Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

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CASW elects new board members, officers

The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing is pleased to announce that three new members have joined the board, while two continuing board members are rotating into officer slots. Board and officer elections took place during the Council's annual meeting April 30 at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, Calif.

New directors elected to three-year terms (and pictured left to right) are:

With CASW's program agenda expanding and the World Conference of Science Journalists coming to the US in 2017, the election of new members is intended to restore the volunteer board to full strength after a series of recent retirements. Other members recently elected are:

Members newly elected to officer slots at the April meeting are freelance science writer Robin Lloyd, vice president, and National Public Radio science correspondent Richard Harris, treasurer. They succeed Deborah Blum and Tom Siegfried, who have stepped down as vice president and treasurer, respectively, while continuing on the board. Continuing as officers for 2016-17 are Alan Boyle, president, and Charles Petit, secretary. CASW officers are elected annually.

"We're proud to have these leaders in science writing and philanthropy on our team as we take on new challenges, including next year's World Conference of Science Journalists in San Francisco and other programs we'll be launching in the months ahead," Boyle said. "CASW is now in a good position to build on more than a half-century of improving the quantity and quality of science news reaching the public." 

2016-17 Taylor/Blakeslee Fellows distinguished by diverse experiences, accomplishment

Five science-trained journalists who have pursued their passions for science and writing in locations as diverse as Mexico and Yemen have been awarded the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing's prestigious Taylor/Blakeslee University Fellowships supporting graduate study in science writing.

The Fellows will receive a $5,000 award for the 2016-17 academic year, bringing to 151 the number of science writers aided by CASW’s graduate fellowships since 1981.

Chosen from a field of 31 outstanding applicants were:

Matthew Blois (pictured above), a Peace Corps Volunteer based in Guadalajara, Mexico who finds that he “constantly encounters people and ideas that force me to reevaluate how I think about the relationship between humans and the environment. Trained in biology and Spanish at Westmont College, Blois organizes live storytelling events for training and uses a blog to document the stories he encounters. He will pursue a master’s degree in environmental and natural resource journalism from the University of Montana to develop his skill to use varied media to tell stories about science, people and the environment.

Jennifer LuJennifer Lu of Columbia, Missouri. Lu is enrolled in the journalism master’s program at the University of Missouri. Having studied investigative journalism and data reporting this year, she plans to spend her second year applying those skills to science stories specific to Missouri and beyond. Lu holds a master’s degree in biochemistry from Brandeis University and worked as a research technician in Boston-area medical labs before taking up science writing and newspaper reporting. She is currently a science writer at the university's Bond Life Sciences Center.

Raleigh McElveryRaleigh McElvery (@raleighmcelvery) of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire. McElvery's interest in neuroscience was ignited when Alzheimer’s disease struck her grandmother. While completing summer internships as a neuroscience major at Bowdoin College, she found that she preferred translating science to the public to scientific writing.  A communications internship at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard solidified her enthusiasm for a career as a “courier of knowledge.” McElvery will enroll in the MIT science writing master’s program

Tik RootPathik “Tik” Root (@TikRoot) is a Vermont-based freelancer and Middlebury College graduate. He has reported from Yemen, Rwanda, Spain, Turkey and Russia as a freelance broadcast, newspaper and magazine reporter. While studying and reporting in the Middle East, Root became aware of the critical importance of environmental and resource issues to the stability and sustainability of the modern world. Recipient of a Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting travel grant, he will enroll in Columbia University’s master’s in journalism program, concentrating on science, health and the environment.

Maria TemmingMaria Temming (@mariatemming) of Cincinnati, Ohio. As an undergraduate honors student at Elon University, Temming has double-majored in physics and creative writing and once wrote a class essay that compared obsessive compulsive disorder to a calculus problem, finding the area under a graphical curve with integration. After cutting her teeth writing and producing science stories for Sky & Telescope and Scientific American and a campus blog, she will enroll in MIT’s master’s program in science writing.

