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AIBS Media Award

LIGHTBOX EXAMPLE p> The AIBS Media Award, established in 1995, recognizes outstanding reporting on biology to a general audience. The award is limited to non-technical journalism, including print and broadcast media.

The AIBS Media Award competition is currently on hiatus until further notice.

Recipients:

2009 Chip Rowe, Playboy Magazine

Chip Rowe

Chip Rowe
AIBS 2009 Media Award, Print Media

Chip Rowe received the 2009 AIBS Media Award for his story "Sexual Male: The Hard Facts," which was part 5 of a 6-part series in Playboy Magazine on scientists' findings during the past decade relating to male and female sexual development. This segment of the series appeared in the November 2008 issue.

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2008 Michelle Nijhuis, High Country News

Michelle Nijhuis

Michelle Nijhuis
AIBS 2008 Media Award, Print Media

Michelle Nijhuis received the Media Award for her articles "Beetle Warfare" and "Bonfire of the Superweeds," part of a series on western invasions that ran in High Country News on August 20 and November 26, 2007.

She is a contributing editor of High Country News. Her reporting on science and the environment has also appeared in Smithsonian, National Geographic, Audubon, and the anthology Best American Science Writing.

Nijhuis has won several national honors for her science writing, including the Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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2007 Kenneth Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling, Los Angeles Times/David Baron, The World

Kenneth WeissUsha Lee McFarling

Kenneth Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling
AIBS 2007 Media Award, Print Media

Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling won the AIBS Media Award in print media for their series "Altered Oceans," which appeared in the Los Angeles Times July 30-August 3, 2006. They traveled great distances to capture the story of the oceans' transformation in light of human activity. The series frighteningly portrays the decline of fish and mammal populations and the proliferation of more primitive species, such as algae, jellyfish, and bacteria.

Weiss has been reporting on the oceans for five years for the Los Angeles Times. McFarling, who has reported on topics related to earth science and the space program, has recently expanded her portfolio to include the effects of global climate change, with a focus on the Arctic.

David Baron

David Baron
AIBS 2007 Media Award, Broadcast Media

David Baron received the AIBS Broadcast Media Award for "Bioko's Endangered Monkeys," originally aired January 5, 2006 on PRI's series The World. Baron traveled to Bioko Island, off Africa's western coast, to research how rare primate species are being driven further toward extinction by human consumption.

He is an award-winning journalist whose broadcasts and books demonstrate his passion for science and his adventurous spirit. He spent much of his career at National Public Radio, where he reported on science, medicine, technology, and the environment for All Things Considered. He is currently the global development editor for The World, a coproduction of the BBC World Service, PRI, and WGBH Boston.

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2006 Margaret Wertheim, LA Weekly/Daniel Grossman, Radio Netherlands

2005 Tom Meersman, Minneapolis Star Tribune/Diane Toomey

Tom Meersman

Tom Meersman
AIBS 2005 Media Award, Print Media

Tom Meersman, environment and natural resources reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, won the AIBS Media Award in print journalism for "Invaded Waters," which covered invasive organisms in the Great Lakes. The story was published in three segments from June 13-15, 2004.

The judges noted that "the story treats a complex subject but was nevertheless outstanding in readability, accessibility, and organization, and it made clear points about how changes in the environment affect habitat. It was balanced--environmental writing tends to be one-sided, but in this article the author provided context. The whole package was beautifully designed: an outstanding story complemented with excellent photography."

Meersman has been reporting on environmental and natural resource issues in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest for the past 25 years. He has worked for the Minneapolis Star Tribune since 1993, and before that he was a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio. Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, the headwaters of the Mississippi, and the western edge of the Great Lakes, so his coverage often focuses on water quality. Many of Meersman's stories involve new science about emerging issues, especially in natural resource management and in public health. They also cover legislative and budget priorities, and how transportation policy, agricultural practices, and energy use affect environmental quality.

Diane Toomey

Diane Toomey
AIBS 2005 Media Award, Broadcast Media

Diane Toomey won the AIBS Media Award in the broadcast journalism category for "A Little Known Planet," which was broadcast on December 12, 2003 on National Public Radio's Living on Earth, a series covering environmental news.

