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What are The Metcalf Awards?

What are the Metcalf Awards?

Each year, Rhode Island for Community and Justice seeks to honor journalists whose work helps to make our state--and the world-- a better place. Our mission is to build understanding, in order to help fight bigotry, bias and racism. This requires in-depth, ethical and mindful storytelling about the struggles and triumphs we all face.

We acknowledge that journalists face some serious challenges in this time and place, from clickbait competition, job security issues, public mistrust, online and verbal abuse and even violence.

But we genuinely believe that journalism is important! This requires acknowledgement, especially today.

The stories we tell reflect who we are, as people, as a community.

So we look to the people of Rhode Island and our neighbors Massachusetts and Connecticut to nominate journalists doing great work in journalism. We look for nominees who are not just telling stories but actively putting a focus on diversity and equity in order to help promote public understanding and create positive change.

And we ask you to help us with this!

The annual award has been with us for 30 years now, and we believe it’s vital to stay relevant and highlight a wide variety of voices. We welcome professional journalists and community journalists, paid or volunteer. We welcome students as well as elders. We welcome nominations written in any language.

We know that the way stories get out to the public is changing, too, so we are willing to consider emerging forms of storytelling. Perhaps you’ve been inspired by a podcast? A mixed-media piece? An interpretive journalistic dance? (It’s possible…)

We won’t have the opportunity to honor this work unless you tell us!

So go ahead and fill out the form today.


Who can nominate someone for a Metcalf Diversity in the Media Award? All people are welcome to submit a nomination. You do not need to be a journalist to nominate. Current Metcalf judges and RICJ employees do not nominate.

What types of publications are eligible? Previous winners include many newspaper, magazine, internet, video and radio stories. We are open to new forms of journalism, including emerging and innovative models. If you have an additional question about this, don’t hesitate to ask.

What are we looking for exactly? It is important to us that our honorees’ work is related to diversity, with a thought-provoking and engaging style. All work must reflects a high standard of journalistic integrity. We want work which helps the public break down stereotypical ways of thinking rather than relying on tropes. And most of all, we want to honor work which tells true stories about our wonderfully diverse community.

What is the process of nomination? At this time, we ask that you fill out this form, also available in Spanish. We would love to hear your questions and feedback on the nomination process, please email

Who decides on the winners? RICJ convenes a panel of judges from the community who have experience in journalism, education and allied fields and they work together to make their decision based on a clear rubric.

Is there some kind of party or something? Yes! We hold a wonderful awards breakfast….and you’re invited! Traditionally, we hear from each honoree. They will speak about their piece, and when possible we will hear from the subject of the story, too. This year, this event will be held at Hotel Providence on the morning of May the ballroom.

See you there!

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