CASW's graduate fellowships are underwritten by a grant from The Brinson Foundation, a Chicago-based philanthropic organization. They honor the late Rennie Taylor and Alton Blakeslee, science writer and science editor respectively for the Associated Press. More information may be found on this page.

 

Science writers head for a science city deep in the heart of Texas

CASW's 54th presentation of the New Horizons in Science briefing will take place in the seventh-largest city in the US this year: San Antonio, Texas. Just ahead of the Día de los Muertos, science writers will descend on San Antonio for ScienceWriters2016, which combines the New Horizons program with the workshops program of the National Association of Science Writers and a program of tours, field trips and lunch conversations with local scientists organized by our hosts. This year's sessions will take place at the Omni La Mansión del Rio on San Antonio's famed River Walk, hosted by a local consortium headed by Texas Biomedical Research Institute and BioBridge Global. A detailed program is posted on the conference website.

Proposals for science + science writing sessions due by March 1

CASW invites science writers to propose a special session for the New Horizons in Science program at ScienceWriters2016. "Science + Science Writing" sessions draw on a current science topic for discussion of challenges or issues in covering science. These sessions are intended to elucidate issues facing science writers covering particular areas of science. They also are intended to provide opportunities for open conversation between scientists and writers. Up to three selected sessions will be interwoven with the New Horizons in Science presentations that take place on Sunday and Monday. For guidelines and more information, see the CASW submission page. Proposals must be submitted by March 1.

 

Special reporting grant awarded to Amy McDermott

(January 21, 2016) Amy McDermott, now studying at the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Science Communication Program and already a prolific reporter, writer and editor, has won a $5,000 special reporting grant from CASW’s Taylor-Blakeslee university graduate fellowships program.

McDermott will travel to Alaska and New Mexico to visit scientists in the field as they monitor communities of sentinel species for signals of forest health, air pollution and climate change. Her project, combining field reporting and photography, is intended to generate magazine articles and blog posts.

A panel of CASW board members chose McDermott's proposal over three other impressive entries, commenting that her plan is not only ambitious but is particularly well focused on a specific, manageable goal. It also is about a fresh topic most lay readers will never have encountered. 

The judges added that McDermott’s plan reveals a deep appreciation for the reporting opportunities of immersing oneself in team research—and showing the public how vital to modern science are the data fed by such studies.

McDermott is one of four graduate students currently supported by Taylor-Blakeslee University Fellowships. With support from the Brinson Foundation, which underwrites the fellowships, CASW invited the Fellows to compete for a follow-up grant to help launch their careers. 

“We set up this competition to challenge our Fellows to propose high-impact enterprise projects that would leverage their graduate training and entrepreneurial talent,” said CASW Executive Director Rosalind Reid. “Every one of them met the challenge magnificently. Although we are able to fund only one project, we hope all of them are undertaken. They are all writers of extraordinary ability and commitment."

McDermott, who holds a master’s degree in evolutionary biology from Columbia University, aspires to a national magazine career as a writer and editor focusing on environmental science. Before joining the UCSC program, she launched the online magazine Hawkmoth.

Video of 2015 Patrusky Lecture available

Yale microbiologist and White House official Jo Handelsman gave a sweeping presentation on microbiome research to science writers attending CASW's 53rd New Horizons in Science briefings at MIT on Oct. 11, 2015.

The Patrusky Lecture was a highlight of ScienceWriters2015, the annual conference that combines New Horizons with the professional development workshops organized by the National Association of Science Writers. Some 800 science writers, a record number, attended this year's conference.

A full video recording of Handelsman's talk is now available on the Patrusky Lectures page.

U.S. science writers announce dates, venue, partners for 2017 World Conference of Science Journalists

CAMBRIDGE, MA (October 10, 2015) — The 10th World Conference of Science Journalists, expected to bring more than 1,200 journalists from around the world to San Francisco, has been scheduled for October 26–30, 2017, two U.S. lead organizations announced today.

