Robinson Prize

Do you know a great copy editor? You can encourage great copy editing by nominating someone — including yourself — for the Robinson Prize. Each year, the American Copy Editors Society honors one copy editor whose work demonstrates exceptional effectiveness. In addition to national recognition, the winner receives $3,000 and a plaque to hang where the boss can see it.

The American Copy Editors Society’s annual prize for excellence in copy editing is named for Pam Robinson, a founder and past president of ACES.

The deadline for submitting nominations is Dec. 31, at midnight Eastern time.


Nominees are evaluated on a combination of elements, which can include editing, design, mentoring and training, fostering a sense of teamwork and pride among colleagues, and anything else that furthers the craft of professional editing.

“This award isn’t designed to applaud the best speller or the best grammarian,” says ACES President Teresa Schmedding, who helped establish the award in 2005. “Being a good wordsmith isn’t enough. Today’s copy editors need to be skilled in conflict resolution, show excellent judgment, demonstrate initiative and be able to find creative solutions to help their publications succeed in this era filled with increased competition.”

The prize, first awarded in 2006, is named for Pam Robinson, who helped found ACES in 1997 and served as the society’s first president. One of her goals was to make copy editors more visible and to encourage them to take on a more constructive role.


The contest is open to all copy editors working for English-language publications, including those published only on the Internet. Work considered for nomination should be current but need not be tied to a specific calendar year. Members of the ACES Executive Committee, employees of ACES and the administrators of the contest are ineligible.

Preparing a nomination

The nominator should explain in no more than 1,000 words why the nominee should receive the Robinson Prize. Please be as specific as possible in stating what makes the nominee exceptional, how he or she furthers the craft or helps his/her organization succeed in an era of increased competition. Supporting documentation is encouraged but not required. The nominator must provide the names and contact information of four people familiar with the nominee’s work. One of the four must be the nominee’s direct supervisor. A reference from someone whose work the nominee edits will be welcome but is not mandatory.

Nominations are through online submission only. The deadline for submitting nominations is Dec. 31, 2016, at midnight Eastern time. The winner will be announced at the 2017 ACES National Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida.



The judges, former Robinson Prize winners and other people highly regarded in the profession, will contact the nominee’s four references and otherwise look into the supporting evidence. They will be urged to consider the disparate nature of the entries and come to a consensus on their importance to the copy-editing profession or to a specific organization. Self-nominations will be given equal consideration with nominations submitted by others.

One prize is offered annually, although the judges may choose not to award a prize if they determine that an insufficient number of entries has been received or that no entry is deserving of recognition. The judges may single out some entries for special recognition. No ties will be allowed.

The decisions of the judges will be final except under extraordinary circumstances. In such cases, the judges’ decisions may be reviewed by the ACES Executive Committee, which is empowered to resolve any disputes and which retains ultimate authority over the competition and award.

Entry fees

ACES members in good standing may enter for $50; non-members may enter for $200. To qualify for the lower rate, the nominee must be a member at the time the entry is submitted. A nominee who joins the society or renews a membership when the entry is submitted qualifies for the member rate.

For additional information about the Robinson Prize, write ACES at