Horgan finds reasons to be optimistic about science writing

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

In yet another sign of the much-discussed science writing renaissance which may or may not be upon us, Scientific American‘s John Horgan blogs that – despite the still-dire economics of reporting on health and science – the young folks entering the profession give him ample reason to be optimistic about the future.

The occasion? The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s science writing awards, for which he has often been a judge.

This year [Columbia staff] sent me more submissions, 35, than in any of the previous dozen years I’ve served as a judge. The admissions were also better than ever. And as I told the J-school grads last week when I handed out the awards, I’ve never said that before — or if I did, I was lying. Some of the submissions were so well-written and reported that it was hard to believe rookies produced them, not seasoned pros.

Horgan was particularly gratified to find that so many of the entries were in a critical vein, revealing the limits and consequences of technology rather than simply trumpeting the triumphs of science. Of this year’s three winners, AHCJ members likely will be most interested in Elliot Ross’ work on ghostwriting in the pharmaceutical industry, which was picked up in a condensed form by the Guardian.

Leave a Reply