A doctor’s use of science and skill may be the easiet part of patient care, Gawande wrote in his winning piece. But the best outcomes can depend on other, more nebulous factors “like aggressiveness and consistency and ingenuity.”

“Gawande’s article described how doctors respond to the sometimes painful product of good scientific analysis,” said Neil Munro of the National Journal, who served as a judge.

"I think there is an enormous amount to be learned from close, detailed observation of cases,"  said Gawande, who is a practicing surgeon as well as a staff writer for The New Yorker. "It succeeds in generating new knowledge."

Gawande said he views his reporting as an effort to revive the importance of individual case studies in elucidating the mysteries of disease. “It’s journalism with a small j,” he said.


Elizabeth Kolbert put the global warming issue in historical perspective, dug beneath the surface of the ongoing political debate, and visited locales where climate change is having an impact. Her series “is everything science journalism should be,” said judge Tom Siegfried, former science editor of The Dallas Morning News. “It’s thorough, accurate, compelling and dramatic. It weaves the science of global warming into the story of the people who grapple with it, from policy centers to the Alaskan permafrost.”

“Elizabeth Kolbert doesn’t just say global warming exists,” said Mary Knudson, a freelance science writer and editor who served as a judge. “She takes readers on trip after trip and shows them in person its alarming effects.”

Kolbert said she originally had intended to do a single story on the effects of climate change in the Arctic but was urged by David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, to expand her reporting. With the ongoing political debate over climate change, Kolbert said, “I really did try to avoid a polemic.”

The print judging committee found the work of Kolbert and Gawande to be exceptional and recommended that two awards be given in the magazine category.