Aired: April 16, 2016

Pulitzer100–Stories in Science

PulitzerCentennialLockupBelow_BlackThis program is funded in part by the Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Initiative, which seeks to focus on journalism and the humanities, to imagine their future and to inspire new generations to consider the values represented by Pulitzer Prize-winning work. For their generous support for the Campfires Initiative, we thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Pulitzer Prize Board, and Columbia University.

  • Fixing Flint (4 min.)

    With: Marc Edwards (Virginia Tech)

    The professor who helped uncover the water crises in Flint, Michigan and has now been charged with fixing it.

  • Toms River (24 min.)

    With: Dan Fagin (Pulitzer Prize Winner)

    Toms River was just like any other small town in America—except that children were dying at very high rates. For Earth Day, With Good Reason speaks with Pulitzer Prize winning writer Dan Fagin, whose 2013 book, Tom’s River: A Story of Science and Salvation tells the story of how that small town fought against the pollution—and the polluters—killing their children. Fagin also discusses his current project, a book that follows the plight of the monarch butterfly as it tries to survive the very real changes that humans have brought to this planet.

  • The Disappearing Snot Otter (12 min.)

    With: Wally Smith (UVA-Wise)

    The distinctive appearance of the largest salamander in North America has inspired some colorful nicknames: hellbenders, big log of snot, ol’ lasagna sides, and snot otter. Biologist Wally Smith is trying to better understand where these creatures live and why they’re disappearing.

  • A Link to Thyroid Disorders (12 min.)

    With: Maddison Couch (UVA-Wise)

    Growing up in Appalachia, Maddison Couch noticed an unusual number of thyroid disorders in her community. As a college student, she discovered new information suggesting that these disorders weren’t inherited—they’re caused by coal.

  • The Snot Otter (aka “Hellbender”)

    Nearly twice as old as the tyrannosaurus rex, the Hellbender, aka “Snot Otter” still lurks beneath the surface in some of Virginia’s most pristine rivers and streams. But it’s disappearing before our eyes.

  • The Last Dragons (Hellbenders)

    An intimate glimpse at North America’s Eastern Hellbender, an ancient salamander that lives as much in myth as in reality…. and in many waters, myths are all that remain of these sentinel stream-dwellers.


1 Comment on “Pulitzer100–Stories in Science”

  1. Embo

    I know Mark Edwards is a local / Virginia celebrity and now hero, but confining your VERY brief Flint lead contamination story just to him does a disservice to your listeners. Although there is plenty of blame to go around for what happened to Flint’s drinking water, a recent (March 2016) investigation by an expert panel (picked by Gov. Snyder, no less) to study the crisis “held the state of Michigan chiefly responsible and called the state’s attempts to spread the blame ‘inappropriate.’”

    It would also have been helpful to add information about the EPA’s seriously limited authority to intervene in state management of utility systems, rather than allowing Edwards’ blanket condemnation of them go unchallenged.

    Finally, Edwards’ alarmist sentiments about lead poisoning in other water systems across the country, while worrisome, were also misleading without more context. Let us please recall that lead was NOT present in the water that flowed through the city’s pipes; rather, it LEACHED from those old city pipes because the treatment plant did not treat the water properly beforehand to AVOID that leaching.

    Your 4-minute story on Flint was so one-sided, simplistic, and short on context that anyone listening would come away with a completely inaccurate picture of what really occurred. And surely you would agree that that is shoddy journalism.

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