Media Award for Excellence in Science Journalism
2016 - Shankar Vedantam
Shankar Vedantam is the 2016 winner of the Media Award for Excellence in Science Journalism. Vedantam has a long, illustrious career focused on disseminating research on social and personality psychology. He currently is a science correspondent at National Public Radio, where he reports on the field’s work in the Hidden Brain podcast series (e.g., Peer pressure may not work the way we think it does). Prior to joining NPR, he was at the Washington Post where he wrote the popular Department of Human Behavior column (e.g., In face of tragedy, “whodunit” question often guides moral reasoning), and has occasionally penned pieces for Slate (e.g., Partisanship is the new racism). Vedantam often devotes his long- and short-form pieces to relaying one recent research article. Blissfully free of pithy soundbites, he delves into the studies’ aims, procedures, and results in refreshing detail, followed by suggestions for how readers and listeners might connect the findings to current events or their own personal cares and struggles. Vedantam’s commitment to behavioral science, prodigious reporting, and talent in bringing social and personality ideas to life make him the ideal candidate for the 2016 SPSP Media Award.
2015 - Ezra Klein
The 2015 Media Award for Excellence in Science Journalism goes to Ezra Klein. Klein’s rich and readable text, reach, and responsible reporting made him an ideal journalist to honor with this prize. Klein’s thought-provoking analysis of political events and current news incorporates social and personality psychology like few other journalists. Without resorting to blithely summarizing academic findings, Klein explores the far-ranging implications of social and personality findings as viewed through the lens of politics, race, class, and government. His representative and hugely influential vox.com articles include, “Unpopular Mandate” (2012) and “How Politics Makes Us Stupid,” (2014). Klein’s social media activities also promote SPSP findings to his three-quarters of a million followers, including top policy makers, advocates, and commentators. In connecting the field’s work to contemporary issues, Klein helps our science come alive.
2014 - Carol Tavris
The 2014 Media Achievement Award goes to Carol Tavris for her decades of work making scientific psychology interesting and accessible to the general public. The subtitle of one of her five books provides an apt description of her contributions: Using Psychological Science to Think Critically about Popular Psychology. Tavris has brought the best of our field to the attention of the public and has helped foster a healthy skepticism that the public sorely needs. In addition to her leading introductory psychology textbook and her four trade books (Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion; The Mismeasure of Woman; Psychobabble and Biobunk: Using Psychological Science to Think Critically About Popular Psychology; and Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)), Tavris has written articles and reviews for The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, Harper’s, Discover, Skeptic, Skeptical Inquirer, and Psychology Today.
2012 - Claudia Hammond
Claudia Hammond is the author of two excellent books (Emotional Rollercoster, Time Warped), she is a regular contributor to numerous top-flight newspapers and magazines (e.g., The Guardian, The Times, Psychologies), and she is probably best known for her work as presenter of All in the Mind and Mind Changers on BBC’s Radio 4, and Health Check on BBC’s World Service. She has won several awards and much acclaim for her coverage of humanitarian and science issues. Her books and radio programs vividly illustrate the relevance of personality and social psychology to contemporary issues. Several years ago, when asked about her aims (in an interview with Ian Florance in The Psychologist), she stated, "What I hope might happen in the future is that just as the field of economics is suddenly catching on to the decades of psychological research on decision-making, that other fields might start to do the same and to realize that there’s all this research out there which could be put into practice. Expert panels and commissions wouldn’t dream of not including an economist. I’d like to see a day when they all have a psychologist too.” The 2012 Media Achievement award recognizes her long-standing, high-quality work in bringing us closer to that day.
2011 - David Brooks
David Brooks has been selected to receive the 2011 Media Achievement Award in recognition of his sustained and distinguished record for disseminating knowledge in personality or social psychology to the general public through his insightful articles, columns, and books. David Brooks’ writings, which are read by an enormous audience, are well known for their thoughtfulness, depth and their ability to convey complexity with great clarity. By integrating research findings into his work, Brooks showcases the relevance of social and personality psychology to many of the issues that dominate current affairs. In doing so, his articles, columns, and books, continue to improve public understanding of research and enhance the field’s standing in the broader community.
2010 - Malcolm Gladwell
The Media Prize
2012 - Benjamin Le, Gary Lewandowski and Timothy Loving
Founded and administered by Benjamin Le, Gary Lewandowski, and Timothy Loving, Science of Relationships.com provides informative, engaging, and interesting coverage of important research on the topic of relationships. The general public voraciously consumes popular books and advice columns about relationships, but has had very little access to scientific perspectives on the topic. Science of Relationships.com fills that gap by featuring work published in the major journals of personality and social psychology, providing an important platform for researchers to speak directly to a general audience. This non-profit site haspublished several hundred articles about relationships and has a high level of Internet.
2011 - Jon Hanson and Michael McCann
Jon Hanson and Michael McCann have been selected to receive the 2011 Media Prize in recognition of their outstanding work in promoting personality and social psychology research to the general public via The Situationist blog. The Situationist blog provides a forum for a broad range of researchers in the social sciences to present and discuss empirical research that can inform widely held assumptions and intuitions. The blog provides a vehicle for the bloggers, many of whom are social and personality researchers, to broadcast their ideas well beyond academic audiences. By focusing on topics that are current and material that is accessible, the Situationist has become a widely read and trusted source of information about psychological research and highly effective means for promoting the significance of the science to the broader population.