2007 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award Winner Announced

2007 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award Winner Announced

May 9, 2007

(PHILADELPHIA – May 10, 2007) – The winner of the 2007 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award is Peter Aldhous, San Francisco bureau chief for New Scientist magazine. He won for a set of articles that investigated important questions in key areas of current biomedical research, including stem cell and bioterror research. For his work, Aldhous will receive a certificate of award and cash prize of $5,000.

The judges praised Aldhous for his meticulous reporting, particularly on two major issues in biomedical research. He conducted an insightful exploration of the limitations of stem cell research, and pointed out the hype put forth by many researchers in the field. His original reporting on dual-use bioterror research made use of public databases to reveal little-known projects that pose potential risks to the public at large. He also reported on an vital but poorly understood aspect of early HIV infection.

Aldhous’s winning articles have been made freely available on the New Scientist web site:

• “Miracle Postponed” (stem cell research), March 11, 2006: http://www.newscientist.com/channel/sex/mg18925421. 600-stem-cells-miracle-postponed.html • “Friend or Foe?” (bioterror research), October 14, 2006: http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/mg19225735. 500-bioterror-special-friend-or-foe.html • “HIV Delivers a Punch to the Guts,” December 16, 2006: www.newscientist.com/channel/health/mg19225824. 300-hiv-delivers-a-punch-to-the-guts.html

Peter Aldhous got his start in journalism in 1989 as a reporter for Nature, shortly after earning a Ph.D. in animal behavior. His subsequent roles included European correspondent for Science and news editor with New Scientist. He spent five years as chief news and features editor with Nature, where he oversaw the launch of the news@nature.com web site. Aldhous’s main interests lie in the biological and social sciences, from genetics and stem cells to the psychology of addiction and crime. He is also a roving correspondent, having reported from countries including Cameroon, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and Vietnam. His articles have won awards from the Association of British Science Writers, the UK Guild of Health Writers, and the Association of Health Care Journalists. Peter taught courses in science news writing for the Nature Publishing Group and is a part-time lecturer in the University of California at Santa Cruz science writing program.

The six members of the 2007 judging committee were: Deborah Blum (co-chair), professor of journalism, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a 1992 Pulitzer Prize winner; Joe Palca (co-chair), senior science correspondent for National Public Radio; Sue Goetinck Ambrose, science writer for The Dallas Morning News and a 2004 winner of the award; Robin Marantz Henig, freelance journalist and contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine; Jon Palfreman, independent documentary film producer; and Nancy Shute, senior writer for U.S. News & World Report.

The Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award honors annually the most insightful and enterprising reporting on the basic biomedical sciences in print or broadcast journalism. Established in 2004, the prize has established itself as a major award in professional journalism. Submissions for the contest were very competitive this year, as in years past, with strong entries received from top journalists reporting for major print and broadcast outlets across the country.

The award acknowledges biomedical research as a key force for change in the world today, with important economic and social implications for the future. Intelligent, perceptive journalism written in broadly accessible language plays a primary role in communicating progress in biomedicine to the public, which both supports and is the beneficiary of basic biomedical research. For these reasons, journalistic excellence in this area is of the highest importance and deserves to be honored.

Science journalists working in all media are invited to submit their work for consideration for the 2008 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award. Up to five stories or broadcast reports from an individual journalist or team of journalists may be submitted as an entry. These may be selections from a series or a collection of stories representative of the entrant’s coverage of the basic biomedical sciences. Books are not eligible. The work must have been published or broadcast in English between January 1 and December 31, 2007. The deadline for submissions is February 29, 2008.

For more information about the award, please visit: http://www.wistar.org/news_info/award_Page.html

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research, with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. Discoveries at Wistar have led to the creation of the rubella vaccine that eradicated the disease in the U.S., rabies vaccines used worldwide, and a new rotavirus vaccine approved in 2006. Wistar scientists have also identified many cancer genes and developed monoclonal antibodies and other important research tools. Today, Wistar is home to eminent melanoma researchers and pioneering scientists working on experimental vaccines against influenza, HIV, and other diseases threatening global health. The Institute works actively to transfer its inventions to the commercial sector to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures. On the web at www.wistar.org.

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