Lisa Song, a 2009 alumna of the Graduate Program and Science Writing, has just been announced as a Pulitzer Prize winner for national reporting, as part of team that authored “The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of. The reporting itself began as a seven-month investigation into a 2010 spill of Canadian tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River.
It was originally published with InsideClimateNews. From their announcement:
The Pulitzer-winning entry included a three-part narrative by McGowan and Song, who described the unfolding of the Michigan oil spill from the point of view of those directly involved–residents; state, local and EPA officials at the scene; scientists; and spokesmen with Enbridge Inc., the company responsible for the spill. As the three-year anniversary of the spill approaches, oil is still being removed from the Kalamazoo River.Song followed up with articles that revealed critical gaps in federal pipeline safety regulations, while Hasemyer focused on how Enbridge’s rebuilding of the ruptured pipeline is affecting the lives of people along the route.
by Andrew Whitacre
Katharine Gammon Receives National Press Foundation Fellowship
Katharine Gammon ’07 has been awarded a full fellowship by the National Press Foundation to attend the Obesity Issues Program put on by the Anshutz Health and Wellness Center. Sixteen journalists will attend the conference in late April to cover the most recent advances in obesity studies.
Both Megan Scudellari ’08 and Carolyn Johnson ’04 were named in the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) 2012 Health Journalism Awards. Megan was recognized for her article “Missing Touch” in The Scientist, and Carolyn for her body of work in the Boston Globe, including coverage of the fungal meningitis outbreak.
From their website, “The Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism recognize the best health reporting in print, broadcast and online media. The contest is run by journalists for journalists and is not influenced or funded by commercial or special-interest groups.”
Amanda Martinez ’10
Sometimes efforts to save an endangered species involve the wholesale slaughter of another. Amanda Martinez ’10 explores the practicalities and ethics of preserving our world’s secluded spaces in an insightful and nuanced short book. This is the first Kindle e-book for the Atlantic magazine.
Amanda is a science writer and multimedia producer. She’s written for The Atlantic, Scientific American, Seed magazine, and Science News for Kids and produced pieces for PRI’s Living on Earth and the Marine Biological Laboratory, among others.
In November, the Graduate Program in Science Writing managed to catch Kate Gammon,’07, between hosting a panel at the ScienceWriters 2012 annual meeting and her busy freelance schedule. Kate writes for Nature, Wired, Popular Science,Technology Review, and many other outlets. She is based in Santa Monica, California. You can find her at email@example.com or follow @kategammon on Twitter.
GPSW: You were an anthropology major in your undergraduate degree. What made you gravitate to science writing?
Kate: I’ve always been fascinated by science, and I was raised by two scientists. So even as I studied anthropology, I was always toeing the line between humanities and science – often looking at scientific questions from an anthropological view. I spent a whole summer trying to construct a picture of a whole Neanderthal lifestyle from the wear marks on a single tooth. Sometimes, writing is a similar act. And I still use the toolkit of cultural anthropology when I go into an unknown reporting situation. It sometimes helps to think about a community of scientists as an unknown tribe, and I need to quickly understand their worldview, their specific lingo, and also to evaluate group dynamics. Read more…
Science Writing professor Seth Mnookin has been awarded the 2012 NASW Science in Society Award for his book “The Panic Virus”. The National Association of Science Writers established the Science in Society Journalism Awards to provide recognition for investigative or interpretive reporting about the sciences and their impact on society.
From the press release, “In Panic Virus (Simon & Schuster, 2012), Mnookin tells the story of the dire consequences of the 1998 publication of a subsequently discredited paper alleging that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine might cause autism. One judge commented that Mnookin “neatly dissects the issues behind the anti-vaccine movement, illuminating this intersection of science, politics and public health. The story is beautifully told, the people in it are compellingly rendered, and the missteps on all sides of the vaccine question told in clear detail…. In the end, the book offers both a telling look at how human beings can complicate even the most straight-forward attempts to protect public health and a warning of the risks to all of us when we choose fear- mongering over good science.”
The award will be presented at the ScienceWriters2012 meeting in October.
Grace Chua was named 2012 Environmental Journalist of the Year by the Singapore Environmental Council. This is the inaugural year of the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards. Her story, “Group told to clear out ‘farm’ on state land” from the Singapore Straits-Times was also shortlisted for the Coca-Cola Environmental Story of the Year.
From the press release: The Singapore Environment Council’s inaugural Asian Environmental Journalism Awards (AEJ Awards) aims to recognise and reward excellence in environmental journalism at all levels of society.
From passionate citizen journalists, to outstanding professional journalists, to the environmental attitudes of overall media organisations, the AEJ Awards highlight exceptional journalistic work, and encourage continued high-quality coverage of environmental issues in Asia. The awards are open to Asian journalists, as well as journalists working in and writing about Asian countries.
For more information about the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards, please visit www.sec.org.sg/awards/asianjournalism
In June, the MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing chatted with Andrew Moseman, ’08. Andrew is the online editor at Popular Mechanics. He has also worked at Discover Magazine and blogged for the Big Think. You can check him out on the web at http://www.andrewmoseman.com/ and on Twitter at @Agmoseman.
GPSW: First tell us about where you live, and what made you decide on New York City.
Andrew: I live in beautiful Brooklyn, New York, above an adorable family and down the street from Prospect Park. New York City just happened to me. I’d never lived in the Northeast prior to attending MIT, but during the harried final days of internship searching during our spring semester, I landed one with the Web department at Discover Magazine, which is NYC-based. So, in May 2008, I presented my paper at Thesis Day on a Friday, moved to New York on a Sunday (which involved an Amtrak breakdown in Rhode Island, don’t ask), and started work on the Monday. Been here ever since.
In April 2012, we spoke with Matthew Hutson, class of 2003 – the first class of the Graduate Program in Science Writing. Matt lives in New York and has just published his first book, The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy and Sane. He writes for Wired, Discover, Scientific American Mind, and The New York Times Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, @silverjacket, or check out his website at http://magicalthinkingbook.com.
GPSW: First, tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to since you graduated in 2003.
Matt: After I graduated in 2003, I spent six months at Fermilab writing about physics and life around the lab. From there, I went to San Diego for two years to work at Sally Ride Science as their in-house science writer, producing books and newsletters and electronic content for middle-school kids (mostly girls). Then I moved to New York to be the news editor at Psychology Today. I spent four years there before leaving to focus on my book. I enjoyed the process of book writing so much that as soon as I finished, I started working on another proposal, which I’ve been researching for most of the past year. Over the past six years I’ve also done a bit of freelancing: Wired, Discover, Scientific American Mind, The New York Times Magazine, etc.
Erico Guizzo ’03 has won his second Neal Award in a row, for the IEEE Spectrum Automaton blog. The award is considered the “Pulitzer Prize for business media” and is a prestigious and sought-after honor. Congratulations to Erico for defending his title!