WHOI Waypoints: WHOI Announces First Ocean Journalism Awards


A prize-winning science author and a BBC documentary producer are the winners of the first major journalism awards to recognize outstanding achievement in communicating ocean science to the public. Established with private funding in 2002, the WHOI Awards for Excellence in Ocean Science Journalism recognize popular science communications that “enhance public awareness of, interest in, and understanding of the ocean sciences in a clear, accurate, and original way.” More than 50 entries were submitted for the first two awards, which include cash prizes and invitations to deliver lectures to the WHOI community.

The award for print journalism will be presented later this year to author Robert Kunzig for Mapping the Deep: The Extraordinary Story of Ocean Science, a nonfiction account of the 20th century discoveries that helped shape our modern understanding of the seafloor. Kunzig, former executive editor of Discover magazine, is now a contributing editor and freelance writer. His magazine articles have garnered awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union. In 2001, Mapping the Deep was awarded the Aventis Prize for Science Books published in the United Kingdom.

Alastair Fothergill, an executive producer at the BBC Natural History Unit, will receive the broadcast journalism award. Fothergill and colleagues are being recognized for “Ocean World,” the first episode of the eight-hour Blue Planet: Seas of Life series co-produced by the BBC and The Discovery Channel. Appointed in 1992 at age 32 to be the youngest-ever head of the BBC’s Natural History Unit, Fothergill previously won an award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for The Really Wild Show. He also broke television ground with Reefwatch, a live broadcast from under the sea.