Award Winners

2017

Large Newspaper

Gold

"The Uncounted"

Reuters

Fifteen years after the U.S. government declared antibiotic-resistant infections to be a grave threat to public health, a Reuters investigation, “The Uncounted,” found that infection-related deaths are going uncounted because federal and state agencies are doing a poor job of tracking them. They lack the political, legal and financial power to impose rigorous surveillance, including mandating that specific drug-resistant infections be routinely recorded on death certificates. The number of deaths from such infections, regularly cited in news reports and scholarly papers, are mostly...Read more

Silver

“Das grosse ABC”

Marlene Weiss

Translation

For more than 10 years, Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki worked largely by himself on a proof of the so-called ABC conjecture, one of the most important unresolved problems in mathematics. In the summer of 2012, he published it. The proof is encompassed in four scientific articles that together fill about 500 pages, according to writer Marlene Weiss, who entered a mathematical realm where the language is so strange that hardly anybody but...Read more

2016

Large Newspaper

Gold

"Het is een prachtig kind. Waarom is hij overleden?" (It is a beautiful child. Why did he die?") - 23 Apr. 2016

NRC Handelsblad

 

In a heartbreaking story about the stillbirth of their son, Mikki, journalists Jop de Vrieze and Zvezdana Vukojevic searched for answers within the Dutch system of prenatal care that might have helped prevent their son’s death. They delved into scientific articles, medical guidelines, policy documents, parliamentary papers and internal documents, and spoke to more than 30 sources. Infant mortality has been a topic of considerable discussion in The Netherlands since a 2003 study found the nation’s infant mortality rate was among the highest in the European Union. Midwives...Read more

Silver

“Narben am Grund - Scars in the Ground” - 23 Mar. 2016

Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich)

 

In 1989, German scientists plowed a patch of sea floor off Ecuador to study the possible effects of deep sea mining. They monitored the ten-square-kilometer plot for a few years and then moved on. In the summer of 2015, a new German research vessel returned to the site to explore what had happened in the 26 years since the first excavations in the fragile ecosystem. They found life on the sea floor had scarcely recovered. Not even bacteria have managed to fully recolonize the scars in the ocean floor, researchers found. Other species have never returned. Some...Read more

2015

Large Newspaper

Gold

"Advocates aim to save Baltimore children from impact of violence" - 14 Dec. 2014

"Families struggle to care for victims of violence" - 18 Dec. 2014

"Relatives of Baltimore murder victims struggle with grief" - 21 Dec. 2014

The Baltimore Sun

 

Andrea K. McDaniels of The Baltimore Sun won for her three-part "Collateral Damage" series which told what researchers have been learning about the impact of traumatic stress on children's health and the development of the young brain. Even as shootings, stabbings, and murder trials grab the spotlight, McDaniels wrote, violence in Baltimore "is exacting another insidious, often invisible, toll — warping the health and development of the city's youngest residents."

For more than a year, McDaniels examined the unseen impact...Read more

Silver

"Stéthoscope, Il n'a plus le monopole du coeur" (The stethoscope no longer holds a monopoly over our hearts) - 26 Nov. 2014

"Anguilles, Sept mille lieues sous les mers" (Eels, 7000 leagues under the sea) - 17 Dec. 2014

"La souris, Reine contestée des labos" (The mouse, challenged queen of the lab) - 18 Feb. 2015

Le Monde

 

In three well-crafted stories, Nathaniel Herzberg of Le Monde told his readers about the decline of the stethoscope as the undisputed symbol of the working physician; the efforts of scientists since the time of the ancient Greeks to understand the migration and metamorphoses of the European eel that crosses the Atlantic twice during its life cycle; and the diminished allure of mice as experimental subjects for the study of human diseases. Tim Radford, former science editor of The Guardian, called the Silver Award winner's work "a triptych of...Read more

2014

Large Newspaper

"Why Everyone Seems to Have Cancer" - 5 Jan. 2014

"A Tumor, the Embryo's Evil Twin" - 18 Mar. 2014

"An Apple a Day, and Other Myths" - 22 Apr. 2014

The New York Times

 

George Johnson, a contributor to The New York Times, won for three insightful essays on cancer and some of the misconceptions about the disease. Hillary Rosner, a freelance writer who was one of the judges, said Johnson's pieces "are gorgeously written and offer fascinating perspectives on a topic we like to think we know a lot about."

Johnson described how cancer is vying to become the final killer as heart disease and stroke are beaten back; how researchers are finding that the same genes that guide fetal cells as they multiply, migrate and create a...Read more

2013

Large Newspaper

"Deep Trouble" - 19 Aug., 22 Aug., 26 Aug. 2012

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Dan Egan, a science writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, won for a three-part series, "Deep Trouble," that examined why a seemingly radical solution — damming and reversing the flow of the Chicago River — may be necessary to protect the Great Lakes from the invasive Asian carp. The reporting was done as part of a master's thesis project at Columbia University, Egan said.

