Trio of AAAS Kavli Award Winners to Speak on College Campuses

Earl Lane

For the second year, the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards program will sponsor a trio of fall lectures on college campuses by distinguished winners of the journalism award.

Sarah Holt, a three-time winner in the video category, will discuss the making of her new NOVA documentary on addiction at Arizona State University on Oct. 22; Llewellyn Smith, a two-time video winner, will discuss the relevance of science journalism for social justice at Howard University on Nov. 1; and freelance writer Hillary Rosner, a two-time winner in print categories, will talk at Northwestern University on Nov. 8 about the challenges of covering conservation in an era of upheaval.

The lectures are open to the public and will be livestreamed by the host institutions and on the AAAS Facebook page:

In 2017, the inaugural AAAS Kavli lecture series featured talks by freelance science writer Carl Zimmer at Stony Brook University, NPR science correspondent Richard Harris at the University of Texas and NOVA senior executive producer Paula S. Apsell at the University of Oregon. 

Since their inception in 1945, the AAAS Science Journalism Awards have honored professional journalists for distinguished reporting on the sciences, engineering and mathematics. In recognition of a generous endowment by The Kavli Foundation, the awards are now called the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards. Since 2015, the contest has been open to journalists worldwide.

The lecturers will hold workshops and meetings with student journalists in addition to delivering a public lecture. The upcoming lectures:

“Addiction: Behind the Making of a New NOVA Documentary”

Sarah Holt, documentary film producer

Monday, Oct. 22, 2018 ­at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time

First Amendment Forum
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Arizona State University

Phoenix, Ariz.

Sarah Holt

Holt will offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to make her latest documentary, a compelling look at the science of addiction and what it can tell us about resolving America’s dire opioid crisis. The film premieres Oct. 17 on NOVA, the PBS science series. Peter Byck, a documentary filmmaker and professor of practice at the Cronkite School, will introduce Holt.

Holt’s work for PBS and cable networks has covered science, history, medicine and economics. In pursuit of her stories, she has followed explorers into unknown caves, doctors into the midst of Third World epidemics and scientists unraveling the secrets of our genetic code. In April 2016, PBS aired her film “Can Alzheimer’s be Stopped?” – produced for Tangled Bank Studios and NOVA. The film followed patients in clinical trials attempting to prevent or slow dementia. In 2013, Holt won the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for producing, directing, and writing the NOVA documentary, “Cracking Your Genetic Code.” The film examines whether the advent of fast, cheap DNA sequencing will enhance our health or burden us with information we would rather not know. Holt also won the AAAS science journalism award for “How Memory Works” (2010) and “18 Ways to Make a Baby” (2002). 

“Science Journalism and Social Justice”

Llewellyn Smith, documentary film producer

Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 ­at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Digital Auditorium, Blackburn Student Center

Howard University

Washington, D.C.

Image removed.
Llewellyn Smith

Science journalism enhances public understanding of science. But it also can reveal the connection between science and justice, as well as challenge public assumptions about who creates knowledge, says Llewellyn Smith. He adds, "Science reporting must include marginalized voices and marginalized populations." Smith's work is a testament to the value of exploring big ideas that can change people’s lives. He was co-executive producer of the award-winning 2008 PBS series “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick.” He shared a 2017 AAAS Kavli award for the NOVA program, “Poisoned Water,” a disturbing, behind-the-headlines look at the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and its human cost. In 2007 Llew received the AAAS award for “Forgotten Genius,” the story of Percy Julian, the grandson of Alabama slaves who overcame racial discrimination to become one of the leading chemists of the 20th century.

In his talk, Smith will present stories, articles and film clips that underscore the urgency of including marginalized voices in science reporting—and not just in front of the camera. “We’re not talking optics,” Smith says. “We’re talking about unique, critical perspectives and experiences that non-traditional, non-white (and non-male) voices can bring to science stories that affect all of us. They can even determine what kind of science research gets done in the future. And for what purpose.”

“Covering Conservation: Reporting on Nature in an Era of Upheaval”

Hillary Rosner, freelance science writer

Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. Central Time

McCormick Foundation Center Forum

Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University

Evanston, Ill.

Hillary Rosner

Can and should we protect species that can no longer survive without sustained human intervention? Where do predators like bears and wolves “belong,” and where will we allow them? How much should we try to preserve nature and species as they exist today, and how much should we allow land-use changes and climate change to influence evolution?

Rosner will discuss these issues and other thorny questions through the lens of some of the stories she has reported for publications including National Geographic, Wired, and The New York Times. She will offer a behind-the-scenes look at reporting in the field, talk about covering conservation issues for a general audience, and discuss the challenges of environmental reporting in an age of greed, polarization, and politicization of science.

Rosner is a Ted Scripps Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism. She spent 2012 as an Alicia Patterson Fellow and 2010-11 as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. She is a contributing editor at the website bioGraphic and a frequent speaker at workshops and seminars on science communication.

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Associated homepage image: Richard Harris of NPR speaks at the University of Texas on Nov. 2, 2017.