Award Winners

2022

Science Reporting – Large Outlet

Gold

This tree has stood here for 500 years. Will it be sold for $17,500?

The Washington Post -- December 30, 2021

In an evocative piece from Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, reporter Juliet Eilperin and photographer Salwan Georges use a single majestic Sitka spruce tree, the height of a 17-story building, to spotlight the battle over the fate of increasingly scarce old-growth timber. The tree is estimated to contain at least 6,000 board feet of lumber worth $17,500. Just as impressively, it has locked up nearly 12 metric tons of carbon dioxide in its fibers, a repository for the heat-trapping greenhouse gases that threaten humanity. “Covered in a riotous mix of pale lichens and deep-green moss,”...Read more

Silver

Anatomy of a Killer

Sϋddeutsche Zeitung -- January 7, 2022

Throughout much of 2020, the World Health Organization maintained that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads through relatively large respiratory droplets that are expelled by infected people while coughing, sneezing or speaking. It took many months for the agency to acknowledge that the virus could travel on tiny particles called aerosols that can spread widely and linger in the air. What happens inside the aerosol particles and how does the virus get into the lungs and cells of a new victim? A research team led by biophysicist Rommie Amaro of the University of California...Read more

2021

Science Reporting – Large Outlet

Gold

"A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air" Oct. 29, 2020

El País (Spain)

The judges praised the El País entry for examining the risks of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 at a time when understanding of the aerosol spread of the disease was still developing. The virus is most contagious in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, the story said, and the danger can be reduced by applying all available measures to inhibit infection via aerosols. The story provided a detailed overview of the likelihood of infection in three everyday scenarios―aerosol spread at a social gathering in a living room; in a bar with reduced capacity; and in a school classroom...Read more

Silver

"The Mystery of Why Some People Keep Testing Positive for Covid-19" July 28, 2020

Elemental (from Medium)

Opening with the story of a young woman who tested positive multiple times for the coronavirus even after her symptoms of COVID-19 disease had resolved, Roxanne Khamsi described efforts by scientists to determine whether the virus can hang around in the body for much longer than initially believed and, if so, whether it can remain infectious. Her piece offered a nuanced look at confusing and incomplete data as scientists struggled to better understand the activity of the virus and the limitations of existing tests for detecting its presence in the body. Over time, does the standard PCR...Read more

2020

Science Reporting – Large Outlet

Gold

"Hollowed -Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus" July 1, 2020

Kaiser Health News and The Associated Press

Lauren Weber, Laura Ungar, Hannah Recht and Anna Maria Barry-Jester of Kaiser Health News teamed up with Michelle R. Smith of The Associated Press for an extensive investigation  into decades of public health defunding that has exacerbated the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The team uncovered just how ill-equipped state and local health programs had become when the pandemic hit. When a bungled federal response left local health departments to often fend for themselves, the pandemic placed an overwhelming new strain on these underfunded systems. The reporters spoke with “more...Read more

Silver

"The Storm Inside" April 12, 2020

The Washington Post

Sarah Kaplan told the heart-wrenching story of Keith Redding, an early March COVID-19 victim who became an important case study for doctors battling the virus. Redding first checked into the hospital with a suspected pneumonia infection. Early CT scans showed a lung symptom doctors have come to associate with the virus called “ground glass opacity.” Redding later experienced a cytokine storm, another tell-tale effect of the virus that occurs when a patient’s stressed immune system mounts an overaggressive internal attack. “This is the tragedy of the coronavirus,” writes Kaplan. “It hijacks...Read more