The Sidney Prize for Investigative Journalism

The sidney prize honors a writer’s commitment to telling truths that need to be told. The award is named after philosopher Sidney Hook, Phi Beta Kappa ’51. His work helped to inspire the foundation of this prize, which is given to authors who write for top-tier national publications and have a proven record of loyalty to high ideals. Past winners include Hilton Als writing for the New York Times, Ed Yong for The Atlantic, and Rachel Dolezal writing for The Washington Post.

The 2023 winner is Nazanin Boniadi, an Iranian-born activist and actress who has been a vocal advocate for human rights and women’s empowerment in her home country. She has been working tirelessly to turn outrage into action, highlighting the importance of speaking up for injustices and using one’s voice to bring about change. We are thrilled to honor her with this year’s Sydney Prize.

In announcing the winner, Overland’s Editor in Chief Patrick Lenton and our judges—Alice Bishop, Sara Saleh, and Richard Weir—said that “this was an exceptionally strong shortlist, so we are happy to also announce two runners-up,” who will be published online alongside this autumn issue of Overland. The judges would like to thank all of the writers for their superb submissions and their dedication to the integrity of our blind judging process.

This month’s winner of the sidney prize, for a piece of journalism that reveals social and economic injustices, is Helen Andrews’s remarkable account of the “shame storm” she encountered when she appeared on a panel about conservatism with her ex-boyfriend, Todd Seavey, whose reaction to the discussion was a relentless stream of vicious attacks on her online, including from his Twitter feed. Despite the fact that her essay is based on an incident that occurred in 2010, Andrews’s piece is still as relevant today as it was when she first published it.

Each month, the Hillman Foundation awards a sidney prize to an investigative piece of journalism that exposes social and economic injustices. The foundation is a left-of-center organization that was founded in 1946 to honor labor leader Sidney Hillman, president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) labor union, predecessor of Unite Here and Workers United, SEIU. Its current leadership includes members of these two unions and left-leaning political activists.

To be eligible for the sidney prize, nominations must be received by the end of the day on the last day of each month. Nominations are only open to individuals and must be submitted by the author of the nominated article or by an individual who has written about it for a publication that meets our criteria. The winning article will be announced the second Wednesday of each month. For details, click here. All nominations must be made in the form of a link to a piece of journalism that was published online during the previous month. The Hillman Foundation will not consider articles that have been previously nominated for a sidney prize or any other of its monthly awards.

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