Award Winners

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

Small Newspaper

Gold

"Battle of the Ash Borer" - 27 July 2014

Lansing State Journal

 

The emerald ash borer, an insect that has laid waste to more than 100 million ash trees from New Jersey to Colorado, has wiped out virtually every ash tree in southeast Michigan. In much of the rest of the state's Lower Peninsula, there are few trees left to save. In a detailed look at the local impact of the pest, Matthew Miller described efforts by researchers to identify the borer and slow the devastation, including the use of tiny stingless wasps that prey on the borer's eggs and larvae. They also are exploring ways to cross North American ash trees with resistant...Read more

Magazine

Gold

"The Quake Hunters" - 9 July 2015

Nature

"The Pluto Siblings" - 25 Feb. 2015

Nature

"Let the River Run" - 10 Jan. 2015

Science News

 

Alexandra Witze introduced her readers to the seismologists who work around the clock to pinpoint major earthquakes around the globe; to a brother and sister who have spent their lives studying Pluto; and to scientists and engineers involved in the removal of two dams on the Elwha River in Washington's Olympic Penninsula and the restoration of the environment behind the dams. The judges praised Witze's command of diverse topics, each story illuminated through on-the-scene reporting. Dan Vergano of BuzzFeed called her work "sterling reporting that opens windows on the people...Read more

Television: Spot News/Feature Reporting

Gold

"Is Alaska Safe for Sea Stars?" - 8 Oct. 2014

KCTS 9 (Seattle)

 

With a deadly wasting disease killing West Coast starfish by the millions, Katie Campbell's story took views to Alaska where researchers are trying to determine whether starfish in colder waters might escape the die-off. "This piece was about far more than starfish," said judge David Baron, former science editor for PRI's "The World." "By showing how biologists painstakingly collect data to understand the natural world, the story beautifully demonstrates what it means to be a scientist." The judges praised the Gold Award winner as an excellent example of strong, local...Read more

Television: In-Depth/Feature Reporting

Gold

"Climate Change by Numbers" - 2 Mar. 2015

BBC

 

The BBC team used clever analogies and appealing graphics to discuss three key numbers that help clarify important questions about climate change: 0.85 degrees Celsius — how much the Earth has warmed since the 1880s; 95% — how sure scientists are that human activity is the major cause of Earth's recent warming; and one trillion tons — the best estimate of the amount of carbon that can be burned before risking dangerous climate change. Three mathematicians discuss such topics as the moon landing, early 20th century cotton mills, and motor racing to help illuminate the...Read more

Radio

Gold

"What the Songbird Said" - 11 May 2015

BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service

 

Rami Tzabar and Angela Saini of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) won for radio reporting that explored how animal models of vocal communication may be useful in understanding how human language might have evolved. "Just like the birdsongs they report on, the BBC team produced a program that is both a delight to the ears and elegantly structured," said Seth Borenstein, a science reporter for the Associated Press, who helped judge the competition.

Vocal learning — the ability to learn and imitate sounds — is a trait humans share with only a few other...Read more

Online

Gold

"How a Lone Hacker Shredded the Myth of Crowdsourcing" - 9 Feb. 2015

Backchannel

 

Crowdsourcing, which exploits the collective intelligence of thousands of people to tackle big problems, has become popular in business, political, and academic circles. But Mark Harris described how a hacker and a friend infiltrated a DARPA-sponsored "Shredder Challenge" and created havoc. Participants in the challenge had to piece together 6,000 chads from documents that had been put through high-end shredding machines. Some of the teams used sophisticated computer algorithms to help match images of the chads that had been posted online. But the hackers managed...Read more

Children's Science News

Gold

"Where will lightning strike?" - 16 Sept. 2014

Science News for Students (online site)

 

Stephen Ornes told his youthful readers about the natural events that unfold in clouds to produce the visible bolts and roaring thunder that produce one of nature's most dazzling displays — and also one of its most dangerous. Starting with a harrowing story about hikers caught in a thunderstorm atop a mountain in California's Sequoia National Park, Ornes describes what scientists have learned about the behavior of lightning and what they are still struggling to understand. That includes exactly how a bolt is triggered and how to predict where it might connect with the ground...Read more