Rules and Procedures for Media Awards

A. Popular Media Awards Committee

A Popular Media Awards Committee is appointed by the Chairperson of the Solar Physics Division in consultation with the Committee of the Division. The Popular Media Awards Committee shall consist of five members including a voting chairperson. Four of the members shall be chosen for their knowledge of solar astronomy or space physics, and the fifth member shall be chosen from outside the science community. Terms of office of the committee shall be two years with two or three new members being selected each year.

The Popular Media Awards Committee is to publish an announcement of the competition for the awards in publications of the Society and the Division.

No currently serving member of the Popular Media Awards Committee is eligible for a media award.

B. Popular Writing (Media) Awards

The Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society sponsors, with the cooperation of the American Astronomical Society, nominally two Popular Media Awards to be awarded annually to one journalist and one scientist who have contributions published in the popular media about the Sun or the effects of the Sun on the Earth’s environment. The purpose of these awards is to encourage scientists, science writers, and journalists to write about the Sun and thereby educate the public about results from contemporary solar research. The following rules govern the awards:

  1. The candidates shall be judged, and selections for the awards shall be made by a Popular Media Awards Committee.
  2. Awards shall be made annually in two categories, one for scientists (including both professionals and students) and another for science writers and journalists. One award shall be offered in each category.
  3. Any living scientist, science writer or journalist is eligible to receive an award without consideration of race, sex, or nationality, except that current members of the Popular Media Awards Committee are not eligible for awards in that year.
  4. The committee shall actively solicit nominations for the awards. Nominations of candidate articles may be submitted (in writing to the committee) by any member of the public. Self-nominations are welcome. The committee retains the privilege to nominate candidate articles themselves.
  5. Award candidates are either [1] popular or semi-popular articles, or collection of articles, that appear in a newspaper, magazine, or online, or [2] works of new media that incorporate substantial audio, visual, or interactive elements into the storytelling, about contemporary scientific studies of the Sun or the effects of the Sun on the Earth’s environment. The articles must be in English, and must have been published in a North American newspaper, magazine, or popular science journal or equivalent electronic publication during the previous calendar year. The winners will be selected be based on the following criteria: relevance to solar astronomy or solar physics, or space physics directly related with the Sun; educational value; accuracy in describing the scientific issues involved; clarity of presentation; number of readers who would likely have seen the article.
  6. The first author of each winning selection will receive a cash award and a certificate citing the article for which the award was made. In case of articles with multiple authors, each co-author will receive such a certificate.
  7. The Division will arrange the funding for the awards, including the cost of producing award certificates (if any), although the Society, as the legal corporate body, is the legal agent for the administration of the funds for these purposes. The awards may be funded in part from the operating funds of the Division. The competition for the awards is subject to annual approval of the SPD Committee.
  8. The winners of the awards shall be announced at the annual meeting of the Division. Formal announcement of the winners of the awards will be carried in the Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society.

As stated in the Bylaws, Section X.2, The above procedures may be changed either by a majority vote of the SPD members voting at a business meeting or by a majority approval by the SPD membership voting by electronic ballot.