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AAAS announces winners of 2007 AAAS Science Journalism Awards

t compelling series, ambitious, important and surprising in many aspects. The writing was first-rate, the enterprise impressive.

Small Newspaper Circulation less than 100,000
Jennifer Frazer
Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
Getting to the Bottom of Mysterious Elk Deaths
Nov. 26, 2006 and Dec. 3, 2006

A rash of mysterious elk deaths in Wyoming in 2004 left scientists and game wardens wondering what had happened. Frazer described the steps by which researchers determined that a poisonous lichen was the likely cause. In a two-part series, Frazer also described efforts to save the remaining elk and help the species recover. Calling her series an example of superb local science writing, Robert Lee Hotz of The Wall Street Journal said Frazer opens a window into the mysteries of field epidemiology, turning a story of doomed elk into a page-turner of a lethal botany and the consequences of ecology. Guy Gugliotta, a freelance science writer formerly with The Washington Post, said the series was a compelling narrative detective story that shows how science can be put at the service of a community and why it matters.

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
New York
How Not to Talk to Your Kids
Feb. 19, 2007

According to a Columbia University survey, 85 percent of American parents think it is important to tell their children that they are smart, helping to ensure that they do not sell their talents short. But in a cover story in New York magazine, Bronson and Merryman described a growing body of research which suggests that giving kids the label smart does not prevent them from underperforming. Rather, it may actually be a cause of their underperformance. The story noted that the impulse to offer praise has become a sort of panacea for the anxieties of modern parenting. Roylance called the story a terrifically written exploration of a topic of interest to any parent.

Contact: Earl Lane
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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