AAAS Announces The Winners Of Its Science Journalism Awards

November 30, 1998

(Washington, DC)-The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced today the 1998 winners of its prestigious Science Journalism Awards, a national science writing competition sponsored by the Whitaker Foundation:

• John McQuaid, Mark Schleifstein, Lynne Jensen, Andrew Boyd, and Scott Threlkeld, The Times-Picayune
• Robyn Suriano and Todd Halvorson, Florida Today
• Mark Schoofs, Village Voice
• Julia Cort, WGBH-TV and Robert Gardner, Gardner Films
• David Baron, National Public Radio

The awards represent the pinnacle of achievement for individual science print and broadcast journalists. The awards call for one winner to be selected for a $2,500 prize in each of five categories: large newspaper, small newspaper, magazine, television, and radio. The winners will be honored on January 23, 1999, at a special ceremony during the Association's annual meeting in Anaheim, California.

The competition was open to newspaper and magazine articles as well as radio and television shows that were originally published or aired in the United States between July 1, 1997, and June 30, 1998. Independent screening and judging committees of journalists and scientists selected the winners.

John McQuaid, Mark Schleifstein, Lynne Jensen, Andrew Boyd, and Scott Threlkeld won the competition in the large newspaper category for "Home Wreckers," a five-part series in The Times-Picayune, June 28-July 2, 1998. The team is honored for its exhaustive effort and initiative in capturing the drama behind the battle against the Formosan termite, which is threatening homes and historic architecture in New Orleans and throughout the South. The series is as an excellent example of how science can be applied in explaining an urgent local issue.

Robyn Suriano and Todd Halvorson won in the small newspaper category for "Cassini: Debating the Risks," in Florida Today, September 14, 1997. Suriano and Halvorson are honored for their initiative and balance in explaining the potential risks associated with Cassini, NASA's probe of Saturn. They went beyond reporting on the hazards and benefits of the debate by thoroughly covering the science behind the issues and explaining it in a context that the reader could use.

Mark Schoofs won in the magazine category for "How Genetics is Changing Our Lives," a seven-part series in the Village Voice from September to December, 1997. Schoofs is honored for his comprehensive reporting on the ethical considerations and scientific advances of genetic engineering. The piece tackled a host of complex scientific and ethical issues, providing relevant information and important insights for a general audience.

In the television category, Julia Cort of WGBH-TV and independent producer Robert Gardner won for "Warnings from the Ice," which appeared on April 21, 1998, on WGBH-TV. Cort and Gardner are honored for the NOVA special, which follows an ice-core drilling expedition in the cold and dangerous environment of the west Antarctic ice sheet. The piece gave a clear explanation of scientific concepts involved in climate change research and a vivid portrayal of scientific research under extremely difficult circumstances.

In the radio category, David Baron won for "Montserrat Volcano Science," which was aired on September 8, 1997, on National Public Radio. Baron is honored for his initiative and originality in reporting on the volcanic eruption on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. Baron's reporting placed the listener at the scene and offered a clear explanation of the science behind the volcano. This award marks Baron's third AAAS Science Journalism Award in the radio category, placing him among a handful of three-time winners in all five award categories.

The AAAS Science Journalism Awards, first presented in 1945, are sponsored by the Whitaker Foundation, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting research and training in biomedical engineering.

AAAS, the world's largest federation of scientists from a variety of disciplines, works to advance science for human well-being through its projects, programs, and publications. With more than 143,000 members and 282 affiliated societies, AAAS conducts many programs in the areas of science policy, science education, and international scientific cooperation. AAAS publishes the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Science, and administers EurekAlert! (, an online news service featuring the latest information on science, technology, and medicine.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

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