The Fischer-Zernin Award is a new student journalism award underwritten by Max Fischer-Zernin, one of the original student researchers in the Duke Reporters’ Lab who graduated from Duke in 2015.

“Duke students have a tremendous opportunity to contribute to Durham’s civic discourse by shining a light on misunderstood or overlooked community issues,” said Fischer-Zernin. “This award seeks to encourage Duke students to apply the skills they develop on campus to produce original journalism that engages and informs the communities they cover.”


The award, for articles/podcasts/video segments published in the prior calendar year, will carry a $500 prize. It will be presented in April at the annual DeWitt Wallace Center journalism awards ceremony along with the Melcher Award for Excellence in Student Journalism and the Futrell Award for Outstanding Achievement in Journalism by a Duke alum


Students can submit work for the Melcher or Fischer-Zernin awards using this form. The deadline is March 8.

Contact if you have any questions.

Fischer-Zernin Local News Award Recipients



Chloe Nguyen, ‘No one came around for days’: Senior and disabled residents describe a harrowing 35-hour Christmas blackout(and follow-up story). The 9th Street Journal


Charlotte Kramon, Black football players say Durham sheriff’s office gave distorted and insensitive account of traffic stops, The 9th Street Journal


Carmella Guaglianone, I watched all 162 crashes at the Can Opener. Here’s what I saw. The 9th Street Journal, April 13, 2021


Hannah Miao, For Cleveland’s AsiaTown, Statewide Orders, Barriers to Resources and Coronavirus Stigmas Have Proved a Devastating Combination,
Cleveland Scene, May 5, 2020

Rebecca Torrence, The first one out there’: How Durham’s elections chief gets ready for the biggest day of the year, The 9th Street Journal, October 25, 2020


Ben Leonard, The death of Bill Bishop: Did the dog it?, The 9th Street Journal, and INDY Week, November 24, 2019

Erin Williams, Satana DeBerry and the quest to reform justice in Durham, The 9th Street Journal and INDY Week, December 17, 2019


Bill McCarthy, for a series of fact-checks about North Carolina’s congressional races in the weeks leading up to 2018 Election Day:

Does this GOP candidate actually want to ‘abolish’ the Department of Education?

Republican ‘voted to gut protections for pre-existing conditions?’ There’s more to it.

George Holding misleads on Obamacare premium increase during debate

Produced by the North Carolina Fact-Checking Project, The News & Observer and PolitiFact NC, 2018