I’m delighted to invite university students to apply for my 2024 win-a-trip contest. I’ve been holding these contests since 2006, and taking the winners along with me on a reporting trip to cover global poverty and social justice issues. My aim is to get more people writing about these neglected topics and to generate more interest in them.
The winner may write for The New York Times. HBO made a documentary called “Reporter” based on my 2007 win-a-trip journey to Congo with the winners Leana Wen and Will Okun; it’s available to stream on Amazon and iTunes if you want to see what you’re getting yourself in for. The contest opens now and the entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. E.T. on Jan. 7, 2024.
The contest is open to students enrolled in an American two- or four-year college or university, either as an undergraduate or at the graduate level. Please use the form below to submit an essay of up to 700 words explaining why we should pick you to win the trip. Tell us about yourself and what you would bring to the reporting and to readers. If you’d like, you may also suggest where we should go and what you would like to write about for The Times, and/or discuss your aspirations and what you would like to be doing in 10 years. Our goal is to get a better understanding of you, your accomplishments and your writing ability. Read the full rules below.
What are we looking for? Someone very smart, with excellent communication skills, so that your writing and posts on social media will elevate these issues. If you blog or have other writing, photography or video experience, be sure to mention it and include links; you’re also welcome to include a short bio to give us more of a sense of your interests and accomplishments.
My plan is to travel for a week or two with the winner, perhaps in the late spring or early summer. I’ll try to work around the winner’s schedule. Your expenses will be covered, but there’s no cash award. I’m not sure just where we’ll travel, and I’m not even sure that it’ll be abroad. Possibilities include Zimbabwe or Congo, Native American reservations, Suriname or Papua New Guinea, or perhaps somewhere else entirely.
Also, remember that traveling is sometimes tough. The joke within The New York Times is that first prize is a trip with me; second prize is two trips with me. We may be bouncing over awful roads, eating wretched food, and you may get sick. “Hotel” rooms may come with bugs and rats. And we’ll be on the go from dawn to dusk. To get a sense of what the past winners have done, check out Tyler Pager’s blog posts from the Central African Republic in 2018, Aneri Pattani’s posts from Liberia in 2017, Austin Meyer’s post on malnutrition in India in 2015, Saumya Dave’s first impressions of Morocco in 2011 and Paul Bowers’s reflections in 2009 on how religion in Liberia shares many similarities with the South.
You can also see what past win-a-trip winners are up to now; the 2013 winner, Erin Luhmann, caught up with previous winners, going back to Casey Parks in 2006. In 2016, the winner Cassidy McDonald and I reported on domestic poverty here in the United States. In 2019, I went to Guatemala with the winner Mia Armstrong, and she wrote great stories like this and this. This year I traveled with Maddie Bender to Sierra Leone and other countries in West Africa, and she wrote a terrific story about L.G.B.T.Q. communities there.
If you want to get a sense of the issues I cover and care about, follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Threads. But don’t feel you need to agree with me to apply or win. And I’d like to see a diverse pool of applicants, so if you don’t look like me, that’s welcome. Writers of color, women, L.G.B.T.Q. students, conservatives, liberals, artists, athletes, veterans — send in your essays! One other suggestion: Only one person will win this trip, but you can always try to take your own trip to learn about the world. Africa can be relatively expensive, but traveling around Mexico, India and Bangladesh or Vietnam and Cambodia may be more affordable. You may also be able to get a job teaching English abroad to defray expenses. You can find ideas for places to volunteer abroad at omprakash.org and idealist.org. And for that matter, there are many opportunities to leave your comfort zone without leaving this country: tutor in a prison or in a school in a poor area. Over the years, I’ve heard from a number of win-a-trip applicants who, disgusted by my poor judgment in failing to pick them, went off on their own journeys and had life-shaping experiences. So if you don’t win my trip, you can still win your own!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.
1. Sponsor: The Win-a-Trip With Nick Kristof Contest (the “Contest”) is sponsored by The New York Times Company, a New York corporation with principal offices at 620 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018 (“Sponsor”).
2. Contest Description: The Contest is a skill-based competition in which participants will compete to be selected as author of the top essay, as selected by Sponsor. The author of the winning entry will be awarded the opportunity to travel on a reporting trip as the guest of Nick Kristof. Participants will be invited to submit essays. The winner will also have an opportunity to submit a regular report from the trip to nytimes.com.
By participating in this Contest, each participant agrees to be bound by these Official Rules and to the decisions of Sponsor and any judge(s) selected by Sponsor, which are final and binding on all matters relating to the Contest.