The National Association of Science Writers and Council for the Advancement of Science Writing bid together to host the biennial conference of the World Federation of Science Journalists in the United States for the first time. They will work with partners across the Bay Area and the U.S. and around the globe to showcase science and develop a five-day program.

Two preeminent research universities in the Bay Area, the University of California San Francisco and the University of California, Berkeley, will serve as host institutions, supporting the conference and opening their campuses to enrich the WCSJ program with science tours and presentations. In addition to visiting the host institution campuses and other research facilities in the area, WCSJ2017 will coordinate with the Bay Area Science Festival to engage science journalists in public science events and outreach around the Bay Area. San Francisco’s Marriott Marquis has been chosen as the main conference venue.

NASW and CASW officially kicked off organizing and fundraising efforts today at their annual awards gala, held in Cambridge as part of ScienceWriters2015, the annual conference produced by the two organizations and this year attended by 800 science writers. WCSJ2017 will be held in place of the annual U.S. meeting, bringing U.S. writers together with members of some 50 other science journalism organizations in the developed and developing world.

Information about the 2017 World Conference of Science Journalists

DOWNLOADABLE BROCHURE

Website:
http://wcsj2017.org

Twitter:
#wcsj2017

Co-chairing the Organizing Committee for WCSJ2017 will be two senior leaders of the U.S. science journalism community: Ron Winslow, deputy editor for health and science and senior medical and health care writer for the Wall Street Journal, and Cristine Russell, senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Both are past presidents of NASW, and Russell is immediate past president of CASW.

“We're thrilled to invite science writers from around the world to participate in our terrific professional workshops and science programs,” Winslow said. “It’s a great opportunity for NASW members, too. The chance to connect with and learn from science-writing colleagues from other countries and cultures can be a life-changing experience.”

Russell added: “We’re proud to be hosting the conference in the U.S. for the first time, with San Francisco likely to attract the largest global gathering of science writers to date. It’s an opportunity to improve science writing and learn about cutting-edge science in an area known for research, innovation and enterprise. California is also facing environmental challenges, such severe drought and water shortages, that mirror problems across the world.”

Winslow said the conference theme, “Bridging Science and Societies,” was chosen to reflect “the vital role science journalists play in connecting audiences to the science that affects their lives” as well as the issues that arise along the interface between the global scientific enterprise and the world’s diversity of cultures. An international Program Committee to build activities around the theme will be chaired by Pulitzer-winning author Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and vice president of CASW.

“We’re looking forward to working with science journalists both in the U.S. and around the world,” Blum said, “to develop a global program, one that does justice to the ever-changing, fascinating and important role of communication in the way we think about science and society.”

A special focus of the 2017 conference will be programming and financial support to encourage participation and training for Latin American science journalists. The World Federation has focused many of its efforts on capacity-building in developing countries. California’s proximity to Latin America, Winslow said, “will allow us to strengthen existing and emerging networks with Latin American science journalists.”

The organizers have already developed partnerships with the National Academy of Sciences, California Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science and other scientific societies in support of the conference, which will combine professional developing and networking with presentations on leading-edge science patterned after CASW’s 53-year-old New Horizons in Science briefings. “By gathering so many science journalists from around the world, including from many developing nations,” National Academy President Ralph J. Cicerone noted in supporting the U.S. bid, “the WCSJ reflects the increasingly global nature of the research enterprise.”

Russell will head a committee reaching out to foundations and to Bay Area companies and organizations to recruit additional sponsors and partners for the event over the coming year. The organizers hope to create opportunities for international journalists to experience the vibrant research and development environment around the Bay, explore the interplay of innovation and technology that drives Northern California, and enjoy science excursions that expose them to the region’s natural wonders and environmental challenges.

UCSF and Berkeley Chancellors Nicholas Dirks and Sam Hawgood said they looked forward to welcoming science journalists to “one of the world’s great cities... an area known for its international flair and for universities with a true global outlook.”

