The Award for Distinguished Science Journalism in the Atmospheric and Related Sciences recognizes outstanding science journalism about scientific discoveries, principles, advances, and impacts in all media outlets including radio, television, film, newspaper, magazine, social media, and online. The award embraces a broad definition of journalism including, but not limited to reporting, interviewing, humorous blogging, and opinion or commentary pieces, as long as they convey strong, accurate science.
The award is given for journalism that makes atmospheric and related sciences material accessible and interesting to the general public and is published or broadcast all or in part during the preceding calendar year. To be considered, each piece, including those in a body of work, must go beyond routine reporting of an event, such as publication of a scientific paper, to put the event in a wider scientific context. The report or reports can be: a single article or broadcast; a series of related articles or broadcasts; a single blog or series of blogs, sustained social media activity, opinion pieces, or multiple unrelated articles or broadcasts, representing a journalist's recent body of work covering different topics in the atmospheric and related sciences.
The award honors individuals rather than institutions, and is intended to honor professional journalists rather than scientists or others who do outreach or communication. Self nominations are allowed and encouraged, and nominations require little more than the submission of nominated materials. Nominations are considered by the Education and Human Resources Commission Board on Outreach and Public Education, which makes recommendations for final approval by AMS Council.
The AMS Board on Outreach and Public Education (BOPE) in consultation with the Commissioner for Education and Human Resources is responsible for overseeing the award process and forming the selection committee. The selection committee, not fewer than five members, shall be composed of scientists, educators, and journalists, at least one current member of the BOPE, and the Education and Human Resources Commissioner. The selection criteria are to include consideration of balance of the media type over time. The successful nomination will be reviewed by the STAC Commissioner for the quality of its scientific content. Only one recipient may be selected.