Forgive me for tooting my own horn but this is such a great honor I had to post the news: Side Effects has been named a winner of the 2009 NASW Science in Society Awards. Here’s an excerpt from the official press release:
The winners of the 2009 Science in Society Journalism Awards, sponsored by the National Association of Science Writers, are: Alison Bass for her book Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial (Algonquin Books); Jason Felch and Maura Dolan for their Los Angeles Times series, “Genes as Evidence”; Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong for their Seattle Times series “Culture of Resistance”; and Pamela Ronald for her commentary “The New Organic,” which appeared on boston.com, the web site of the Boston Globe.
NASW established the Science in Society awards to provide recognition — without subsidy from any professional or commercial interest — for investigative or interpretive reporting about the sciences and their impact for good and bad. The awards are intended to encourage critical, probing work that would not receive an award from an interest group. Beginning with the first award in 1972, NASW has highlighted innovative reporting that goes well beyond the research findings and considers the associated ethical problems and social effects. The awards are especially prestigious because they are judged by accomplished peers. NASW currently awards prizes in four categories: books, science reporting, science reporting with a local or regional focus, and commentary or opinion.
* In Side Effects, Alison Bass, an investigative journalist who has covered medicine, science, and technology for The Boston Globe and other publications, tells the story of how pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline systematically misled physicians and consumers about the safety and efficacy of Paxil, a popular antidepressant. “It’s a very complicated issue, and the author conveyed this like a mystery story,” said one of the judges, noting that, “Her investigations led to changes in policy in many areas of public health, not only nationally but internationally.”
The four winners each will receive a cash prize of $2,500 at a reception on October 18, 2009 during NASW’s ScienceWriters2009 meeting and workshop, which this year will be in Austin, Texas.