Boodman received the award and its $1,000 prize for four stories in STAT:
- Accidental therapists: For insect detectives, the trickiest cases involve the bugs that aren’t really there
- Hog jowls and clementines: A bid to awaken cancer patients’ ruined sense of taste
- In the dark of night, hunt for a deadly bug
- Kratom ban will hinder studies of the plant for treating pain or addiction, researchers say
The panel of judges cited Boodman for his highly original topics, his meticulous and deep reporting, his ability to use vivid characters to tell memorable stories, his “lovely” writing and “fun” details, and his knack for slipping complicated science and medical ideas into compelling narratives that painlessly educate readers while captivating and entertaining them. “A writer like Boodman can potentially broaden the audience for, and the appeal of, science writing,” said one judge.
The judges and the screeners also said that quality and number of submissions for the 2017 award were extraordinarily high, with 48 submissions and 12 finalists—and that selecting one winner from among the top finalists was particularly challenging.
Originally from Montréal, Boodman graduated from Yale in 2015, where he studied journalism and the history of science. While still a student, Boodman wrote for the Montreal Gazette, the Montreal Review of Books and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He joined STAT in August 2015, and reports that he likes playing traditional Québécois fiddle music and looking at insects.
The winner will be honored by the Evert Clark Fund and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) during the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists. The conference, organized by CASW and the National Association of Science Writers in partnership with the World Federation of Science Journalists, will be held in San Francisco from October 25 to October 30.
Judges for the 2017 award were:
- Warren Leary, retired science correspondent for the New York Times, former science writer for the Associated Press, and former CASW board member
- Laura Helmuth, health, science, and environment editor at the Washington Post
- Susan Milius, life sciences writer at Science News
- Richard Harris, science correspondent at National Public Radio, CASW treasurer, and author of the new book, Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions
- Dr. Gary B. Ellis, research review specialist at the Congressional Research Service, former director of the Office for Protection from Research Risks at the National Institutes of Health, and former AAAS Mass Media Fellow
The Clark/Payne Award was created to encourage young science writers by recognizing outstanding reporting in all fields of science. It is given each year in honor of journalist Ev Clark, who offered friendship and advice to a generation of young reporters. The annual judging is organized by John Carey, former long-time senior correspondent for Business Week and colleague of Seth Payne, who raised money for the award in memory of Ev Clark. CASW now administers the fund and manages the submission process and presentation of the award. This is the 29th year of the award.
Entrants must be age 30 or younger. The deadline for submissions is the end of June each year. For more information, please see the Evert Clark page.