Sharon Begley

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Sharon Begley
TAM 6 - Sharon Begley (2617787771).jpg
Sharon Begley speaking at The Amaz!ng Meeting in 2008
Born (1956-06-14) June 14, 1956 (age 60)
Englewood, New Jersey
Nationality American
Education BA in combined sciences
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation Columnist, journalist, author
Employer The Boston Globe
Known for writing about science, technology, and medicine in major publications such as Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal
Notable work Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves (2007)
Website www.sharonlbegley.com

Sharon Begley (born June 14, 1956) is an American journalist who is the senior science writer for Stat, the publication from The Boston Globe that covers stories related to the life sciences.[1][2] She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in 1977, where she regularly contributed articles to the Yale Scientific Magazine.[3] She has written recurring columns and feature articles in several mainstream publications on a wide variety of scientific topics.[4][5] Begley is also an author[6][7][8] and speaks at universities and gatherings of both professional and community organizations. Her topics include the neuroplasticity of the brain, issues affecting science journalism, education, and other topics she has researched during her career.[9][10] She has appeared on radio and television to discuss the topics covered in her articles and books.[11][12][13] A prolific writer, Begley has attracted both praise and criticism.[14][15][16][17]

Career[edit]

Begley graduated with a BA in combined sciences from Yale University in 1977.

Begley graduated from Yale University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in combined sciences.[18] Her career as a journalist began during her undergraduate studies, where she was a contributing reporter for Yale Scientific Magazine.[3] She began work with Newsweek upon graduation,[19] and by October 1984 she had already been named as a recipient of The Newspaper Guild of New York's Page One Award in the category of science reporting in magazines for the Newsweek article "How the Brain Works".[20]

Begley's tenure with Newsweek established her as a well-known science communicator.[14][21] She received accolades from the Religion Communicators Council for the 1998 article "Science Finds God".[22] Her 2002 article "The Mystery of Schizophrenia" received honors from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.[14][23][24] Other awards have cited her clarity of communication and the accessibility of her articles in furthering the public's understanding of science.[21][25]

In March 2002, after 25 years at Newsweek, Begley took a staff writing position at the Science Journal, a publication of The Wall Street Journal.[26] Only three months later, "So Much for Destiny: Even Thoughts Can Turn Genes `On' and `Off", earned Begley a Front Page Award for Best Column/Editorial from the Newswomen's Club of New York.[14][21][27] More awards followed for her reporting on a wide variety of topics related to scientific research,[14][21][28][29] including an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree from the University of North Carolina.[4][18]

In 2007, Begley returned to writing an award-winning science column at Newsweek.[14][30][31][32][33] In 2010 Newsweek formed an alliance with The Daily Beast,[34] and Begley's byline often appeared on this site as well.[1][35] From 2012 until 2015 she worked as senior health and science editor at Reuters.[1]

In August 2015 the first article appeared under the masthead of the Boston Globe's new science publication Stat[36] with Sharon Begley as a member of the inaugural staff.[1][37]

Books[edit]

Countryside near McLeod Ganj, a scene similar to that in the opening pages of Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain

In 2002 the book The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force, Sharon Begley and Jeffrey M. Schwartz explained the results of Schwartz's research into the origin and treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder.[6] Here, Schwartz explores the subject of the neuroplasticity of the brain and expands upon the idea of "brain lock", a term he introduced in his 1997 book Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior.[38]

Featuring a foreword written by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama and a preface by Daniel Goleman, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves was published in 2007.[8] This book begins with a description of the visit by scientists from the Mind and Life Institute to the northern Indian town of McLeod Ganj—the home of the 14th Dalai Lama in exile. The book then explores the ability of various therapeutic treatments to change the functioning of the neural pathways of the brain and the relationship between this research and the traditional meditative practices of Buddhism.[8]

In 2012 Begley again served as a co-author, this time with Richard Davidson, for The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live — and How You Can Change Them.[7] The premise of this book is that each person has an individual "Emotional Style". Davidson uses six parameters to determine this Emotional Style: Resilience, Outlook, Social Intuition, Self-Awareness, Sensitivity to Context, and Attention.[39]

Criticism[edit]