THE CONFERENCE PARTNERS

CASW: Founded in 1959, the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (http://casw.org) is a panel of distinguished journalists, science communication specialists and scientists committed to improving the quality and quantity of science news reaching the public. CASW will have the lead role in fundraising to support travel for developing-country journalists, hospitality and conference program expenses.

NASW: Founded in 1934, the National Association of Science Writers (http://nasw.org) is an association of more 2,000 members chartered to “foster the dissemination of accurate information through all media normally devoted to informing the public.” NASW’s programs improve the craft of science writing, fight for the free flow of science news, and honor excellence in science writing. http

WFSJ: The Montréal-based World Federation of Science Journalists (http://wfsj.org) connects science journalists worldwide through conferences, competitions, and networking and encourages strong, critical coverage of issues in science and technology, environment, health and emdicine, agriculture and related fields. Current programs help journalists worldwide learn about infectious diseases including Ebola and the hepatitis C virus. WFSJ offers an online science journalism course in 10 languages.

UCSF and UCB: Founded in 1873 and dedicated to advancing health worldwide, UC San Francisco (http://ucsf.edu) is the leading university in the U.S. exclusively focused on health. Founded five years earlier, UC Berkeley (http://berkeley.edu) is the flagship of the University of California system and places #3 overall among the world’s universities in the latest US News & World Report rankings. Between them the two universities’ faculties have earned 40 Nobel Prizes.

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Contacts     

 

U.S. science writers announce dates, venue, partners for 2017 World Conference of Science Journalists

CAMBRIDGE, MA (October 10, 2015) — The 10th World Conference of Science Journalists, expected to bring more than 1,200 journalists from around the world to San Francisco, has been scheduled for October 26–30, 2017, two U.S. lead organizations announced today.

The National Association of Science Writers and Council for the Advancement of Science Writing bid together to host the biennial conference of the World Federation of Science Journalists in the United States for the first time. They will work with partners across the Bay Area and the U.S. and around the globe to showcase science and develop a five-day program.

Two preeminent research universities in the Bay Area, the University of California San Francisco and the University of California, Berkeley, will serve as host institutions, supporting the conference and opening their campuses to enrich the WCSJ program with science tours and presentations. In addition to visiting the host institution campuses and other research facilities in the area, WCSJ2017 will coordinate with the Bay Area Science Festival to engage science journalists in public science events and outreach around the Bay Area. San Francisco’s Marriott Marquis has been chosen as the main conference venue.

NASW and CASW officially kicked off organizing and fundraising efforts today at their annual awards gala, held in Cambridge as part of ScienceWriters2015, the annual conference produced by the two organizations and this year attended by 800 science writers. WCSJ2017 will be held in place of the annual U.S. meeting, bringing U.S. writers together with members of some 50 other science journalism organizations in the developed and developing world.

2017 World Conference of Science Journalists website: http://wcsj2017.org Twitter: #wcsj2017

Co-chairing the Organizing Committee for WCSJ2017 will be two senior leaders of the U.S. science journalism community: Ron Winslow, deputy editor for health and science and senior medical and health care writer for the Wall Street Journal, and Cristine Russell, senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Both are past presidents of NASW, and Russell is immediate past president of CASW.

“We're thrilled to invite science writers from around the world to participate in our terrific professional workshops and science programs,” Winslow said. “It’s a great opportunity for NASW members, too. The chance to connect with and learn from science-writing colleagues from other countries and cultures can be a life-changing experience.”

Russell added: “We’re proud to be hosting the conference in the U.S. for the first time, with San Francisco likely to attract the largest global gathering of science writers to date. It’s an opportunity to improve science writing and learn about cutting-edge science in an area known for research, innovation and enterprise. California is also facing environmental challenges, such severe drought and water shortages, that mirror problems across the world.”

Winslow said the conference theme, “Bridging Science and Societies,” was chosen to reflect “the vital role science journalists play in connecting audiences to the science that affects their lives” as well as the issues that arise along the interface between the global scientific enterprise and the world’s diversity of cultures. An international Program Committee to build activities around the theme will be chaired by Pulitzer-winning author Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and vice president of CASW.

