The judges praised Zimmer's entry as an example of sustained excellence in reporting on a range of science topics. His story about evolution at work on organisms living in and around New York Cityfrom white-footed mice in an urban park to native ants to fish in the Hudson Riverwas a "surprising, intriguing, and amusing look at science in unexpected places," said contest judge Laura Helmuth, science editor for the online magazine Slate. Robert Lee Hotz, a science writer for The Wall Street Journal, said Zimmer's reporting on urban evolution and on the microbes that exist on and in the human body "makes us see the world with new eyes." At the same time, Hotz added, Zimmer "does not shy from exposing the shortcomings and frauds of science, as retractions and examples of misconduct become more numerous."
SMALL NEWSPAPER: Circulation less than 100,000
The judges declined to give an award in the small newspaper category this year.
Michelle Nijhuis, freelance writer
Published in Smithsonian magazine
"Crisis in the Caves"
Nijhuis donned a protective suit and went underground to observe both bats and biologists as she reported on white-nose syndrome, a fast-moving fungal disease that has killed more than a million cave-dwelling bats in the northeastern United States and is threatening to spread across the continent. The judges noted the scope of the Nijhuis story, which provided an in-depth look at an issue that has been emerging since 2007 when the disease was first discovered in bats behaving oddly in upstate New York. Andrew Revkin, a senior fellow at Pace University and Dot Earth blogger for The New York Times, called the story a "deep,
|Contact: Earl Lane|
American Association for the Advancement of Science