"I want to thank my editors for letting me go to New York to stretch my ability to write about these complicated topics, and for recognizing there was such a strange and interesting...Read more

2012

Large Newspaper

"Evolution Right Under Our Noses" - 26 July 2011

"A Sharp Rise in Retractions Prompts a Call for Reform" - 17 Apr. 2012

"Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden" - 19 June 2012

The New York Times

 

Carl Zimmer, a freelance science writer, won the award for the large newspaper category for three stories published in The New York Times, including a piece about the trillions of microbes that reside on and in our bodies. Zimmer, who previously won in the large newspaper category in 2009 and in the online category in 2004, also wrote about evolution in the every-day urban environment of New York City as well as concerns about a rise in scientific journal retractions.

“I’m deeply grateful to my editors at The New York Times for letting me follow my...Read more

2011

Large Newspaper

"One in a Billion: A Boy’s Life, A Medical Mystery" - 19, 22, 26 Dec. 2010

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won in the large newspaper category for “One in a Billion,” a compelling series about the use of genomics to find the cause of an unknown disease that was eating away at the gut of four-year-old Nicholas Volker. Robert Lee Hotz, a science writer for The Wall Street Journal who served on the judging panel, called the series “a richly reported and brilliantly told epic of biomedicine.”

“From the day we began working on ‘One in a Billion,’ we knew that understanding and explaining...Read more

2010

Large Newspaper

"Toxic Waters" - 17 Dec. 2009; 13 Sept. 2009; 23 Aug. 2009

The New York Times

 

The judges applauded Duhigg for his impressive combination of science reporting and investigative journalism. He looked at possible health risks of chemicals commonly found in the nation’s drinking water and the failure of regulators to update and enforce existing laws pertaining to such chemicals. “Charles Duhigg has set a new standard for science journalism and investigative reporting, distilling hundreds of research papers and regulatory reports into a damning indictment of water quality in the United States,” said Robert Lee Hotz, a science writer for The Wall Street...Read more

2009

Large Newspaper

"Now: The Rest of the Genome" - 11 Nov. 2008

"10 Genes, Furiously Evolving" - 5 May 2009

"Blink Twice If You Like Me" - 30 June 2009

The New York Times

 

Carl Zimmer won in the large newspaper category for a trio of articles he wrote for The New York Times on aspects of genetics and evolution. “I sometimes feel a little embarrassed that I like to write articles about the kinds of basic questions my kids ask me,” Zimmer said. “For the three stories I submitted, the questions were, ‘What’s a virus?’ ‘What’s a gene?’ and ‘Why do fireflies flash?’ I had a marvelous time talking with scientists about the complex answers to those simple questions, and now, thanks to this award, I don’t have to feel at all embarrassed...Read more

2008

Large Newspaper

"Chasing Memory" series - 19-22 Aug. 2007

 Los Angeles Times

 

“I never had more fun or learned more than during the months I spent in the lab researching this series,” said Terry McDermott, who won the award in the 2008 large-newspaper category for his series on “Chasing Memory” in the Los Angeles Times. It was the last series he wrote for the paper—he was let go as part of the paper’s effort to substantially reduce staff. McDermott previously had won the large-newspaper award in 1995 while he was at The Seattle Times.

The judges praised McDermott’s ambitious, meticulously reported series on memory and the brain....Read more

2007

Large Newspaper

"Altered Oceans" - 30 July — 3 Aug. 2006

Los Angeles Times

 

Kenneth Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling of the Los Angeles Times won for an ambitious series that examined the profound disturbances that have been occurring in the ecology of the world’s oceans.

“The Altered Oceans series was an unusual undertaking for a newspaper,” Weiss said. “there was no single dramatic event like a hurricane or tsunami. No mass human deaths. Instead, we looked at the slow creep of environmental decay — the kind of changes that most people never notice.”

The series described how industrial society has been overdosing the...Read more

2006

Large Newspaper

"Probing a Mind for a Cure" - 26 Feb. 2006

The Philadelphia Inquirer

 

The judges were impressed by Burling’s use of a single case study about the life and death of an Alzheimer's patient to explore the current scientific understanding of the disease and its human impact. Andrew Revkin of The New York Times called Burling’s story “a superb route into a harrowing subject” that illuminates aspects of science “with rare clarity.” Guy Gugliotta, a freelance science writer who was formerly with The Washington Post, said Burling’s story elegantly juxtaposed “the science of the disease with the consequences,...Read more

2005

Large Newspaper

"String Theory, at 20, Explains It All (or Not)" - 7 Dec. 2004

"Remembrance of Things Future: The Mystery of Time" - 28 June 2005

"The Next Einstein? Applicants Welcome" - 1 Mar. 2005

The New York Times

 

The print judging committee was impressed by Overbye’s wit and erudition in walking readers through the arcane world of string theory, the mysteries of time, and the prospects for another Albert Einstein.

“Sometimes the simplest, most basic elements of the universe are the most difficult to understand and explain, and surely time must be one of the top contenders,” said Gino Del Guercio, an independent television producer and former AAAS journalism prize winner who served as a judge. “Overbye writes about it with wit and clarity that makes it all look easy.”...Read more