“We’re looking forward to working with science journalists both in the U.S. and around the world,” Blum said, “to develop a global program, one that does justice to the ever-changing, fascinating and important role of communication in the way we think about science and society.”

A special focus of the 2017 conference will be programming and financial support to encourage participation and training for Latin American science journalists. The World Federation has focused many of its efforts on capacity-building in developing countries. California’s proximity to Latin America, Winslow said, “will allow us to strengthen existing and emerging networks with Latin American science journalists.”

The organizers have already developed partnerships with the National Academy of Sciences, California Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science and other scientific societies in support of the conference, which will combine professional developing and networking with presentations on leading-edge science patterned after CASW’s 53-year-old New Horizons in Science briefings. “By gathering so many science journalists from around the world, including from many developing nations,” National Academy President Ralph J. Cicerone noted in supporting the U.S. bid, “the WCSJ reflects the increasingly global nature of the research enterprise.”

Russell will head a committee reaching out to foundations and to Bay Area companies and organizations to recruit additional sponsors and partners for the event over the coming year. The organizers hope to create opportunities for international journalists to experience the vibrant research and development environment around the Bay, explore the interplay of innovation and technology that drives Northern California, and enjoy science excursions that expose them to the region’s natural wonders and environmental challenges.

UCSF and Berkeley Chancellors Nicholas Dirks and Sam Hawgood said they looked forward to welcoming science journalists to “one of the world’s great cities... an area known for its international flair and for universities with a true global outlook.”

THE CONFERENCE PARTNERS

CASW: Founded in 1959, the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (http://casw.org) is a panel of distinguished journalists, science communication specialists and scientists committed to improving the quality and quantity of science news reaching the public. CASW will have the lead role in fundraising to support travel for developing-country journalists, hospitality and conference program expenses.

NASW: Founded in 1934, the National Association of Science Writers (http://nasw.org) is an association of more 2,000 members chartered to “foster the dissemination of accurate information through all media normally devoted to informing the public.” NASW’s programs improve the craft of science writing, fight for the free flow of science news, and honor excellence in science writing. http

WFSJ: The Montréal-based World Federation of Science Journalists (http://wfsj.org) connects science journalists worldwide through conferences, competitions, and networking and encourages strong, critical coverage of issues in science and technology, environment, health and emdicine, agriculture and related fields. Current programs help journalists worldwide learn about infectious diseases including Ebola and the hepatitis C virus. WFSJ offers an online science journalism course in 10 languages.

UCSF and UCB: Founded in 1873 and dedicated to advancing health worldwide, UC San Francisco (http://ucsf.edu) is the leading university in the U.S. exclusively focused on health. Founded five years earlier, UC Berkeley (http://berkeley.edu) is the flagship of the University of California system and places #3 overall among the world’s universities in the latest US News & World Report rankings. Between them the two universities’ faculties have earned 40 Nobel Prizes.

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Contact:         Tinsley Davis, NASW                    Rosalind Reid, CASW

[email protected]                          [email protected]

 

Madhumita Venkataramanan wins Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award

The winner of the 2015 Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award, an annual prize for young science journalists, is Madhumita Venkataramanan, now head of technology coverage for the Telegraph in London.  

Venkataramanan received the award and its $1,000 prize for two stories in Wired (“My Identity for Sale” and “Welcome to BrainGate”) and one story for the BBC (“The Superpower Police Now Use to Tackle Crime.”)

The panel of judges cited Venkataramanan for her thorough and wide-ranging reporting, her ability to bring fresh and clever approaches to topics, and her compelling and memorable narratives.

Raised in India, Venkataramanan earned a B.A. in biology and an M.S. in clinical immunology from Oxford University. While a student, she worked as a correspondent for the Singapore-based magazine India Se and as an editor for The Oxford Student. She went on to get an M.A. from New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP) before landing a job as associate editor at Wired in the UK, where she had previously worked as an intern. In August, she left Wired to head up technology coverage at the Telegraph.