The Contest submission period begins at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2023, and ends at 11:59 p.m. E.T. on Jan. 7, 2024 (the “Submission Period”). To be eligible, submissions must be submitted during the Submission Period and in accordance with these Official Rules.
The Contest judging period begins on Jan. 8, 2024, and ends on or about Feb. 14, 2024 (the “Judging Period”). Eligible submissions will be reviewed by judge(s) selected in the sole discretion of Sponsor and will be judged in accordance with Section 5 of these Official Rules. One (1) winner (the “Winner”) will be selected.
Sponsor will attempt to contact the Winner, or an alternate if necessary, in accordance with Section 6 of these Official Rules.
3. Eligibility: The Contest is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years old at the time of entry and current undergraduate or graduate students (including those who are expected to graduate in the first six  months of 2024) at an American college or university at the time of entry (each an “Entrant”). Void in Puerto Rico and all jurisdictions other than those stated above and where prohibited or restricted by law. Employees, representatives, agents, directors and officers of Sponsor and its affiliate companies, as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) and household members of each such employee, are not eligible. The Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Participation constitutes Entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and Sponsor’s decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Contest.
The Winner must be available for travel on the dates selected by Nick Kristof. The Winner must also demonstrate to Sponsor, at least 30 days before departure that Winner has (i) a valid U.S. passport (if travel will be international); (ii) all vaccinations and preventive medications required or recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control for travel to the trip location; and (iii) recent medical clearance, following a physical examination. All information submitted is subject to verification by Sponsor. The Sponsor will award the Prize only upon winner confirmation, verification and final approval.
Entry constitutes each Entrant’s certification that the Entrant meets the eligibility requirements set forth in these Official Rules. Sponsor reserves the right to verify and confirm each Entrant’s age and compliance with other eligibility requirements. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.
By submitting an entry, each Entrant represents and warrants that there are no limits on the rights of the Entrant to enter this Contest, nor will any Entrant enter into any agreement or assume any obligation that limits the right or ability of that Entrant to participate in the Contest, or grant to Sponsor the specified rights as contemplated by Section 8 of these Official Rules.
4. How to Enter: To enter the Contest, during the Contest Period, submit an essay of no more than 700 words through the form above. You may also include a short bio and links to your blog, website, photography or video work, but these are not required. If you have questions, please email [email protected].
5. Judging Period: During the Judging Period, all Essays that meet the Essay requirements listed in Section 4 above will be reviewed by judge(s) selected in Sponsor’s sole discretion. Applicants will be judged on the basis of talent and writing ability, style, creativity and originality. Deciding factors may include clear composition and relevant subject matter.
6. Winner Notification and Announcement: The potential Winner, as determined by the judges, will be notified by email (via the email address listed on the Entry Form) or phone before the announcement in March 2024, and will be required to respond as directed to the notification attempt. Failure to make a timely response to the notification may result in forfeiture of participation in the Contest and, in such a case, Sponsor will select an alternate Winner. The potential Winner will be required to execute and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release (where legally permissible) and other documents required by Sponsor within a reasonable amount of time, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. If the potential Winner cannot be contacted by email after the first attempt, or if the potential Winner fails to sign and return the affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release within the required time period (if applicable), or if the potential Winner is unavailable to travel on the dates specified by Sponsor, the potential Winner will be disqualified and an alternate entry will be selected in its place from all eligible entries received according to the judging criteria described above. Sponsor reserves the right to extend or modify the Winner notification and announcement schedule as Sponsor deems necessary in its sole discretion to complete the verification process contemplated by these Official Rules and/or to select an alternate Winner.
7. Prize: One (1) Prize: The Winner will receive the opportunity to travel on one (1) trip with Nick Kristof, including a round trip airplane ticket or other travel, all trip meals, lodging and transportation, and other reasonable out-of-pocket expenses of Sponsor’s choosing, and Winner’s Essay may be published on nytimes.com and/or in the print version of The New York Times (subject to Sponsor’s approval) (the “Prize”). The approximate retail value of the Prize is $4,500. The Prize is nontransferable and no substitution will be made except as provided herein at the Sponsor’s sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute the Prize for one of equal or greater value if the designated prize should become unavailable for any reason. Winner is responsible for all taxes and fees associated with the Prize receipt and/or use.