"Why Doctors Hate Science", published in Newsweek in 2009,[40] prompted many critical responses. David Gorski, writing under his pen name "Orac", took issue with Begley's characterization of medical practitioners as ignoring basic medical science.[16] One example used by Begley was that of women continuing to receive pap tests after having had total hysterectomies.[40] Gorski looked into this claim, and found that the subject of Begley's source for this claim was full hysterectomies and hysterectomies for benign conditions of the uterus.[16] Ongoing Pap smears are still indicated for women who have had partial hysterectomies, or who have suffered uterine cancer.[16] "Begley may indeed have a point that too many pap smears are still done after hysterectomy, by simplifying and mocking she completely undermined her point–not to mention showed that she doesn't understand the issues involved. Either that, or she does understand them but decided to score cheap points against physicians instead of adding three words after "hysterectomy": "for benign disease." ... At the very least, Begley should have acknowledged that her blanket statement is more than a bit over-the-top."[16] This and similar criticism from other defenders of the medical community prompted Begley to write a follow-up article entitled "Why Psychologists Reject Science", in which she referred to the previous article as one in which she was "asking, facetiously" why doctors hated science, but then went on to explain that, "The problem is even worse in psychology."[17] This prompted a fresh wave of criticism, such as that expressed by Leslie Becker-Phelps in Psychology Today when she referred to Begley's article as "alarmingly misleading".[41] Becker-Phelps stressed the intense educational requirements of the field and stated that, "the APA mandates that its member psychologists use their scientific knowledge in their clinical judgments."[41]

When Begley's article "Placebo Power" appeared in the January/February 2013 issue of the Saturday Evening Post highlighting the perceived power of the placebo effect,[42] it raised criticisms from science writers and skeptics. Skeptical blogger and science writer PZ Myers said of "Placebo Power", "She's got a tendency to go charging off into fluff and that's what's happened here."[15] Myers' objection largely rested on Begley's reliance on anecdotal evidence to bolster claims of the efficacy of placebo treatments.[15] Similar objections were raised by Steven Novella. "Those skeptics that Begley seems to dismiss have done the hard work for her and other journalists of actually reading the original research, digging down to the salient details, and teasing out the nuances that make all the difference to a proper interpretation of a complex clinical issue."[43]

Other articles by Begley have attracted criticism from the political arena.[25] The cover of the August 13, 2007 issue of Newsweek bore the large-print words: "Global Warming is a Hoax*", with the asterisk pointing to the smaller-print words: "*or so claim well-funded naysayers who still reject the overwhelming evidence of climate change."[44] Marc Morano, former communications director for Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, referred to the article as a "one-sided editorial, masquerading as a 'news article.'"[25] This and other articles on the subject of climate change by Begley were cited in a press release by Morano as part of the reason for launching Climate Depot—a website devoted to refuting the narrative of anthropogenic climate change.[45] Criticism of the August 13, 2007 article also came from fellow Newsweek columnist Robert Samuelson. In a column that appeared in the next issue, Samuelson characterized the article as "'fundamentally misleading' because it focused on the 'peripheral' actions of the 'denial machine' instead of the intractability of man-made warming".[25]

Awards[edit]

2009 American Statistical Association's Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award[14][30]

2009 First place Award from New York Association of Black Journalists (for the 2008 Newsweek article, "How Your Brain Looks at Race")[14][21][31]

2009 Genesis Award for Outstanding Written Word from The Humane Society of the United States (for the 2008 Newsweek article "The Extinction Trade")[14][32][46]

2007 Global Media Award of Excellence for Best Environmental Reporting from The Population Institute (for the 2007 Newsweek article, "The Truth About Denial")[14][47]

2007 Genesis Award from the Humane Society of the United States (for the 2006 Newsweek article "Cry of the Wild: Gorilla Warfare")[14][21][48]

2006 Excellence in Journalism from The American Aging Association (for Coverage of Research on Alzheimer's Disease)[4][14][49]

2005 Clarion Award (Magazine Article, Weekly, Best Non-Opinion Newspaper Column) from The Association for Women in Communications[14][21][29]

2005 Public Understanding of Science Award from The Exploratorium, San Francisco (lifetime achievement)[14][21][28]

2004 Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for contributions to the public understanding of science from the University of North Carolina[4][14][18]

2004 Clarion Award (Magazine Article, Weekly, Best Non-Opinion Newspaper Column) The Association for Women in Communication (for the Science Journal column)[14][21]

2002 Front Page Award for Best Column/Editorial from Newspaper Newswomen's Club of New York (for the article "Even Thoughts Can Turn Genes on and Off")[14][21][27]

2002 NAMI Outstanding Media Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (for the 2002 Newsweek article "The Mystery of Schizophrenia")[14][23][50]

