Win up to $1,000 for Journalists in the Debra E. Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize 2020

Bring your creative work depicting further understanding of labor history to this contest and stand a chance to be awarded prize money. 

The Winner will receive a monetary prize of $1000 and the winning article will be promoted to further the understanding of the history of working people. 

Application Deadline: August 30, 2020.


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The winner of the Bernhardt Prize will be awarded up to $1000. 


Criteria for entries for the contest include:

  • Articles focused on historical events. 
  • Articles about current issues (work, housing, organizing, health, education) with historical context.    


  • Only one entry per person is allowed 
  • Publications and subject matter should focus on the United States and Canada
  • Books and plays are not acceptable.

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Application Instructions

To enter the contest, forward an email before the deadline to with the following information: 

  • Author name
  • Title of Article
  • Name of Publication
  • Date and Place of Publication
  • URL link for article ( if no link is available, attach a pdf of the article and of the front page of the publication to your e-mail).

About the Debra E. Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize 2020

Based on the vision of the late Debra E. Bernhardt, an activist, an archivist, and a labor historian, the Debra E. Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize is one of a suite of initiatives administered by the LaborArts. 

Dedicated to Bernhardt, and the online exhibit “Making History Personal” that explores her work, the contest is focused on documenting the undocumented history of workers. 

The aim is to share the hidden histories of working people, unravel unrecognized contributions, and to make links between past and present. 

 The Labor Journalism Prize seeks to promote works that advocate further understanding of labor history. 

Discover more opportunities from LaborArts.

Key Dates and Order of Program

All works being entered for the contest should be published in print or online between August 26, 2019 and August 30, 2020.

The deadline for submissions is Sunday, August 30, 2020.

The winner will be announced at an online Forum on Labor Journalism on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 6 pm.

The prize will be granted to insightful work that

  • Contributes to the understanding of labor history 
  • Demonstrates creativity
  • Shows excellence in writing
  • Adheres to the highest journalistic standards of accuracy.  

The Contest is coordinated by a committee that includes: 

  • Irwin Yellowitz, NYLHA
  • Rachel Bernstein, NYLHA and LaborArts
  • Gary Schoichet, Metro
  • Kate Whalen, NYC CLC
  • Shannon O’Neill and Michael Koncewicz, Tamiment.

Networking and Partnership Opportunities

In order to inspire more great writing for a general audience about the history of work, workers, and their organizations, this contest award is sponsored by 

  • The New York Labor History Association 
  • New York University’s Tamiment Library
  • Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.  

The award is co-sponsored by 

  • LaborArts
  • Metro New York Labor Communications Council
  • The NYC  Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.  

Past Winners

Jaeah Lee received the 2018-19 Award for “The Real Cost of Working in the House of Mouse,” Topic Magazine (online), September 2018.  

She was a featured speaker at the 2019 Bernhardt Labor Journalism Forum on October 16, 2019.

Toni Gilpin received the 2017-18 Award for “A Louisville Union Built Its Strength as Blacks, Whites Took on International Harvester,” in Louisville Weekly, August 30, 2017.  

She received the prize at the Bernhardt Labor Journalism Forum on October 16, 2018.

Garret Keizer was the 2016-17 Award winner for his article “Labor’s Schoolhouse – Lessons from the Paterson Silk Strike of 1913,” in Harper’s Magazine, July 2017.   

The prize was awarded at the Third Annual Bernhardt Labor Journalism Forum on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at Tamiment Library.

Chloe Kent was the 2015-2016 winner, for her article “The Women of New York’s Bravest” in Enchantress magazine, May 2016. 

The award was announced at a forum at NYU’s Tamiment Library on October 13, 2016.

David Kameras and Emily Harris were the 2014-2015 winners for their May, 2014 article in the United Mine Workers Journal:  “From Tragedy to Triumph – 100 Years Later, Workers Benefit from Ludlow’s Legacy.”  

The presentation was held at NYU’s Tamiment Library.

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Babajide is a content writer and site admin at Camberene. He majored in zoology and is also a tech enthusiast proficient in the use of python, R and other data analytics tools.

Babajide is looking into using machine learning and artificial intelligence in the near future.

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