The D.C. Science Writers Association (DCSWA) has recognized two ScienceNOWs for its inaugural Newsbrief Award. The award honors articles of 500 words or less for the contribution that these short pieces make to the public understanding of science.
The winner of this year's award is Sam Kean for his ScienceNOW "Mother's Cancer Can Infect Her Fetus," published on 13 October 2009. The story describes a rare condition in which cancer evades the immune system to pass from mother to fetus. DCSWA judges praised Kean for "reporting on a little-known topic with broad implications," according to a press release, and for using "compelling storytelling to convey an interesting medical story."
An even shorter story—Helen Fields's "Monkeys Groove to Monkey Music"—received an honorable mention. The article—a ScienceShot published on 2 September 2009—describes how cottontop tamarins respond to the emotions of music made from monkey sounds. "I found myself smiling every time I read this," said one judge.
The awards will be presented this Saturday in Washington, D.C.