The judges said that the story, which examines current attempts to discover and catalog all the living organisms on Earth, "used clear and simple language for a lay audience to demonstrate how complex the natural world is. It used natural sounds effectively, and did not rely solely on people talking, allowing the audience to visualize scenes. An elegant and eloquent program."

Toomey has been working in public radio for 13 years as a reporter, producer, and editor. Most recently, she produced a pilot for a new science show for Ira Flatow, host of NPR's Science Friday. She is now working on a start-up show covering issues of poverty and injustice, sponsored by World Vision, one of the world's largest humanitarian aid groups.

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2004 Sarah Staples/Daniel Grossman

Sarah Staples

Sarah Staples
AIBS 2004 Media Award, Print Media

The AIBS Media Award in print media went to Sarah Staples for "The Forgotten Frontier," a series of articles that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen during the period of August 3-31, 2003.

The judges noted that "the series was an engaging introduction to the work of researchers and an impressive examination of their work. It dealt with topics of the broadest public impact; it had strong inherent interest, and was deftly handled. It gave someone who doesn't know much about science an understanding of how science works."

Staples is a freelance writer who reports on science for the Ottawa Citizen and other major Canadian newspapers, from Montreal's The Gazette and the Toronto Star to the National Post and its financial counterpart, Financial Post; for magazines, including Canadian Business and ROB Magazine; and for top-tier US media, such as the Boston Globe and New York-based Genetic Engineering News. Staples has also reported for Ottawa television and radio.

Daniel Grossman

Daniel Grossman
AIBS 2004 Media Award, Broadcast Media

The AIBS Media Award in broadcast journalism went to Daniel Grossman for "The Penguin Barometer," which aired on The Research File of Radio Netherlands on November 10, 2003.

The judges commented that "the story was outstanding for a wide range of data, non-clich├ęd use of scene setting, use of humor, and a broad, diverse voice. It tracked the issue of global warming through time, across the globe, and through different media. It highlighted the contributions of amateurs and shows that some really important global change scientists are looking at these data."

Grossman has produced material for various radio shows and networks, including National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Sunday and Living on Earth, Radio Netherlands, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Germany's Deutsche Welle radio. He writes regularly for Scientific American. His reports generally concern science and the environment.

Among Grossman's journalism awards are the George Foster Peabody Award and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Pinnacle of Excellence prize (both of which were awarded to a series to which he contributed a one-hour documentary).

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2003 Richard Stone, Science/Robin White, RadioCollege

Richard Stone

Richard Stone
AIBS 2003 Media Award, Print Media

Richard Stone, European news editor for Science, won AIBS Media Award in the print journalism category for "Siberia's Deadly Stalker Emerges from the Shadows," which appeared in Science on April 26, 2002.

Stone edits Science's news coverage of Western Europe and the Middle East and writes about research in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In recent months Stone has written extensively on the threat posed by nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, with a focus on former Soviet labs and scientists. In addition to his regular contributions to Science, Stone's articles have appeared in such publications as Discover, Smithsonian, the Washington Post, and the Moscow Times.

He has won several awards for his science writing, most recently the 2001 Walter Sullivan Award from the American Geophysical Union for an article on Antarctica's Lake Vostok and the 2001 Pan American Health Organization's International Reporting Award for an article on the lingering health effects of Chernobyl.

Stone is the author of Mammoth: The Resurrection of an Ice Age Giant (Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2001), a book that discusses everything from folklore about the woolly mammoth to modern efforts to understand why the species went extinct and attempts to clone it from cells that were preserved by the Siberian permafrost.

Robin White

Robin White
AIBS 2003 Media Award, Broadcast Media

Robin White won the AIBS Media Award in the broadcast journalism category for "Bugs on Mars," which was broadcast on Living on Earth on November 29, 2002. Robin White has been a radio producer for 13 years, making documentaries and feature stories for Living on Earth, The DNA Files, The Savvy Traveler, Marketplace, National Public Radio, The California Report, The Weather Notebook, and the world service of Radio Netherlands.

