Maryn McKenna Awarded the 2023 Victor Cohn Prize for Medical Science Reporting

Maryn McKenna, 2023 Victor Cohn Prize

The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing has selected Maryn McKenna, a senior writer at WIRED and award-winning journalist and author, to receive the 2023 Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting.

McKenna is being honored for her reporting and writing on infectious diseases and global health and was selected from an extraordinarily competitive field of nominees. The judges praised her reporting for its authority, depth of sourcing, and beautiful writing. One judge said that stories about these complex topics could easily sound like term papers, but McKenna’s stories don’t. They focus on compelling characters—scientists, doctors, patients—in vivid settings. The writing is clear and to the point.

McKenna, a senior fellow of the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University, was honored for work published in The Atlantic, Scientific American, Smithsonian, and The New Republic, as well as WIRED.

She has authored several books on infectious diseases and global health, including Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA and Plague: The Story of a Killer Disease, and has been published in a number of notable publications.

Beginning this year, the Victor Cohn Prize is proudly sponsored by Michelson Philanthropies, reaffirming our commitment to advancing science journalism. “Michelson Philanthropies supports excellence in journalism, and we are pleased to partner with the Council for the Advancement of Science as they continue to recognize the importance of science writers,” said Geoffrey Baum, executive director of Michelson Philanthropies. “Journalists play a critical role in connecting the scientific community with the general public by presenting complex material clearly, accurately, and without bias. Sharing breakthrough discoveries and holding institutions accountable is essential to the vitality of scientific research. We thank the judges and congratulate Maryn McKenna for her exceptional work.”

The Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting is awarded annually by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing for a body of work published or broadcast within the last five years. McKenna will receive a $5,000 cash award and be recognized during an October 7 awards ceremony at Science Writers 2023 a joint meeting of CASW and the National Association of Science Writers to be held in Colorado this fall. She will discuss one of her prizewinning stories during a “Story Behind the Story” session on October 8.

Learn more about Maryn McKenna and her work:

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