2004 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award winners announced

04/19/04

PHILADELPHIA The joint winners of the 2004 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award are Sue Goetinck Ambrose, a science writer for The Dallas Morning News, and W. Wayt Gibbs, senior writer for Scientific American. The shared award and cash prize of $5,000 will be presented to the two journalists at a ceremony in Philadelphia on June 4.

The judges chose to honor the two journalists for their coverage of epigenetics, an emerging and still mysterious field of genetic research. The judges were particularly impressed that on the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the structure of DNA, the writers looked to the future of genetics rather than dwelling on the historical importance of the earlier research.

The award is given jointly because the judges wanted to acknowledge the parallel achievement of the writers for the clear and informative presentation of epigenetics to a general audience by Ambrose and the sophisticated treatment of the same topic by Gibbs for an audience interested in science.

The six members of the judges panel are: Deborah Blum (co-chair), Professor of Journalism, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and 1992 Pulitzer Prize winner; Joe Palca (co-chair), Senior Science Correspondent, National Public Radio; Robert Bazell, Chief Science Correspondent, NBC News; Carol Ezzell Webb, Freelance Journalist and Contributing Editor for Scientific American; Usha Lee McFarling, Science Writer, Los Angeles Times; and Charles Petit, Senior Writer, U.S. News & World Report.

The selection of the 2004 winners of the Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award inaugurates this major new award in journalism that aims to honor annually the most insightful and enterprising reporting on the basic biomedical sciences in print or broadcast journalism during the award year.

The award acknowledges biomedical research as a key force for change in the world today, with important economic and social implications for the future. Intelligent, perceptive journalism written in broadly accessible language plays a primary role in communicating progress in biomedicine to the public, which both supports and is the beneficiary of basic biomedical research. For these reasons, journalistic excellence in this area is of the highest importance and deserves to be honored.

Science journalists working in all media are invited to submit their work for consideration for the 2005 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award. Up to five stories or broadcast reports from an individual journalist or team of journalists may be submitted as an entry. These may be selections from a series or a collection of stories representative of the entrant's coverage of the basic biomedical sciences. Books are not eligible. The work must have been published or broadcast in English between January 1 and December 31, 2004. The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2005.

For more information about the award, please visit: http://www.wistar.upenn.edu/news_info/award.html

The 2004 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award will be presented on June 4 in Philadelphia in conjunction with a seminar for members of the science media. The award presentation will take place at a luncheon event during the day-long seminar. The seminar will offer a series of focused briefings on recent shifts in scientific thinking concerning vaccines, while also placing that information into a social, political, and economic context. The presenters are leading vaccine researchers and public health officials who will explore the science of vaccines and some of the vital framing issues attending their distribution and use.

For more information about the media seminar and award ceremony planned for June 4 in Philadelphia, please visit: http://www.wistar.upenn.edu/news_info/awardseminar.html

Source: Eurekalert & others

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