Honoring Excellence in Science Journalism: 75 Years and Counting

Earl Lane
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

As we celebrate the diamond anniversary of the program now known as the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards, here in a video timeline produced by Emily Hughes are some of the notable winners and key events during 75 years of recognizing distinguished reporting on science for a general audience.

The awards program was established in 1945 by the Westinghouse Educational Foundation through the initiative of Robert D. Potter, the president of the National Association of Science Writers. The American Association for the Advancement of Science was asked to independently administer the program. It initially was seen as an effort to encourage closer cooperation between newspaper reporters and scientists in explaining dramatic advances in science and engineering at the dawn of the Atomic Age.

The program evolved over the years to include reporting for magazines, broadcast, cable and online outlets as well as reporting on science news for children. The judging panels are composed exclusively of journalists, and the awards honor not only notable explanatory reporting but also probing pieces that describe both the underlying science and its impact on society.

The Kavli Foundation assumed sponsorship of the awards in 2009 with a $2 million endowment that assured the long-term future of the program. In 2015, the Foundation doubled the endowment, allowing the contest to accept entries for the first time from journalists around the globe in all categories.