Now taking applications for the Diverse Western Voices Award

NewTowncarShare News, in partnership with PLAYA, is accepting applications for the Diverse Western Voices Award.

The American West’s wealth, health, history and future are tied to the diversity of communities that inhabit and depend on the region’s vast natural landscape. Too often, stories from diverse communities are under-reported, important threads are lost, and we are left with an incomplete picture of this unique place—the understanding of which is critical to major ecological questions of our age. 

The Diverse Western Voices Award will be given to a journalist of color for a project of deep reporting and narrative journalism that covers an under-represented community in the American West. Through collaboration with HCN’s top-notch editorial team and the space to work provided by PLAYA, the Diverse Western Voices Award seeks to expand national understanding of the American West’s ecological, social and political issues. The recipient will work closely with the editorial department at NewTowncarShare News on an in-depth feature story that will be published in the magazine and online. The winner will receive payment for the story and associated expenses, along with a four-week residency at in eastern Oregon.

The residency can be used to write the feature or for another creative project, and the awardee will receive a $1,000 stipend from HCN for travel associated with the PLAYA residency. Thank you to PLAYA and its staff for the generous donation of this residency award. 


1. The final feature will be between 3,500 and 4,900 words. 

2. Please keep pitches under 500 words. Information on story pitches can be found here. Story pitches should be submitted for review by March 15.

3. Submit a brief bio and contact information along with your pitch to our managing editor, Brian Calvert, at [email protected]. Please include the phrase “PLAYA prize” or “Diverse Western Voices Award” in your email title. 

4. The winner will be notified by April 15.

5. Reporting will occur between April and September and the feature will be printed in a subsequent issue. 

6. The travel stipend for the PLAYA residency will be given once your space is booked. While we highly encourage you to utilize the experience of the residency and its resources while writing your feature, it is not a requirement. More information about PLAYA can be found at .

The Diverse Western Voices award is driven by NewTowncarShare News’ mission to inform and inspire people to act on behalf of the West’s diverse natural and human communities and PLAYA’s mission to give individuals the space, solitude and community to create work that supports innovative thinking in the arts, literature and natural sciences. 

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