Science in Society Journalism Awards

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The Science in Society Journalism Awards are awards created by the American National Association of Science Writers (NASW) to honor and encourage "outstanding investigative and interpretive reporting about the sciences and their impact for good and ill." [1] Each year the NASW recognizes work in these categories: books, periodicals (newspaper and magazine), and electronic media (radio, television, and the Internet). Each winner receives $2,500. The first award was given in 1972. The Awards recognize not only reporting about science, but also thoughtful work that probes the ethical problems and social effects of science. The awards are considered especially prestigious because they are judged by accomplished peers. Starting in 2009 the award categories were changed. The book category will remain unchanged, while the other categories will morph into "Commentary and Opinion," "Science Reporting," and "Local Science Reporting." Except for the Book category, the awards will be platform independent, which means that they may be magazine, radio, TV, or web-based.

Past recipients[edit]




  • Book: Judy Foreman for her book A Nation in Pain: Healing Our Biggest Health Problem (Oxford University Press)
  • Science Reporting: “Why Nothing Works" by Erik Vance, published in Discover
  • Longform: “Big Oil,Bad Air” by Lisa Song, David Hasemyer, Jim Morris, Greg Gilderman, and more than a dozen other colleagues, published in InsideClimate News
  • Local or Regional Science Reporting: “Battle of the Ash Borer“ by Matthew Miller, published in Lansing State Journal
  • Commentary or Opinion: No award was given


  • Book: Sheri Fink for her book Five Days At Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (Crown Publishing Group)
  • Science Reporting: “A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA," by Amy Harmon, published in The New York Times
  • Longform: “Uprising: The Environmental Scandal That’s Happening Right Beneath Your Feet,” by Phil McKenna, published in Matter
  • Local or Regional Science Reporting: “The Tree Coroners,“ by Cally Carswell, published in High Country News
  • Commentary or Opinion: “23andMe is Terrifying, but Not for the Reasons the FDA Thinks,” by Charles Seife, published in Scientific American’s SA Forum


  • Book: David Quammen for his book Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (W.W. Norton)
  • Science Reporting: “Witness to an Antarctic Meltdown” by freelancer Douglas Fox, published in Scientific American
  • Longform: "Playing with Fire” by Patricia Callahan, Sam Roe and Michael Hawthorne, published in the Chicago Tribune
  • Local or Regional Science Reporting: “The Color of Bunny” by freelancer Hillary Rosner, published in High Country News
  • Commentary or Opinion: “The Real Scandal” by freelancer Christie Aschwanden, posted on the blog The Last Word on Nothing


  • Book: Seth Mnookin for his book Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear (Simon & Schuster)
  • Science Reporting: "Poisoned Places," by reporters from the Center for Public Integrity (Jim Morris, Chris Hamby, Ronnie Greene, Elizabeth Lucas, Emma Schwartz) and NPR (Elizabeth Shogren, Howard Berkes, Sandra Bartlett, John Poole, Robert Benincasa)
  • Local or Regional Science Reporting:"Perilous Passages," by Emilene Ostlind, Mary Ellen Hannibal, and Cally Carswell, published in High Country News
  • Commentary or Opinion: "Ban Chimp Testing," by the Scientific American Board of Editors, published in Scientific American



  • Book: Susan Cohen and Christine Cosgrove for Normal at Any Cost: Tall Girls, Short Boys, and the Medical Industry’s Quest to Manipulate Height (Tarcher/Penguin)
  • Science Reporting: Martha Mendoza and Margie Mason won for their Associated Press series “When Drugs Stop Working”
  • Science Reporting: Charles Duhigg won for his New York Times series “Toxic Waters”
  • Local or Regional Science Reporting: J. Madeleine Nash for her article “Bring in the Cows,” which appeared in High Country News

There was not an award in the Commentary or Opinion category in 2010.[3]



  • Book: Liza Mundy for her book Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction Is Changing Men and Women and the World (Knopf)
  • Magazine: Beth Whitehouse for her Newsday series "The Match"
  • Broadcast: Stephen Lyons and Llewellyn M. Smith for their docudrama "Forgotten Genius," which appeared on PBS's NOVA television series.




  • Book: Stephen S. Hall Merchants of Immortality: Chasing the Dream of Human Life Extension
  • Magazine: Robin Marantz Henig “The Quest to Forget” The New York Times Magazine
  • Newspaper: Alexandra Witze and Tom Siegfried "Science’s Big Unknown" series The Dallas Morning News
  • Broadcast: Noel Schwerin Bloodlines: Technology Hits Home Backbone Media



  • Book: Jon Cohen Shots in the Dark: The Wayward Search for an AIDS Vaccine
  • Magazine: Shannon Brownlee “The Big Fat Question” Self magazine
  • Magazine: Charles W. Schmidt “e-Junk Explosion” Environmental Health Perspectives
  • Newspaper: Rick Weiss “Building a New Child: Embryo Screening Creates a Tool Against Disease — and Ethical Questions” The Washington Post
  • Radio: William S. Hammack Engineering and Life WILL-AM580 and Illinois Public Radio
  • Television: Richard Hutton Evolution NOVA/WGBH-TV
  • Web: Alan Boyle “Genetic Genealogy” MSNBC


  • Book: David Dobbs The Great Gulf
  • Magazine: Gary Taubes “The Soft Science of Dietary Fat” Science
  • Newspaper: Sabin Russell, Reynolds Holding, Elizabeth Fernandez “Breakdowns mar flu shot program” “Waiting for shots” San Francisco Chronicle
  • Television: Betsey Arledge, Julia Cort, Robert Krulwich, NOVA “Cracking the Code of Life” NOVA/WGBH-TV
  • Web: David Tenenbaum “Energy Crisis III?” The Why Files


  1. ^ National Association of Science Writers: Science in Society Awards
  2. ^ "2011 Science in Society Awards". National Association of Science Writers. September 13, 2011.
  3. ^ "2010 Science in Society Awards". National Association of Science Writers. December 21, 2010.
  4. ^ "2009 Science in Society Awards". National Association of Science Writers. December 21, 2010.