Science Correspondent Jon Cohen Honored for Reports on Biomedicine

Jon Cohen, a contributing correspondent for AAAS’s journal Science, has been named winner of the 2012 Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting. The award is made in recognition of his exemplary coverage of a broad range of biomedical topics, but most notably his distinguished and persistent chronicling of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Jon Cohen
Jon Cohen

The Victor Cohn prize, awarded for a body of work published or broadcast within the last five years, is administered by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing Inc. (CASW), a not-for-profit organization of journalists and scientists committed to improving the quality of science news and information reaching the public.

Cohen will receive a $3000 check and a certificate on 27 October at ScienceWriters 2012, a joint meeting of CASW and the National Association of Science Writers held this year in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Cohn Prize judges lauded Cohen for his “exceptional resourcefulness, his unrelenting enterprise, his brilliant marshaling of facts and his superb story-telling skills,” in articles dealing with such diverse issues as chronic fatigue syndrome, the H5N1 avian influenza pandemic, primate medical research, vaccines and immunology, emerging infectious diseases, and biodefense.

They were particularly impressed by the in-depth packages of stories Cohen has published in Science in advance of the major international biennial HIV/AIDS meetings. In the most recent package, “The Many States of HIV in America,” Cohen described efforts underway to better understand and stem the spread of HIV in 10 cities across the United States.

“Jon’s reporting on the AIDS epidemic consistently breaks new ground,” Science News Editor Colin Norman wrote in a letter nominating Cohen. “Each package highlights Jon’s great strengths as a reporter: He gets into the field and talks to everybody, from top researchers and government officials to sex workers, injecting drug users, non-governmental groups, men who have sex with men, patients, law enforcement, and advocates. He is meticulous in his reporting and his writing is vivid and compelling.”

A correspondent with Science since 1990, Cohen also has written for The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, Outside, Slate, Technology Review, and many other media outlets. His books include Shots in the Dark, Coming to Term, and Almost Chimpanzee.

This year marks the 13th presentation of the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting. The award honors the late Washington Post medical writer and health columnist Victor Cohn, a co-founder in 1959 of CASW.

[Adapted from a CASW news release]

18 September 2012