2004 Recipient: Large Newspaper

AAAS Science Journalism Awards

2004 RECIPIENT: Newspapers with a circulation of more than 100,000

Amy Ellis Nutt 
The Star-Ledger
“The New Plague”
10-13 December 2003

The print judging committee unanimously agreed that Amy Ellis Nutt did a remarkable job on a series about how killer germs are defeating antibiotics. Although trends in the resistance to antibiotics aren’t new, the committee was impressed by Nutt’s presentation of the scientific information and her analysis.

“Although the issue itself has gotten a lot of attention, this package as a whole really advanced the ball in terms of analysis,” said Jeffrey Brainard of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Michael Toner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was impressed by the “nice local elements” Nutt incorporated in her reporting.

“This is a difficult topic to wrap your mind around. It’s such a very important issue and something a paper usually doesn’t cover,” said Raja Mishra of the Boston Globe.

John Carey of BusinessWeek agreed with his colleagues that Nutt “did a lot of hard work.”

Amy Ellis Nutt is a features writer at The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., and is currently a fellow at the Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Prior to arriving at The Star-Ledger in November 1997, she wrote for Sports Illustrated magazine for nine years.

While at The Star-Ledger, Nutt was recognized for a four-part series on super germs, “The New Plague, How Killer Germs Have Defeated Our Last Antibiotic,” and won a first-place Front Page award for in-depth reporting from the Newswomen’s Club of New York. In 2003, a five-part series, “The Seekers,” won first-place for non-deadline writing from the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE), as well as the National Headliner Award for Science Writing from the Atlantic City Press Club.

Nutt attended Smith College, graduating with a degree in English and philosophy. She earned graduate degrees in philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and in journalism, with honors, from Columbia University. While pursuing her master’s degree at Columbia, Nutt won the Richard T. Baker award for magazine writing.

Overall, the judges were captivated by Nutt’s series.

Toner said it best when he remarked, “I found myself reading it and thinking I wish I’d done that.”