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2018 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award Winners Named

Collage of 28 headshots
2018 AAAS Kavli award winners will receive their plaques in February at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. | Photos courtesy of the winners

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 ($5,000) and a Silver Award ($3,500) are presented in each of eight categories. New “Video” categories were established this year with stand-alone online videos now included in what had been “Television” categories.

Emily Anthes a freelancer for Bloomberg Businessweek won a Gold Award in the magazine category for her 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, S.C. 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 Feb. 15 ceremony held in conjunction with the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The full list of winners:


Large Newspaper—Circulation of 150,000 or more

Gold Award:

Mike Hixenbaugh
The Houston Chronicle
“Alive Inside” (series)
Dec. 3-6, 2017

Silver Award:

Marc Hasse
Hamburger Abendblatt (Hamburg, Germany)
Hamburgs nächste Elbphilharmonie?
(“Hamburg's next Elbphilharmonie?”)
Aug. 26, 2017

Small Newspaper—Circulation less than 150,000

Gold Award:

Kale Williams
The Oregonian (Portland)
“The loneliest polar bear” (series)
Oct. 16-20, 2017

Silver Award:

Tony Bartelme
The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.)
Sept. 17, 2017


Gold Award:

Emily Anthes
Bloomberg Businessweek
“What Do We Have to Do to Get the Male Pill?”
Aug. 7, 2017

Silver Award:

Nicola Twilley
The New Yorker
“The Exercise Pill”
Nov. 6, 2017



Spot News/Feature Reporting (20 minutes or less)

Gold Award:

Joss Fong, David Seekamp, Rubab Shakir and Laura Bult for Netflix
“Designer DNA, explained”
May 23, 2018

Silver Award:

Jennifer Green and Jules Bartl
BBC World Service
“How trees secretly talk to each other”
June 28, 2018

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”   
August 23, 2017

Silver Award:

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



Gold Award:

Cathy Edwards and Marnie Chesterton
BBC World Service
“CrowdScience: Is Carbon Dioxide Higher Than Ever?”
October 6, 2017

Silver Award:

Nicky Ouellet, Eric Whitney, Josh Burnham and Nora Saks
Montana Public Radio
“SubSurface: Resisting Montana’s Underwater Invaders” (series)
Nov. 20, Nov. 24, Dec. 4, Dec. 10 and Dec. 18, 2017



Gold Award:

Maggie Koerth-Baker
“The Complicated Legacy of a Panda Who Was Really Good at Sex”
Nov. 28, 2017

Silver Award:

Sarah Zhang
“China is Genetically Engineering Monkeys With Brain Disorders”
June 8, 2018



Gold Award

Jeanne Miller
Muse magazine
“Fighting to the End”
October 2017

Silver Award

Anna Rothschild
Science Magic Show Hooray” from The Washington Post
“Why do we have butts?”
May 31, 2018
“Why am I so sweaty?”

July 12, 2018


[Associated image: Professional Images Photography]



Earl Lane

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