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2018 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award winners named

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Science  21 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6421, pp. 1370-1371
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6421.1370

Harmful algae bloom on Lake Erie in August 2014.


Stories on the long-sought pill for male contraception, the complicated legacy of a sexually proficient panda, and the environmental hazards posed by toxic algae and invasive mussels are among the winners of the 2018 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards.

The judges also honored “Alive Inside,” a series by Houston Chronicle reporter Mike Hixenbaugh on efforts by a local hospital to restore patients with severe brain injuries, and “The Farthest—Voyager in Space,” a documentary written and directed by Irish filmmaker Emer Reynolds on NASA's ongoing mission to the outer planets and beyond.

The science journalism awards, administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) since their inception in 1945, honor distinguished reporting for a general audience. The awards, endowed by The Kavli Foundation, are open to journalists worldwide. There were entries this year from 54 countries.

Independent panels of science journalists select the winners. A Gold Award ($5000) and a Silver Award ($3500) are presented in each of eight categories.

Emily Anthes, a freelancer for Bloomberg Businessweek, won a Gold Award in the magazine category for a story on the search for a male contraceptive. Maggie Koerth-Baker won a Gold Award for a lively online story for FiveThirtyEight about Pan Pan, the oldest known male panda at the time of his death in 2016.

Silver Award winners included Tony Bartelme in the small newspaper category for a report in The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, on the impact of destructive algae blooms and an audio team from Montana Public Radio for an ambitious report on the threat of invasive zebra and quagga mussels in Montana waters.

“These awards represent the highest quality in science journalism,” said Rush Holt, AAAS chief executive officer. “Congratulations to the winners for their important and compelling stories.” The awards will be presented at a 15 February ceremony held in conjunction with the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the annual awards, the AAAS Kavli program also brings past winners to college campuses for public lectures and workshops with journalism students. The speakers this fall were Sarah Holt, a three-time winner in the video category, who discussed the making of her new PBS NOVA documentary on addiction in a talk at Arizona State University on 23 October; Llewellyn Smith, a two-time video winner, who spoke at Howard University on 1 November about the relevance of science journalism for social justice; and freelancer Hillary Rosner, a two-time winner in print categories, who spoke at Northwestern University on 8 November about the challenges of covering conservation in an era of upheaval.

The winners are:

Large Newspaper (Circulation of 150,000 or more) Gold Award: Mike Hixenbaugh, The Houston Chronicle, for “Alive Inside” (series)—3 to 6 December 2017.

Large Newspaper Silver Award: Marc Hasse, Hamburger Abendblatt (Germany), for “Hamburgs nächste Elbphilharmonie?”—26 August 2017.

Small Newspaper (Circulation less than 150,000) Gold Award: Kale Williams, The Oregonian (Portland), for “The loneliest polar bear” (series)—16 to 20 October 2017.

Small Newspaper Silver Award: Tony Bartelme, The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.), for “Scum”—17 September 2017

Magazine Gold Award: Emily Anthes, Bloomberg Businessweek, for “What Do We Have to Do to Get the Male Pill?”—7 August 2017.

Magazine Silver Award: Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, for “The Exercise Pill”—6 November 2017

Video Spot News/Feature Reporting (20 minutes or less) Gold Award: Joss Fong, David Seekamp, Rubab Shakir, and Laura Bult, for Netflix, “Designer DNA, explained”—23 May 2018.

Video Spot News/Feature Reporting Silver Award: Jennifer Green and Jules Bartl, BBC World Service, for “How trees secretly talk to each other”—28 June 2018.

Video In-Depth Reporting (more than 20 minutes) Gold Award: Emer Reynolds, John Murray, Clare Stronge, John Rubin, and Sean B. Carroll, A Crossing the Line and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios Production for PBS, “The Farthest—Voyager in Space”—23 August 2017.

Video In-Depth Reporting Silver Award: Jamie Lochhead and Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe, Windfall Films for SVT2 (Sweden), Channel 4 (UK), and PBS, for “Ozone Hole: How We Saved the Planet”—21 May 2018 (SVT2).

Audio Gold Award: Cathy Edwards and Marnie Chesterton, BBC World Service, for “CrowdScience: Is Carbon Dioxide Higher Than Ever?”—6 October 2017.

Audio Silver Award: Nicky Ouellet, Eric Whitney, Josh Burnham, and Nora Saks, Montana Public Radio, for “SubSurface: Resisting Montana's Underwater Invaders” (series)—20 November, 24 November, 4 December, 10 December, and 18 December 2017.

Online Gold Award: Maggie Koerth-Baker, FiveThirtyEight, for “The Complicated Legacy of a Panda Who Was Really Good at Sex”—28 November 2017.

Online Silver Award: Sarah Zhang, The, for “China Is Genetically Engineering Monkeys with Brain Disorders”—8 June 2018.

Children's Science News Gold Award: Jeanne Miller, Muse magazine, for “Fighting to the End”—October 2017.

Children's Science News Silver Award: Anna Rothschild, “Science Magic Show Hooray” from The Washington Post, for “Why do we have butts?”—31 May 2018, and “Why am I so sweaty?”—12 July 2018.

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