Rick Weiss Wins 2005 Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Reporting

Weiss Wins 2005 Cohn Prize

Rick Weiss, a science and medical reporter for the Washington Post who has produced in-depth coverage of stem cell research and the accompanying debate, along with spot stories, features, and analytical pieces on a wide range of medical subjects, has been awarded the 2005 Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting.

The prize, for a body of work published or broadcast within the last five years, was created by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, an organization of journalists and scientists committed to improving the quality of science news reaching the public.

The $3,000 award will be presented to Weiss on Oct. 24, 2005, in Pittsburgh, PA, at an awards dinner held during the council’s 43rd annual New Horizons in Science briefing for reporters.

Weiss was recognized for his extraordinary coverage of the life sciences, from the lab bench to the halls of Congress. The judges cited his particularly distinguished reporting on genetics and molecular biology, following the science as well as the associated societal, political and ethical issues. And he continues to file daily copy for the Washington Post, with more than 100 bylines each year.

Weiss, 51, has been a reporter for the Post since 1993. Before coming to the Post, he covered biology and medicine for Science News for four years. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University, and he has worked as a medical technologist in hospital laboratories. He lives in Takoma Park, Md. with his wife, the writer Natalie Angier, and their nine-year-old daughter, Katherine.

This year’s entries were judged by Paul Raeburn, a New York City-based journalist and the New Horizons program director; CASW Vice-President Cristine Russell, a former Washington Post science writer, now freelancing from Connecticut; and Ben Patrusky, CASW’s executive director.

This is the sixth presentation of the Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting. The inaugural award went to Laurie Garrett of Newsday and Lawrence K. Altman of the New York Times. Subsequent recipients were Jon Palfreman, who has made more than 30 documentaries for public television; Daniel Q. Haney, the medical editor of the Associated Press; Shannon Brownlee, a widely published magazine and newspaper journalist; and Michelle Trudeau, a distinguished reporter for National Public Radio.

The award is named for veteran Washington Post medical writer Victor Cohn, who distinguished himself for the clarity, honesty and effectiveness of his reporting during a 50-year career. He was also a co-founder of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

Read Rick Weiss’s acceptance speech (pdf)