CASW President Alan Boyle with award winner Madhumita VenkataramananThe award was presented by the Evert Clark Fund and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing in a ceremony Saturday, October 10, during ScienceWriters2015 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Venkataramanan is shown receiving the award certificate from CASW President Alan Boyle.

Judges for the 2015 award were National Public Radio science correspondent (and CASW board member) Richard Harris; Warren Leary, retired science correspondent for the New York Time, former science writer for the Associated Press and former CASW board member; David Lindley, author of Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and the Struggle for the Soul of Science and other books about physics; Susan Milius, life sciences writer at Science News; and Laura Helmuth, science and health editor at Slate.

The Clark/Payne Award was created to encourage young science writers by recognizing outstanding reporting in all fields of science. It is given each year in honor of journalist Ev Clark, who offered friendship and advice to a generation of young reporters. The annual judging is organized by John Carey, former long-time senior correspondent at Business Week and colleague of Seth Payne, who raised money for the award in memory of Ev Clark. CASW now manages the submission process and presentation of the award in cooperation with the National Press Foundation, which administers the fund. This is the 27th year of the award.

Entrants must be age 30 or younger. The deadline for submissions is the end of June each year. For more information, please see the Evert Clark page.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Mark Johnson awarded 2015 Victor Cohn Prize for medical science journalism

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel science and medical reporter Mark Johnson, a career newspaper journalist whose work is marked by its scientific breadth, human impact and storytelling verve, is the recipient of the 2015 Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting.

Judges for the prize, awarded by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) for a body of work published or broadcast within the past five years, and now in its 16th year, cited Johnson for his “extraordinary ability to combine long-form, ‘inside’ stories of complex scientific research with a deeply human dimension” and to “write with such passion, narrative style, and clarity that readers are absolutely riveted.”

Johnson, they said, “is a masterful storyteller whose character-driven, edge-of-seat narratives offer uncommonly vivid portrayals of the profound human drama and passion that lie at the heart of so many medical pursuits, especially the often frustrating and heartbreaking efforts required to solve some of medicine’s prevailing mysteries.”

His stories, the judges added, are “so compelling, and so rich with detail and reportorial craft, that learning about the process of medical science, its practitioners and the people whose lives it touches is pure pleasure.”

Johnson was selected from a field of candidates whose fine reporting and writing made the judging process both exciting and difficult. The judges found that several of the nominees’ pieces met the Cohn Prize’s requirement of “uncommon clarity, accuracy, breadth of coverage, enterprise, originality, insight and narrative power,” but Johnson’s body of work stood out.

Among the selection of articles, sidebars, graphics and social media enhancements that made up Johnson’s nomination was “In the Course of Their Lives,” which, the judges said, recounted with exquisite sensitivity the quotidian but dramatically intimate hurdles negotiated by would-be physicians in their first-year human gross anatomy class. But Johnson did even more, they said, weaving into the piece the touching stories of once and future organ donors and the bioethical dimensions of medical training.

Another entry that caught the judges’ attention was “Murray’s Problem,” which followed a scientist as he struggled with confusion, failure and self-doubt and celebrated fleeting moments of triumph. The judges noted that the story captured drama in the daily routine of laboratory research and portrayed the “deep humanity of what science is really about.”

In a series called “Deadly Delays,” the judges said, Johnson’s “simply stunning” investigative reporting skills explored the flaws and dangers in the nation’s newborn screening program, focusing on how an infant died when a hospital delayed sending his blood sample to an outside lab in order to “batch” samples and save shipping costs.

One in a Billion,” another series, read like a detective story, the judges said, tracking an almost impossible effort to identify a mysterious disease that was killing a boy and horrifying his family and the physician-scientists racing to save him. That work earned Johnson and four Journal Sentinel colleagues the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.

Johnson, the judges observed, has also produced daily beat stories, blogs and tweets. “His way of adapting his reporting and writing to multiple platforms that make his stories widely accessible is exemplary,” the judges said.

