2023 General Excellence in Online Journalism, Micro Newsroom finalist


About the Project

When we launched Undark in 2016, we were aware that the political and economic tensions shaping our world often hinged on scientific and technological questions — from vaccines and genetic engineering to climate change, AI, and stem cell research. We also knew that the explosion of dubious online news sources was fast eroding the public’s ability to accurately weigh these complex issues.

With a tiny staff and a modest, nonprofit budget, we positioned Undark as a bulwark against that erosion — with two primary goals: producing rigorous, fact-checked journalism that harnesses the tools of our digital medium; and delivering it with an elegant, accessible design that honors the hard work of the storytellers we commission. The stories we publish probe science as it intersects with politics, culture, and economics. And as part of our model, we give our journalism away for free to other publications, who are welcome to republish any of our work at their own sites.

Seven years later, at the tail end of a pandemic and amidst an unprecedented spread of online disinformation and other falsehoods, Undark’s mission has never seemed more vital — and our commitment to serving the public has never been stronger. In this past year, in addition to our regular coverage on everything from ChatGPT to the increasingly urgent effects of climate change, we have also produced ambitious special projects including a deeply reported package on the fraught legacy of race science.

Over its first years of publishing, Undark’s work has earned top prizes in journalism, including the prestigious George Polk Award. In the past year alone, our coverage has drawn honors from the National Association of Science Writers, the Society of Environmental Journalists, and the Asian American Journalists Association. Our race science package was a for a National Magazine Award, and our work will also be featured in the 2023 edition of The Best American Science and Nature Writing.

Undark’s work is now routinely republished by some of the world’s most respected media brands, including The Atlantic, NPR, Scientific American, Wired, and Mother Jones. These republishing partners have come to value our work because they know it to be accurate, fair, nonpartisan, and scrupulously vetted.

We hope that you, too, will see the value in the nonprofit work that Undark brings to the world at this precarious cultural — and journalistic — moment.