Award Winners

2021

Science Reporting – Large Outlet

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

Science Reporting – Small Outlet

Silver

"Ghost Bird" Sept. 30, 2020

The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.)

Tony Bartelme’s story on the eastern black rail, dubbed the “ghost bird” for its elusiveness, went beyond the plight of an endangered species to discuss the impacts of climate change, the obsession of a South Carolina scientist who has been studying the black rail, and the fraught ways in which federal agencies and political institutions sometimes cope with species that capture the public’s imagination. In 2010, environmental groups asked the federal government to protect black rails under the Endangered Species Act. Two months after Bartelme’s story appeared, the U.S. Department of...Read more

Science Reporting – In-Depth

Silver

"Hoe Chips en Dip stierven voor een vaccin" (How Chips and Dip died for a vaccine) July 10, 2021

De Volkskrant (The Netherlands)

Maartje Bakker of De Volkskrant gained permission from the Biomedical Primate Research Center (BPRC) in Rijswijk, The Netherlands, to follow a study of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine as it was tested in monkeys. “Never before have outsiders seen at such close quarters how such an experiment is conducted” at the BPRC, Bakker wrote. “It is something that makes the researchers at the BPRC nervous. They know that they receive a lot of criticism from society.” But she added, “They also feel that the time when monkey research is surrounded by secrecy should be over.” Bakker recounted...Read more

Magazine

Silver

"The ethical questions that haunt facial-recognition research" Nov.18, 2020

Nature

In September 2019, four researchers asked publisher Wiley to immediately retract a study that had trained algorithms to distinguish faces of Uyghur people, a predominantly Muslim minority ethnic group in China. As Richard Van Noorden writes, the study published by Wiley was not alone. Journals from publishers including Springer Nature, Elsevier and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) had also published peer-reviewed papers that describe using facial recognition to identify Uyghurs and members of other Chinese minority groups. “For facial-recognition algorithms to...Read more

Video: Spot News/Feature Reporting

Silver

"Mexico's COVID Cases and Deaths are Underreported—Why?" April 2, 2021

NOVA/GBH for PBS

During the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic, NOVA producer Arlo Pérez Esquivel left his home in Boston and traveled to stay with family in his hometown of Uruapan, Mexico. At the time, Boston and its surrounding county were reporting tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases among its population of 800,000 people. Meanwhile Uruapan and the surrounding region, collectively home to about 700,000 people, reported only a fraction of that number. When he arrived in Uruapan, Pérez noticed that reported cases weren’t accurately representing the number of sick and dying people around him. In a...Read more

Video: In-Depth Reporting

Silver

"Human Nature" Sept. 9, 2020

Gene editing with a remarkable new technology called CRISPR may be opening a new chapter on what it means to be human, the award-winning filmmakers report. For sickle cell disease, replacing just a single misplaced base molecule in the cell’s DNA can produce a cure. But how far should we go? Would it be wrong to engineer soldiers to feel no pain or allow parents to choose their child’s features, like eye color or height? The scientists who pioneered human genome studies and the developers of CRISPR technology are grappling with such questions, as are bioethicists who worry decisions may be...Read more

Audio

Silver

"Rising COVID cases and vaccine doubt" Feb. 3, 2021

SciDev.Net

"Debunking COVID-19 myths and remedies" Feb. 10, 2021

SciDev.Net

"Science and you: Africa's COVID-19 vaccines" Feb. 17, 2021

SciDev.Net

In a three-part series for the Africa Science Focus podcast of SciDev.Net―an online news site that covers science for the developing world―described how coronavirus cases and deaths had increased across Sub-Saharan Africa, how misinformation was spreading and affecting vaccine confidence, and how health specialists in Africa were mounting vaccination programs while also trying to calm patient fears. The team consisted of London-based Fiona Broom and Harrison Lewis and Africa-based reporters in Ethiopia (Brook Abdu), Zambia (Jubiel Zulu) and Malawi (Charles Pensulo). The judges praised...Read more

Children's Science News

Silver

"Whales get a second life as deep-sea buffets" Oct. 15. 2020

Science News for Students

When whales die and sink to the ocean’s bottom, their bodies can provide a feast to smaller organisms, including living things found nowhere else on Earth. “Think of it as a watery free-for-all,” Stephen Ornes tells his readers. “Hagfish, octopods, squid, sharks, crabs and worms all gather and devour. It’s a rich ecosystem all of its own. In deep water, where relatively few animals live, the feast may last for years.” For marine biologists, Ornes, says, “the body of a dead whale provides an opportunity to study life in one of the least explored places on Earth: the bottom of the ocean...Read more