2000 Front Page Award from the Newswomen's Club of New York[14][51]

2000 Best Feature Reporting from the Magazine Deadline Club, New York City Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists[14][21]

1999 PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (for the 1999 Life magazine cover article "The Secret Life of Teens")[14][52]

1998 Wilbur Award (Magazines, National) from the Religion Communicators Council (for the 1998 Newsweek article "Science Finds God")[14][53][54]

1997 Clarion Award (Magazine Article) from The Association for Women in Communication (for the 1996 Newsweek article "Your Child's Brain")[10][14][55]

1997 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Educational Press Association of America (for the 1996 Newsweek article "Your Child's Brain")[10][14][55]

1993 Premier Award for Space Coverage from the Aviation/Space Writers Association (for the 1992 Newsweek articles "ET Phone Us" and "The Science of Doom")[10][14][56][57]

1992 Outstanding Achievement in Media from the American Society on Aging[4][14]

1986 First place Award (Food News Reporting, circulation over 200,001) from the Association of Food Journalists[58]

1984 Page One Award (Science Reporting in Magazines) from The Newspaper Guild of New York (for the 1983 Newsweek article "How the Brain Works")[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Sharon Begley: About". SharonBegley.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2015. 
  2. ^ Begley, Sharon (September 25, 2015). "Genome-editing find may improve system's precision". Stat. The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Gellman, Lindsay. "Science Publications Suffer". Yale Daily News. Yale University. Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Speaker Biographies A to L: The Aspen Institute". Archived from the original on March 30, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Search Results for: sharon begley". The Saturday Evening Post. October 16, 2015. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Schwartz, Jeffrey M.; Begley, Sharon (2002). The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. New York City: ReganBooks. ISBN 0060393556. 
  7. ^ a b Davidson, Richard J.; Begley, Sharon (2013). The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live—and How You Can Change Them. New York City: The Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-452-29888-0. 
  8. ^ a b c Begley, Sharon (2008). Train Your Mind Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves. New York City: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-47989-1. 
  9. ^ "Speeches and Appearances". SharonBegley.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c d Wagg, Jeff (February 4, 2008). "TAM 6 Presenters". James Randi Educational Foundation. Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Charlie Rose". TV.com. Retrieved October 22, 2015.  |archive-url= is malformed: save command (help)
  12. ^ "Sharon Begley: About the Author". Penguin Books. Retrieved October 22, 2015.  |archive-url= is malformed: save command (help)
  13. ^ Flatow, Ira (February 2, 2007). "Can Thoughts and Action Change Our Brains?". NPR. Archived from the original on September 14, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Awards". SharonBegley.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c Myers, P. Z. (January 5, 2013). "Talking about Bad Science". Freethought Blogs / Pharyngula. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c d e Gorski, David (March 4, 2009). ""Why doctors hate science"? More like: Why does Sharon Begley hate doctors?". Science Based Medicine / Respectful Insolence. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b Begley, Sharon (October 1, 2009). "Why Psychologists Reject Science". Newsweek. Archived from the original on September 15, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b c "Honorary Degree Recipients". University of North Carolina Ashville. UNC. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Sharon Begley". Encyclopedia.com. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  20. ^ a b "Newspaper Guild Gives 23 Journalism Awards". The New York Times N.Y. / Region. The New York Times. October 15, 1984. Archived from the original on May 24, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "About Sharon Begley". Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications. Yale University. November 1, 2009. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  22. ^ Begley, Sharon (1998). "Science Finds God". WP Newsweek. Newsweek. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b "NAMI Announces Annual Media Awards for "Fair, Accurate, Sensitive" Reporting on Mental Illness". NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. June 21, 2002. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  24. ^ Begley, Sharon (March 3, 2002). "The Mystery of Schizophrenia". PR Newswire. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  25. ^ a b c d Dawson, Bill (October 1, 2007). "Newsweek's 'Hoax' Cover Story Raises Ire of Deniers, … and also Criticism from Within". Yale Climate Connections. Yale University. Archived from the original on October 5, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2015. 