In his nominating letter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editor and vice president George Stanley wrote: “Mark’s work is unmatched when it comes to depth, storytelling and helping readers understand complicated science and medical issues. Mark’s stories are always told with care, with nuance and through the eyes of real people – patients, parents, doctors.”

Johnson, who joined the Milwaukee daily in 2000, received a $3,000 award and certificate at a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Oct. 10, during ScienceWriters2015, a series of presentations, meetings, and workshops jointly organized by CASW and the National Association of Science Writers (NASW). CASW is a not-for-profit organization of journalists and scientists committed to improving the quality of science news and information reaching the public. (He is shown with CASW President Alan Boyle and the Cohn Prize certificate.)

Journal Sentinel cited

The Cohn Prize judges this year also issued a special citation to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for its “enduring and outstanding commitment to medical science coverage, and its unwavering support for journalists who epitomize the craft and legacy of the man this prize honors.” Another Milwaukee Journal Sentinel medical writer, John Fauber, won the Cohn Prize in 2013.

MARK JOHNSON

Mark Johnson came to Milwaukee as a general assignment reporter, covering the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in New York, the 2000 presidential ballot controversy in Florida and the 2003 Space Shuttle explosion in Houston. He became a health and science writer in 2008. Since that time, in addition to the 2011 Pulitzer, he has been a three-time Pulitzer Finalist, and received both the National Academies of Science Communication Award and an American Association for the Advancement of Science Kavli Science Journalism Award.

Prior to working for the Journal Sentinel, Johnson covered small towns for the Providence (R.I.) Journal. In the early 1990s he covered family issues for the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star. From 1987 to 1990, he covered southern New Hampshire and business for a small daily, the Haverhill (Mass.) Gazette. He began his newspaper career covering town hall and the fishing industry for the weekly Provincetown (Mass.) Advocate.

Johnson lives with his wife, the writer Mary-Elizabeth Shaw, and their son, the composer Evan Johnson. He also played (“badly,” he reports) guitar for a punk band in Rockford, Ill., called The Bloody Stumps.

This year’s Cohn Prize entries were judged by Ben Patrusky, CASW’s executive director emeritus; Joann Rodgers, a freelance writer and author, a CASW past president and current board member, and part-time faculty scholar at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics; Cristine Russell, CASW’s immediate past president and a current board member, freelance writer, and senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School; and Ron Winslow, NASW’s immediate past president, a Wall Street Journal medical writer and past winner of the Cohn Prize.

The inaugural Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting in 2000 was shared by Laurie Garrett of Newsday and Lawrence K. Altman of The New York Times. Subsequent recipients were Jon Palfreman, a public television documentarian; Shannon Brownlee, a noted magazine writer and book author; Michelle Trudeau of National Public Radio; Rick Weiss of the Washington Post; Jerome Groopman of The New Yorker; Geeta Anand of The Wall Street Journal; Joe Palca of NPR; Denise Grady of The New York Times; Marilynn Marchionne of the Associated Press; Ron Winslow of The Wall Street Journal; Jon Cohen of Science magazine; John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; freelance health reporter and former NPR correspondent Joanne Silberner; and Elisabeth Rosenthal of The New York Times.

The award honors the late Washington Post medical writer and health columnist Victor Cohn, known as the dean of medical science reporting. He distinguished himself by the clarity and effectiveness of his reporting during a 50-year career that began with outstanding coverage of early “wonder” drugs and the polio vaccine, as well as the dawn of the modern space age. Late in his career, Cohn started a Post column called “The Patient’s Advocate,” and wrote a highly regarded professional book, News & Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Other Fields. Cohn, who died of cancer in 2000, was a co-founder in 1959 of CASW.


To read Mark Johnson’s work (Twitter: @majohnso), visit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website.

To learn more about CASW (Twitter: @sciencewriting), the Cohn Prize and past recipients, visit the CASW website.

To learn more about ScienceWriters2015 (#sciwri15), visit http://www.sciencewriters2015.org.

 

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