American Nuclear Society

Home / Honors and Awards

Darlene Schmidt Science News Award

The American Nuclear Society is recognized as a reliable source for technical information related to nuclear science and technology. This bi-annual award was established in 2017 to acknowledge an accurate, innovative, and well-researched science-related media story, or portfolio of stories, readily accessible to the general public. It seeks to draw the public’s attention to quality media coverage related to science, technology, engineering and math, including, but not exclusive to, nuclear applications. The Darlene Schmidt Science News Award seeks out journalists and science writers who demonstrate keen effort to report on the work of professionals in nuclear science and technology fields.


  1. Entries must have been published or broadcast in print, online, or on the air by a media outlet intended for the general public. Articles in scientific or professional journals or exclusively for a scientific professional readership will not be considered.
  2. To ensure relevancy of the award, articles must have been published in 2018 or 2019.
  3. Entries may be authored by individual reporters or by more than one contributor to an individual piece or series.
  4. No entry fee is required.
  5. Nominations can be submitted by all ANS members or qualifying journalists who self-nominate. Permission from the author(s) or media outlet is not required. Nominees will be informed in advance of the award only if they are selected as finalists.
  6. The selected honoree(s) should be available to attend at least one day of the 2020 ANS Annual Meeting, which will take place June 7–11, 2020.

Who May Apply?

  1. Journalists and science writers are encouraged to apply.
  2. Individuals or organizations may nominate an article or video, or group of articles or videos, for consideration.
  3. Nominees should have published a single long-form article (more than 700 words), multiple short articles, or a video of no more than five minutes, pertaining to any of the fields represented in ANS technical divisions and working groups as represented on
  4. Nominees must be willing to attend the 2020 ANS Annual Meeting and speak to nuclear professionals about the craft of reporting science news and/or their experience as a science journalist.


Noon, Central Time, September 13, 2019. The honoree will be notified no later than October 21, 2019.


Judges represent a balanced selection of ANS members who have experience as educators, media producers and science professionals, who bring knowledge about the media and scientific quality of written explanations. Judges will offer commentary about the winning entry, which will be released when the winner of the award is formally announced at the 2019 ANS Winter Meeting.


Submissions will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 in each of the five categories below. Awards will be provided to the top-rated portfolio. In the case of a tie, the selection committee will conduct a run-off review. The judging criteria favors high-quality writing that is reliably sourced and researched, with a strong narrative and good use of scientific evidence to support talking points.

Criteria 1—Creative Engagement: Writer adopts a non-technical tone and tells a creative, engaging story about science, technology, engineering and/or math subjects.

Criteria 2—Audience Awareness: Writer’s overall article is clear and understandable to a nonscientific audience. Jargon is avoided or clearly explained.

Criteria 3—Consistency: Writing demonstrates writer’s consistent quality and attention to scientific detail. Whether in a single long-form, in-depth piece or multiple short articles or videos, the author includes reliable sources with distinctive points of view and reinforces points with supporting data, facts or examples.

Criteria 4—Content: Supporting scientific information such as tables and visuals are clearly presented and explained. Writer draws accurate conclusions from analyzed data.

Criteria 5—Writing/Reporting: Readers/viewers find text or video well organized and logical, free of spelling and grammar errors.

The Award

The awardee(s) will be invited to the American Nuclear Society’s Annual Meeting, June 7–11, 2020, at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. Transportation and lodging will be provided up to $1,500 for coach/economy airfare or ground transportation and parking*, up to two nights’ hotel, and transportation to/from airports. Registration for the ANS Annual Meeting will be provided at no charge.

For questions or manual nomination submissions, email

No phone calls, please. Nominations must be received by noon, Central Time, September 13, 2019.

* Ground transportation will be provided as mileage reimbursement based on the federal government rate at the time of travel and will require documentation of mileage from the recipient’s home to the Wardman Park Hotel. Receipts must be provided to ANS for expense reimbursement.

Last modified October 2, 2017, 4:34pm CDT