He has made four radio documentaries, including Giving Back the Owens, a "hiking documentary" about the history of the Owens River in eastern California. He has won several awards for his journalism, including the Peabody Award for his contribution to the five-part documentary series The DNA Files.

White is the founder and webmaster of RadioCollege.org, a training Web site for independent radio.

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2002 Gary Polakovic, Los Angeles Times

Gary Polakovic

Gary Polakovic
AIBS 2002 Media Award, Print Media

Gary Polakovic, environmental writer for the Los Angeles Times, is the winner in the print journalism category, for his article "Deaths of the Little Bighorns" (29 August 2001). The judges noted that "the winning entry weaves a strong narrative, combining colorful writing and new science to keep readers interested throughout."

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2001 Mark Robichaux, Wall Street Journal/Jim Metzner, Pulse of the Planet

Sarah Staples

Mark Robichaux
AIBS 2001 Media Award, Print Media

The 2001 AIBS Media Award for print media was given to Mark Robichaux, a Wall Street Journal reporter, for his article "Alien Invasion," which ran on September 27, 2000. The story highlights the Asian swamp eel, a nonnative species that threatens to colonize the southeastern United States, and delves into the effects of nonnative species on native flora and fauna.

"By spotlighting a single bizarre creature," the judges commented, "Mr. Robichaux writes a compelling mystery story that, while ably illustrating broad and complex ecological problems, never loses its narrative drive."

Robichaux writes first-page stories about regional issues for the Wall Street Journal. He is also writing a book about cable TV pioneer John Malone and the rise of the modern cable TV business in America. He was recently awarded a fellowship at the Media Studies Center in New York to work on the book. From 1991 to 1997, Robichaux covered the cable television industry for the Wall Street Journal, and from 1989 to 1991, he wrote about small business. Before coming to the Wall Street Journal, Robichaux reported on local city government, education, and tourism, among other things, for the Miami Herald. He has also been a reporter for the two rival newspapers in Columbia, Missouri, the Columbia Daily Tribune and the Columbia Missourian.

Jim Metzner

Jim Metzner
AIBS 2001 Media Award, Broadcast Media

The 2001 AIBS Media Award for broadcast media was presented to Jim Metzner, producer of Pulse of the Planet, a daily short-format series focusing on seasonal events in the realms of science, nature, and traditional culture. The winning audio pieces on the red-backed spider, the sound of seashells, and bird song, aired at various times throughout 2000.

The judges said that the pieces "presented rich and textured stories that, although brief and focusing on a single natural phenomenon, masterfully illustrate broader biological concepts."

Metzner has been the producer of Pulse of the Planet since 1990. Pulse of the Planet, which is presented by the DuPont Company and supported with major grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, is heard daily by nearly 1 million people on over 320 public and commercial stations in the United States and around the world.

Metzner also appears monthly as a commentator on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Saturday. Metzner's other nationally syndicated radio series include Sounds of Science (1985 to 1988) and You're Hearing America (1983 to 1984). He has produced dozens of features for public radio programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, The World, and The Savvy Traveler. For more information, visit the Web site www.pulseplanet.com.

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2000 Douglas Birch, Baltimore Sun

1999 Lynn Jensen, John McQuaid, Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune/Bari Scott, Jude Thilman, Baltimore Sun

Lynn JensenJohn McQuaidMark Schleifstein

Lynn Jensen, John McQuaid, Mark Schleifstein
AIBS 1999 Media Award, Print Media

The 1999 AIBS Media Award for print journalism went to Lynne Jensen, John McQuaid, and Mark Schleifstein of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, for "Home Wreckers: How the Formosan termite is devastating New Orleans." Also contributing significantly to this five-part special report, which ran on June 28-July 2, 1998, were photographers G. Andrew Boyd and Scott Threlkeld and graphic artists Angela Hill and Daniel Swenson.

