Washington, D.C.—The D.C. Science Writers Association (DCSWA) named a winner and two honorable mentions in the sixth annual DCSWA Newsbrief Award.
For the 2014 award, four science writers judged more than 70 entries, including print, online, audio and multimedia pieces. A video from Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) earned the top prize.
Most science writing awards go to complex, multipart stories, but those awards often fail to recognize one of the most challenging—and most common—tasks of the science writer: writing short. The DCSWA Newsbrief Award exists because short, accessible and accurate pieces make an enormous contribution to the public understanding of science.
The winners of the 2014 award are Matt Davenport and Elaine Seward for their video “Why Fruit Flies Could Make Your Beer Better” in C&EN, the news magazine of the American Chemical Society. “The winning video delivered what could have been a dry segment on yeast with flair and a fearless attitude with regard to puns,” said one judge.
Davenport, a reporter covering science, technology, and education, started at C&EN in June 2014 as an intern. After earning a Ph.D. in physics, he was “transformed into a writer” during the science communication program at University of California, Santa Cruz.
Seward has been a video producer at ACS for four years. She loves creating videos about the impact and importance of science. In her spare time, Seward enjoys trying new IPAs, presumably ones that have been impacted by fruit flies.
The judges also recognized two entries with honorable mentions. Beth Mole, the environment, chemistry and policy reporter for Science News, wrote “Kangaroo gut microbes make eco-friendly farts.” Mark Zastrow, a freelance science journalist, wrote, produced and narrated “The Pattern in Nature’s Networks” for NOVA PBS Online.
An award ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 28, during DCSWA’s annual Professional Development Day at the American Geophysical Union building in Washington, D.C. Davenport and Seward will be presented with a $500 prize and a crystal trophy. Mole and Zastrow will receive framed certificates.
DCSWA members were eligible to submit entries published between January 1 and December 31, 2014.
Past winners include Sam Kean (2009), for a ScienceNOW news story, Sarah Zielinski (2010), for a post on Smithsonian’s Surprising Science blog, Nadia Drake (2011), for a story in Science News, Lauren Wolf (2012), for a video for Chemical & Engineering News, and Meghan Rosen (2013), for a story in Science News.
More information about the award is available on the DCSWA website.
The D.C. Science Writers Association is an organization of more than 500 science reporters, editors, authors and public information officers based in the national capital area. For more information or to join, please visit www.dcswa.org. Details on how to enter the 2015 Newsbrief Award will appear on the DCSWA website by the end of the year.