celebrates and encourages outstanding investigative and public service reporting in South Florida, the Esserman Knight Awards honor journalists who take risks to expose injustice and demand accountability in order to support a more engaged and informed South Florida community.

The awards are by nomination only. Entries include an article or series of related articles (up to three) on a single topic. The nominated entries should serve the public by holding the powerful accountable, shedding light on a pervasive or underreported community problem or breaking new ground on an issue.

Works are judged by the quality of analysis and storytelling, rigor of newsgathering, inclusion of community voices and the impact on public understanding or action. Winners receive a $10,000 first prize, $5,000 second prize and $1,000 honorable mention prizes.

Find answers to frequently asked questions here. For more information, please email [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can nominate an awards candidate?
Anyone, living anywhere, can nominate a journalist or a team of journalists. That includes people who work in journalism, members of the public, or a person impacted by a news story. Self nominations are not accepted.

Who can be nominated?
A journalist or team of journalists can be nominated for a story or series of related stories (up to three) published or broadcast in 2023 that include original investigative or public service reporting from Miami-Dade, Broward, or Monroe counties.

How many awards will be given?
Awards include a $10,000 first prize, a $5,000 second prize, and honorable mentions of $1,000.

Will the nomination be made public?
Yes. All nominations are shared with the journalists behind the story and with the public.

After I make a nomination, may I edit my submission?
Yes. You may edit your nomination with any updates, changes, or basic corrections throughout the nomination phase. Once the review phase begins, applications will close.

Can journalists from organizations based outside South Florida apply for this prize?
While the works nominated must focus on Miami-Dade, Broward, or Monroe counties, they do not need to be published or broadcast by an organization based there. This means that reporters, correspondents, and freelancers for organizations based outside South Florida are eligible.

Do the nominees have to be U.S. citizens?
No. These awards are open to journalists of all nationalities.

How many journalists can be included in an entry?
No more than four individuals may be credited on a nomination. Nominations that have more than four people will submit their entry as “Staff.”

Are these awards for a single story? Can nominations showcase a series or continuing coverage of a topic or event?
Each entry must focus on a single story. An entry may be a single piece, several pieces from a series (up to three), or an original piece and its follow-up developments. Each piece must be produced by the same journalist or group of journalists.

What questions are on the nomination form?
Nominations must include a link to a story or the stories, the name(s) of the journalist(s), and an up to 250-word description on why the nominator put forward this entry for the award.

What journalism mediums are eligible for this prize?
Print, online, television, radio, video, audio and data visualization work—either standalone or in combination—are eligible. Podcasts are eligible, though only three episodes can be submitted. Any documentaries must be under 60 minutes in length.

Are non-English stories eligible for this prize?
Stories that were published or broadcast in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole are eligible for this prize. While the stories featured in the nomination can be in those languages, the narrative component of the nomination must be prepared in English.

What are the selection criteria you are using?
Projects will be evaluated on the quality of analysis and storytelling, rigor of newsgathering, inclusion of community voices, and impact on policy understanding or action.

Who decides who wins?
A jury of professional journalists, community leaders and Esserman family members will select the winners.

When will I know if I’m selected as a winner?
Winners and runners-up will be notified in April, with an awards ceremony and public announcement to follow.

Who are the funders of these awards?
The Esserman-Knight Journalism Awards are supported by the Esserman Family Fund for Investigative Journalism at The Miami Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Esserman family encourages others to join them and the Knight Foundation in this endeavor to sustain a free press by supporting local journalism.

Who are Ron and Charlene Esserman?
After the couple moved to Miami from Chicago in 1968, Ron Esserman built a network of businesses in South Florida in the automotive industry. Heralded for his focus on quality and integrity, Ron brought humanism to his workplace and invested in the advancement and well-being of his employees.

Ron and Charlene also supported many local causes, establishing community organizations that contributed to the cultural health and well-being of South Florida. They helped establish Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate Foundation, and shaped the Miami City Ballet, the Florida Grand Opera and the Arsht Center. Throughout their lives, they were engaged in the political process and supported candidates and causes that focused on guaranteeing free speech, equality for all, quality education and access to resources to enable everyone to build a better life.

The Esserman family is investing in strengthening local journalism in South Florida through the Esserman Family Fund for Investigative Journalism, which supports this prize and an annual, year-long investigative reporting fellowship at a local outlet.

Learn more about the impact of Ron Esserman and his legacy.

You can subscribe or donate to your local news outlets, and you can make a gift to the Esserman Family Fund for Investigative Journalism at the Miami Foundation, clicking this link.

For further questions, please email: [email protected]