The panel of judges for the awards, which included both scientists and science writers, praised the "clear, comprehensive reporting" in this series of articles. They wrote: "The series highlights the impact of a non-native species on a city's economic and social infrastructure. It provides an excellent example of how and why science matters in our everyday lives."

Jensen, a New Orleans native, is a general assignment reporter and feature writer on the city desk at The Times-Picayune, where she began her career as a newsroom receptionist and obituary writer. McQuaid is a Washington correspondent for The Times-Picayune, assigned to special projects. He has covered state and national politics, the environment, and Latin America for the paper since 1984 and was the lead writer on the series "Oceans of Trouble: Are the World's Fisheries Doomed?" which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for public service. Schleifstein, one of the authors of "Oceans of Trouble," has worked for The Times-Picayune since 1984. He has won numerous journalism awards, including one for environmental reporting at the Jackson, Mississippi, Clarion-Ledger.

Bari ScottJude Thilman

Bari Scott and Jude Thilman
AIBS 1999 Media Award, Broadcast Media

The 1999 AIBS Media Award for broadcast journalism was presented to Bari Scott and Jude Thilman, of Sound-Vision Productions, in Berkeley, California, for "The DNA Files: Unraveling the Mysteries of Genetics," a series of nine 1-hour documentaries that aired on over 150 radio stations in the National Public Radio Network beginning in November 1998.

The judges wrote: "The series presented a complex topic in an easy to understand and interesting way. It included the range of issues that informed citizens should understand about the new genetics."

Scott is the executive producer of "The DNA Files" and former executive producer of the award-winning "Communications Revolution," a national radio program that explored the beneficial impacts of new information-age technologies on everyday life and explained some of the social and ethical issues brought on by the computer age. She has 25 years of experience as an administrator and producer of cultural programs, features, and documentaries. Thilman is project director of "The DNA Files" and former producer and host of "Communications Revolution." She has been a journalist for 25 years, a producer for 15 years, and a theatrical producer and performer.

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1998 John Carey, Naomi Freundlich, Julia Flynn (with Neil Gross and Joan OC. Hamilton), Business Week

John CareyNaomi FreundlichJulia FlynnNeil GrossJoan OC. Hamilton

John Carey, Naomi Freundlich, Julia Flynn (with Neil Gross and Joan OC. Hamilton)
AIBS 1998 Media Award, Print Media

The 1998 AIBS Media Award in print journalism was given to John Carey, Naomi Freundlich, and Julia Flynn (with Neil Gross and Joan O'C Hamilton) for "The Biotech Century," which appeared in Business Week on March 10, 1997. The panel of judges, which included both scientists and science journalists, wrote that "the narrative combines a real sense of drama and rhythm with extensive reporting on what was clearly the biology story of the year. The authors reach beyond the technology and implications of cloning to dazzle the general reader with the full, explosive power of the revolution now unfolding in biological science. The fact that this tour de force of science journalism was accomplished on a short deadline is all the more impressive."

Carey, Business Week's senior correspondent in Washington, covers science and technology issues and policy. Freundlich, a former Business Week editor, writes about medical subjects. Flynn, London correspondent, covers Europe's scientific community and was on hand for the debut of Dolly, the cloned sheep whose creation brought the cloning issue to the fore. Gross is Business Week's science editor in New York. Hamilton, former San Francisco correspondent for Business Week, still contributes articles on biotechnology to the magazine.

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1997 Carl Zimmer, Discover

Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer
AIBS 1997 Media Award, Print Media

Carl Zimmer has been chosen by a panel of science journalists and scientists to receive the 1997 AIBS Media Award for his article "The Light at the Bottom of the Sea," which appeared in the November 1996 issue of Discover magazine.

Zimmer, a senior editor at Discover, graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1987 with honors in English. In 1989 he joined the staff of Discover, and he has since written about a wide range of subjects in the life and earth sciences. He received the Evert Clark Award for science journalism in 1994 and is currently at work on a book about macroevolution, which will be published in February 1998.

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1995 Rosie Mestel, Discover

Contact

Timothy M. Beardsley,
Editor-in-Chief, BioScience

Click to see a full listing of AIBS Awards.

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