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2020 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award Winners Named

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Thirty-nine journalists have been named the winners of the winners of the 2020 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards.

Six entries featuring notable explanatory and investigative reporting on the global COVID-19 pandemic are among the winners of the 2020 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards.

Ed Yong, a staff writer for The Atlantic, won for in-depth reporting on the likely course of the pandemic and the patchwork American response. A team of reporters for Kaiser Health News and the Associated Press won for an investigation of how ill-equipped state and local health programs had become when the pandemic hit. Sarah Kaplan of The Washington Post was honored for her sensitive look at how the novel coronavirus killed one of the early victims of the disease.

Other pandemic-related awards went to a video team for Vox, a podcast team for “Science Vs” from Gimlet Media, and a team from in Indonesia for an entry in the Children’s Science News category.

The team was the first winner from Indonesia since the awards contest went global in 2015. Geoffrey Kamadi, a freelancer based in Nairobi, was the first winner from Kenya for his piece on threats to the Tana River Basin ecosystem.

The awards, administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), recognize distinguished science reporting for a general audience. The program, endowed by The Kavli Foundation and open to journalists worldwide, is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020. There were entries from 54 countries this year.

Rob Stein and Jane Greenhalgh shared an award in the Audio category with NPR colleague Joe Neel for stories on a patient with sickle cell disease who received a new treatment using the CRISPR gene-editing tool. It is the third time Stein has won the award and the second time for Greenhalgh. Alex Kuffner of The Providence Journal won the award for a second time for his story on Rhode Island’s coastal erosion. Joss Fong of the Vox video team also won the award for a second time.

A Gold Award ($5,000) and a Silver Award ($3,500) are presented in each of eight categories. Independent panels of science journalists select the winners.

“These talented and diverse winners highlight the critical importance of informed journalism both on urgent issues of the day ― a global pandemic, the crisis of climate change ― and on efforts to understand nature at its most basic, from the complexity of the human immune system to the surprising behavior of slime molds,” said Sudip Parikh, CEO of AAAS and executive publisher of the Science family of journals.

 The winners will receive their awards in a virtual ceremony held in conjunction with the 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting in February. Read a full description of the winning entries here.

The full list of winners of the 2020 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards:

Science Reporting – Large Outlet
Gold Award:
Lauren Weber, Laura Ungar, Hannah Recht, Anna Maria Barry-Jester and Michelle R. Smith
Kaiser Health News and The Associated Press
“Hollowed-Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus”
July 1, 2020

Silver Award:
Sarah Kaplan
The Washington Post
“The Storm Inside”
April 12, 2020

Science Reporting – Small Outlet
Gold Award:
Geoffrey Kamadi
Science Africa (Kenya)
“Tana River Basin Under Threat”
Sept. 17, 2019

Silver Award:
Alex Kuffner
The Providence Journal
“Coastal Erosion: The smallest state and why it’s getting smaller”
Dec. 22, 2019

Science Reporting – In-Depth (More than 5,000 words)
Gold Award:
Ed Yong
The Atlantic
“How the Pandemic Will End”
March 25, 2020
“Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing”
April 29, 2020
“America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further”
May 20, 2020

Silver Award:
Chris Mooney, Steven Mufson, Juliet Eilperin, Salwan Georges, Simon Denyer, John Muyskens and Carolyn Van Houten
The Washington Post
2°C: Beyond the Limit (series)
“Extreme climate change has arrived in America”
Aug. 13, 2019
“Dangerous new hot zones are spreading around the world”
Sept. 11, 2019
“The climate chain reaction that threatens the heart of the Pacific”
Nov. 19, 2019

Gold Award:
Amy Maxmen
“Behind the front lines of the Ebola wars”
Sept. 11, 2019

Silver Award:
Maya L. Kapoor
High Country News
“The only catfish native to the Western U.S. is running out of water”
July 1, 2020

Spot News/Feature Reporting (20 minutes or less)
Gold Award:
Jes Burns
Oregon Public Broadcasting
“A Beautiful New Blue Makes Its Debut”
April 28, 2020

Silver Award:
Joss Fong, Áron Filkey and Joey Sendaydiego
“How Covid-19 can be more and less deadly than we knew”
June 4, 2020

In-Depth Reporting (more than 20 minutes)
Gold Award:
Bill Haney
Uncommon Productions for PBS Independent Lens
“Jim Allison: Breakthrough”
April 27, 2020

Silver Award:
Jacques Mitsch and Laurent Mizrahi
Hauteville Productions for ARTE (France)
“The Blob: A Genius Without a Brain”  
March 21, 2020

Gold Award:
Wendy Zukerman, Rose Rimler, Meryl Horn, Michelle Dang and Blythe Terrell
Science Vs (from Gimlet Media)
“Coronavirus: Will Chloroquine Save Us?”
March 26, 2020
“Coronavirus: Was It Made In a Lab?”
April 24, 2020
“Coronavirus: How Many Silent Spreaders Are There?”
May 1, 2020

Silver Award:
Rob Stein, Joe Neel and Jane Greenhalgh
Victoria Gray's Journey
December 25, 2019
Doctors Use CRISPR To Treat Patient With Genetic Disorder

July 29, 2019
A Year In, 1st Patient To Get Gene Editing For Sickle Cell Disease Is Thriving

June 23, 2020

Children’s Science News
Gold Award:
Tracy Vonder Brink
Click Magazine
“Sniffing for Scat”
April 2020

Silver Award:
Yunanto Utomo, Gregorius Jovinto, Bayu Adi Prakoso, Anggara Kusumaatmaja and
Haman Haman (Indonesia)
“Virion: A Tale of Coronavirus for Old School Comic Fans”
May 5, 2020
“Virion: A Tale of Coronavirus for Old School Comic Fans – Part 2”
June 15, 2020
“Virion: An Interactive Quest to Find Covid-19 Vaccine”
July 9, 2020



Earl Lane

Emily Hughes

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