EurekAlert!, the premier global science-news source, in cooperation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, after three years is returning its focus on China, identifying six journalists from the region to attend and cover the AAAS Annual Meeting in February. These young, promising reporters are the winners of the 2007 AAAS Fellowships for Science Reporters in Developing Regions, sponsored by Elsevier.
The award brings science writers to the 2007 AAAS Annual Meeting, where they can cover the latest research and mingle with their fellow science writers from around the world. The fellowship pays for travel, lodging and meals at the San Francisco meeting.
The fellowships were originally launched in 2004 with a seed grant from the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation. The 2004 fellowships program brought 10 reporters from China to the 2004 AAAS Meeting and reports by the winning fellowship recipients were disseminated by such diverse media outlets as Reuters Television of Beijing; Nanfang Zhoumo; China Youth Daily; and Xinhua News, among others.
This year, AAAS and EurekAlert! return their focus to China, deepening the organizations' engagement with Chinese media outlets. "Being able to support independent science reporting in China is incredibly meaningful," said Ginger Pinholster, director of AAAS's Office of Public Programs. "In their lifetimes, these promising young journalists will be in a position to tell the story of China's transformation."
Four fellows, all under 35 years of age, were chosen from a pool of reporters nominated by their editors at leading Chinese media organizations. William Chang of the US National Science Foundation's Beijing office served as the independent judge for the selection process. Additionally, EurekAlert! identified two honorary fellows in recognition of their excellence in science reporting.
Chang said that open and unbiased news reporting is on the rise in China, "but there is still great room for further improvement. I feel that all the applicants recognized this, and made their best efforts under the present constraints."
This year's Annual Meeting theme, "Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being," is "extremely important for China, which is undergoing overwhelming changes," Gong Yidong, a winner from China Features, said. Wu Chong, another winner from China Daily, said news of the fellowship was "an inspiration to my career" and that it came as a surprise "because I still considered myself too young a reporter to win any prestigious award like this."
The program is an important part of AAAS's mission to encourage international scientific dialogue and development, according to Vaughan Turekian, AAAS's chief international officer. "China is clearly an emerging important place for science, and one key piece of trying to develop a scientific infrastructure is making sure that science journalism is also strong," Turekian said.
Winners of the 2007 competition are as follows:
- Gong Yidong, China Features -- Yidong began science writing only two years ago, but has since developed a great love for it. Yidong hopes to become a well-established and well-informed science writer, with a focus on research and science policy.
- Jane Wu, China Daily -- Jane joined China Daily as a reporter in 2002 receiving a bachelor's degree in English. She currently writes both hard news and features for the newspaper while moonlighting as a freelancer for SciDev.Net and as an editor for Global Environment Review, an e-magazine about environmental protection published by US Environmental Defense China Program. Jane is one of the winners of the 2007 Good News Prize of the Association of Capital Women Reporters.
- Yanhong Wang, Xinhua News Agency -- Yanhong started her journalism career in 1995, and switched to science journalism in 1997. During 2000 to 2003, she served as the science correspondent in Xinhua's London bureau. After that, she worked in the agency's Beijing headquarters writing and editing foreign science news for its international news department. She recently moved to New York to start a new role working with the agency's U.N. bureau.
- Samuel Guo, Beijing Times -- Samuel has worked as a reporter for three years. He currently writes for the Beijing Times newspaper, which belongs to People's Daily, and shares one-third of the circulation in the Beijing newspaper market. Samuel describes his greatest challenge as a reporter as presenting detailed and obtuse scientific information to a broad audience.
In addition to the fellows identified through the judging process, two honorary fellows were chosen in recognition of their excellence and efforts to champion accurate, unbiased coverage in the world of science journalism. The 2007 honorary fellows are Ding Yimin, with the Xinhua News Agency, and Jia Hepeng, with China Daily and SciDev.Net.
Meeting coverage by each 2007 fellowship recipient will be published on EurekAlert!'s multi-language portal (www.eurekalert.org/language). More information about the 2007 fellowship winners is available at www.eurekalert.org/fellows.
Thanks to a seed grant from the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS, EurekAlert! currently plans to launch a Mandarin-language version of its site, EurekAlert! China, to support the growing independent science journalism movement in the region. EurekAlert! looks forward to collaborating with leading science-news sources and reporters in China who may be able to share expertise as the site is developed.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and serves some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, reaching 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The nonprofit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.