  26. ^ Begley, Sharon. "Wall Street Journal Index". Sharon Begley.com. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  27. ^ a b "The Newswomen's Club of New York Announces the 2002 Front Page Award Winners". PR Newswire. October 22, 2002. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  28. ^ a b "Exploratorium's 28th Annual Awards Dinner The Spectrum of Learning". Exploratorium. May 1, 2005. Archived from the original on September 16, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  29. ^ a b "2005 Clarion Winners". The Association for Women in Communications. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  30. ^ a b Desmone, Rosanne (June 16, 2009). "Newsweek Science Columnist Sharon Begley Selected as Winner of ASA Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award" (PDF). Amstat.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 8, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  31. ^ a b Begley, Sharon (February 23, 2008). "How Your Brain Looks at Race". Newsweek. Archived from the original on September 19, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  32. ^ a b Fearing, Jennifer (March 30, 2009). "Raves Genesis Awards Stars Shine Brightly at The 23rd Genesis Awards". LIP-INK. Archived from the original on May 5, 2010. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Sharon Begley Returns to Newsweek; Will Write Column, Essays Contribute to Newsweek.com". PR Newsletter. February 2, 2007. Retrieved October 18, 2015.  |archive-url= is malformed: save command (help)
  34. ^ Brown, Tina (November 11, 2010). "Daily Beast, Newsweek to Wed!". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Sharon Begley". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on September 20, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  36. ^ Kennedy, Dan (August 2015). "Boston Globe's Stat project publishes its first story". Media Nation. Archived from the original on September 15, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  37. ^ Begley, Sharon (August 29, 2015). "In cancer treatment, precision medicine is less precise than promised". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  38. ^ Schwartz, Jeffrey; Beyette, Beverly (1997). Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior. New York City: Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-098711-1. 
  39. ^ Davidson, Richard J.; Begley, Sharon (2012). The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live—and How You Can Change Them. New York City: Penguin Books. pp. 4–6. ISBN 978-0-452-29888-0. 
  40. ^ a b Begley, Sharon (February 27, 2009). "Why Doctors Hate Science". Newsweek. Archived from the original on October 12, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  41. ^ a b Becker-Phelps, Leslie (October 13, 2009). "'Psychologists Reject Science': A False and Misleading Article Danger: Newsweek reports psychologists reject science and are ineffective.". Psychology Today. Archived from the original on November 12, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  42. ^ Begley, Sharon (January 2013). "Placebo Power". The Saturday Evening Post. Archived from the original on June 2, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  43. ^ Novella, Steven (January 16, 2013). "The Placebo Narrative". Science Based Medicine. Archived from the original on December 29, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  44. ^ Begley, Sharon (August 13, 2007). "The Truth About Denial (Article (also published with the title "Inside the Denial Machine")". MSNBC.com / Newsweek. Archived from the original on August 20, 2007. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  45. ^ Morano, Marc (April 6, 2009). "Climate Depot: Redefining Global Warming Reporting". Climate Depot. Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015. "For far too long, climate and environmental news has been tainted by the woeful reporting of journalists like . . . Newsweek's Sharon Begley . . . and many others," Morano said. 
  46. ^ Begley, Sharon (March 1, 2008). "Big Business: Wildlife Trafficking". Newsweek.com. Newsweek. Archived from the original on January 25, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  47. ^ "Population Institute Names 2007 Global Media Award Winners". Population Institute. October 24, 2007. Archived from the original on June 6, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  48. ^ Saunders, Tim (April 6, 2009). "Ellen DeGeneres Awarded by the Humane Society". LookToTheStars.org. Archived from the original on November 19, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  49. ^ "2009 Speaker Sharon Begley Senior Editor, Newsweek". Partnering for Cures. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  50. ^ Begley, Sharon (March 10, 2002). "The Schizophrenic Mind". Newsweek. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  51. ^ "Directory". IONS: Institute of Noetic Sciences. Archived from the original on April 19, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  52. ^ Goodman, Michelle (September 1999). "The Media Reflects Complicated Teen Realities". LA Youth. Archived from the original on January 8, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  53. ^ Begley, Sharon (July 20, 1998). "Science Finds God". Washington Post. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  54. ^ McAnally, Thomas S. (March 23, 1999). "Religion Communicators Council Celebrates 70th Anniversary". Worldwide Faith News. Archived from the original on October 22, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  55. ^ a b Begley, Sharon (February 18, 1996). "Your Child's Brain". Newsweek. Archived from the original on February 22, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  56. ^ Begley, Sharon (October 11, 1992). "E.T. Phone Us". Newsweek. Archived from the original on January 14, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  57. ^ Begley, Sharon (November 22, 1992). "The Science of Doom". Newsweek. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  58. ^ "ASSOCIATION OF FOOD JOURNALISTS AWARDS COMPETITION 1986" (PDF). Association of Food Journalists. 1986. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 13, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.