Award Winners

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

Small Newspaper

"One Tough Sucker" - 7 June 2010

High Country News

 

Hillary Rosner, a freelance reporter, won for her piece in High Country News about the razorback sucker, an endangered fish in the Colorado River that once was abundant and now is dependent on continuing human intervention for its survival. “It’s a particular honor to win for this story because it touches on so many topics I love reporting on—biodiversity, resource management, human ingenuity,” Rosner said. “I remember being out there in the field thinking, ‘I have the best job in the world.’”

In her tale of the razorback sucker, Rosner noted that despite an...Read more

Magazine

"The Placebo Problem" - September 2009

Wired

 

Steve Silberman told how an increasing number of medications are unable to beat dummy pills called placebos in head-to-head clinical testing, a point that has huge implications for the pharmaceutical industry. Only belatedly, he found, have researchers been trying to fully understand the power of the body’s response to placebos, and the real potential of that response to affect human health. Guy Gugliotta, a freelance science writer, said Silberman’s piece was “superbly written and superbly researched.” Mary Knudson, a freelance writer and journalism teacher at The Johns...Read more

Television: Spot News/Feature Reporting

"How Memory Works" - 25 Aug. 2009

NOVA scienceNow

 

The winning segment asked how a famous psychology subject named H.M. could retain memories of his childhood but not recall short-term memories such as what he had for lunch. It told how researchers are starting to learn what memories may be made of in the complex chemistry of the brain. Through animal experiments, neurobiologists are beginning to pinpoint specific molecules in the brain that are associated with the formation of memories. They also have found molecules that can erase memories forever. Peggy Girshman, executive editor for online at Kaiser Health News, said the...Read more

Television: In-Depth Reporting

"The Human Spark" - 6 Jan., 13 Jan. and 20 Jan. 2010

Thirteen in association with WNET.ORG

 

This wide-ranging series asked basic questions about what makes us human and how our ancestors evolved with a spark of ingenuity and intelligence that set them apart from other species, including the Neanderthals with which they co-existed for a time. The series looked at what we share in common and what sets us apart from chimpanzees, considered our closest living relatives. And it discussed the latest imaging methods that are giving neuroscientists insights into the brain mechanisms that account for language, one of the most fundamental aspects of the human spark. Dan...Read more

Radio

"Follow the Science: Calculating the Amount of Oil and Gas in the Gulf Oil Spill" - 14 May, 20 May, 28 May 2010

NPR

 

Richard Harris, a science correspondent for NPR, won the radio award, along with editor Alison Richards, for a series that challenged the initial estimates on the size of the devastating Gulf oil spill.

“To get this story, I found several scientists who were willing to drop what they were doing and take up the challenge I presented them,” Harris said. “With the able help of my editor, we quickly put this information out to the public. Though we initially met with resistance, facts are stubborn things, and ultimately the analysis was proven correct.” Harris won the...Read more

Certificate of Merit

The judges also gave a “Certificate of Merit” to Gabriel Spitzer of WBEZ in Chicago for a 10 September 2009 report on how music can rewire the brain. They praised his use of radio’s story-telling capabilities. John Carey, a freelancer and a former senior correspondent for BusinessWeek, noted Spitzer’s “great use of the medium of radio, with sounds that really did paint a picture.”...Read more

Online

"The Memory Doctor" - 4 June 2010

Slate

 

 William Saletan of Slate won for a lengthy examination of the work of leading memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus. In his reporting on Loftus, Saletan explored the mutability of memory and the role and power of faked images. His richly textured presentation, with embedded video and relevant footnotes, included an exercise in which Slate, an online magazine, did its own experiment on memory manipulation. By doctoring photo images from recent political history, Saletan showed how even highly informed and educated readers can come to remember bogus political stories as...Read more

Children's Science News

"Learning from Bears" - 1 Feb 2010

"Real-Life Bloodsuckers" - 26 Oct. 2009

"Saving the Ozone Layer" - 7 Sept. 2009

Science World (Scholastic)

 

In an entry of three unrelated stories, Cody Crane tackled an admirable breadth of subject matter in stories that took her young readers into the field to show how scientists think and work. She followed a Minnesota research biologist who checked in with hibernating bears for clues on how they manage their winter-long slumber. She also told her readers about vampire bats and other animal bloodsuckers that play an important role in nature. Catherine Hughes, science editor for National Geographic Kids, said that Crane’s writing is “clear, straightforward, kid-...Read more