8. Grant of Rights: In consideration of an Entrant’s Essay being reviewed and evaluated for this Contest, each Entrant hereby grants a nonexclusive, irrevocable, fully paid, universal license to use, copy, sublicense, distribute, publish or display such Essay (and, if applicable, any reports from the trip), or any portion thereof in any media now known or hereafter devised and for any purpose, including advertising or promotions, and to use the name, likeness, voice, biographical information and image of Entrant in any media now known or hereafter devised and for any purpose, including advertising or promotion of the Contest Entities. Entrant acknowledges and agrees that: (i) Sponsor has access to and/or may create or have created literary, visual and/or materials, ideas and concepts which may be similar or identical to the Contest Entry in theme and/or other respects; (ii) Entrant will not be entitled to any compensation or other consideration because of the use by Sponsor of any such similar or identical material, ideas and/or concepts; and (iii) Sponsor’s use of material containing elements similar to or identical with those contained in the Contest Entry, Essay or reports from the trip shall not obligate Sponsor to negotiate with nor entitle Entrant to any compensation or other claim.
9. Entrant Representations, Warranties, Indemnification and Release: By entering, each Entrant represents and warrants to Sponsor that: (i) the Essay (and Sponsor’s and its designees’ use thereof) does not and will not defame or otherwise violate the rights of any third party, and does not and will not violate any federal, state, or local laws or ordinances; (ii) the Essay is an original work and is not copied in whole or in part from any other source or previously distributed or disseminated in any media or format, with no elements generated by artificial intelligence; and (iii) the Essay is not in violation of or conflict with the trademark, copyright, rights of privacy, rights of publicity or any other rights, of any kind or nature, of any other person or entity. Any individual who attempts to enter, or in the sole discretion of Sponsor is suspected of entering more than once, by any means, including but not limited to submitting multiple Essays, will be disqualified from the Contest. In addition, Sponsor reserves the right to reject any submission without explanation. Each Entrant agrees to defend and indemnify Sponsor for any breach of the above representations. By submitting an entry, each Entrant agrees to indemnify, defend, release, discharge and hold harmless Sponsor and its affiliates, subsidiaries, promotional partners and agents, and all others associated with the development and execution of this Contest, and the officers, directors and employees of each of the foregoing, from any and all claims and liabilities arising from or in connection with participation in this Contest, including, without limitation: (i) claims for injury, loss or damage of any kind resulting from participation in this Contest or acceptance or use of any prize; and (ii) claims based on rights of privacy, rights of publicity, false light, defamation, copyright and/or trademark infringement relating to the submission or exploitation of the Entrant’s Essay. If an Entrant is a California resident, such Entrant hereby waives California Civil Code Section 1542, which states: “A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release, which, if known by him or her must have materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor.”
WITHOUT LIMITING THE FOREGOING, EVERYTHING REGARDING THIS CONTEST IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. SOME JURISDICTIONS MAY NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES, SO SOME OF THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS MAY NOT APPLY. CHECK LOCAL LAWS FOR ANY RESTRICTIONS OR LIMITATIONS REGARDING THESE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS.
10. General Terms and Conditions: Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion, without prior notice, to (i) cancel, suspend and/or modify the Contest, or any part of it, for any reason, including if any fraud, technical failures or any other factor beyond Sponsor’s reasonable control impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Contest, as determined by Sponsor; (ii) disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or any other promotion or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner; and (iii) cancel or reschedule the trip, in whole or in part, as well as the right to dismiss the Winner from further participation in the trip as a result of conduct that is considered improper or offensive to the local community, is likely to be detrimental to the health or safety of the Winner or other individuals, or demonstrates that the individual is not capable or unwilling to participate fully in the trip experience. Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. All decisions by Sponsor are final and binding.
11. Limitation of Liability: Sponsor is not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, printing errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Contest; (4) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Contest or the processing of entries; (5) late, lost, undeliverable, damaged or stolen mail; or (6) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Contest or receipt or use or misuse of any prize. Sponsor is not responsible for typographical or other errors in the offer or administration of this contest, including but not limited to errors in advertising, the Official Rules, the selection and announcement of Winners or the distribution of any prize.
12. Governing Law; Disputes: This Contest is governed by the internal laws of the State of New York without regard to principles of conflict of laws. Except where prohibited, Entrant agrees that: (i) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York or the appropriate New York State Court located in New York County, New York; and (ii) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering this Contest, but in no event attorneys’ fees.
14. Winner List: Winner List requests will only be accepted after the Contest end date and no later than March 31, 2024. For the Winner List, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Winner List — 2024 Win a Trip With Nick Kristof,” ATTN: Spencer Cohen, 620 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018. Requests received without a self-addressed, stamped envelope will not be filled.