Award Winners

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

Small Newspaper

"Lethal Legacy" - 21-23 June 2009

Great Falls Tribune

 

Amie Thompson of Montana’s Great Falls Tribune told how a family in Turner, Montana, is coping with a deadly genetic disease so rare that only a handful of families worldwide are known to be affected by it. The disease, pallidopontonigral degeneration, or PPND, strikes in mid-life with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.Thompson told the story of how a dedicated researcher uncovered the rare disease, but she said, “what made the story come to life for me was listening to how the disease has affected each family member.” Several...Read more

Magazine

"Barcode of Life" - October 2008

Wired

 

Gary Wolf, a contributing editor for Wired, took readers into the arcane field of taxonomy to follow an evolutionary biologist who is convinced that he can build a simple, universal identification system for all animals. If barcodes work for cans of soup on the grocer’s shelf, he asked, why not for bugs? “In this fresh and engaging tale, Gary Wolf doggedly pursues the trail of a scientist in pursuit of a theory,” said Mary Knudson, a freelance who teaches science writing at The Johns Hopkins University. “This story has it all—a compelling narrative, illuminating...Read more

Television: Spot News/Feature Reporting

"Diamond Factory" - 30 June 2009

NOVA scienceNOW

 

In the winning program segment, host Neil deGrasse Tyson visited a production facility that makes diamonds good enough to fool a jeweler. The segment described the properties of diamonds, the advances in materials science that allow their manufacture, the advantages of lab-made diamonds over natural diamonds, and their potential use in fields such as electronics, transportation and communications. Warren Leary, a science writer formerly with The New York Times, called the segment “a good showcase for science and engineering that the public can understand and enjoy.”...Read more

Television: In-Depth/Feature Reporting

"The Last Extinction" - 31 Mar. 2009

WGBH/NOVA

 

What caused the rapid extinction, some 12,900 years ago, of large mammals such as woolly mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and giant ground sloths that roamed North America? The NOVA program explored the leading theories, including the possibility that a comet broke apart in the atmosphere and smashed into the continent in multiple pieces, triggering explosions, forest fires and other devastating effects that led to the demise of up to 35 species of large mammals. The judges called the program, which used striking computer animations of the animals in question, a balanced...Read more

Radio

"A Very Lucky Wind" - 15 June 2009

WNYC Radiolab

 

Jad Abumrad, Soren Wheeler and Robert Krulwich of WNYC’s Radiolab won the radio prize for a story about what happened when an English girl released a balloon with a label, “Please send back to Laura Buxton.” In the south of England, the balloon landed near the home of another Laura Buxton. What to make of the startling coincidence?

“This is a tale about miracles which, on closer examination, are not quite as miraculous as they seem,” Krulwich said. “Ordinarily an anti-miracle story sounds like a downer but in this case, by mixing girls, grandpas, balloons, statistics...Read more

Online

Bangladesh: Where the Climate Exodus Begins (series) "Facing the specter of the globe’s biggest and harshest mass journeys" - March 2009

Bangladesh: Where the Climate Exodus Begins (series) "E+E’s Lisa Friedman explores storm-ravaged Bengali village" - March 2009

Bangladesh: Where the Climate Exodus Begins (series) "The road from growing rice to raising shrimp to misery" - March 2009

ClimateWire

 

In a five-part series that ran in March 2009 on ClimateWire, an environmental news service, reporter Lisa Friedman described the potential impact of climate change on Bangladesh, which some scientists see as ground zero for a likely wave of climate-induced mass migrations around the globe.

Friedman “brings climate science down to a human level and highlights how one often-overlooked corner of the world is affected by climate-changing activities elsewhere,” said judge Tina Hesman Saey of Science News. Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press said Friedman’s...Read more

Children's Science News

"Where Rivers Run Uphill" - 23 July 2008

Science News for Kids

 

Douglas Fox used his journey across Antarctic ice sheets to show how scientists are studying a strange world of lakes and rivers beneath the ice. He wrote that scientists think that “lakes under the ice might act like giant slippery banana peels.” He and the researchers traveled to a lake that is “buried under ice, two Empire State Buildings below our feet.”

Arndt Reuning, a science reporter for Deutschlandradio, said Fox covered “an important issue in a vivid and funny way. He’s a superb and entertaining story-teller.” Catherine Hughes of National Geographic...Read more