2015 Small Newspaper - Silver


Helga Rietz wrote an engaging story on efforts by Matthias Echternach — who is both a trained singer and a medical doctor — to study the physiology of the singing voice. Using high-speed cameras, endoscopes, custom-made masks to measure pressure and airflow in the throat, and magnetic resonance imaging, Echternach is looking for the physical attributes of a dramatic operatic voice, including that of soprano Renate Behle, one of his test subjects. There are as many questions as answers, Rietz notes, including the mystery of exactly how a singer controls the tiny oscillations in pitch that produce vibrato. Christina Horsten of Deutsche Presse-Agentur called Rietz's story "refreshing, unique, entertaining, and instructive at the same time." Adds Tim Radford, science editor emeritus of The Guardian: "This is what good science reporting should do, which is take you somewhere you'd never even thought of going." For Rietz, the story "connected my lifelong passions for both science and music."