The Sharon Begley Fund
The Sharon Begley Science Reporting Award
Sharon Begley (1956-2021) was a science journalist of unflinching dedication, skill, moral clarity, and commitment to mentoring. Over more than four decades, her coverage of science for national news outlets was renowned for its authoritative insight and depth, accuracy, scientific rigor, lyrical prose, and myth-busting impact.
The Sharon Begley Science Reporting Award will provide lasting recognition of this remarkable journalist. And at a time when accurate, incisive, responsible science journalism is more essential than ever, this significant award will provide urgently needed recognition and support for reporting that embodies the high standards that Sharon epitomized.
The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing will bestow the Sharon Begley Award in the form of a $20,000 grant to enable a mid-career science journalist to complete a major reporting project they would otherwise be unable to undertake. We aim to create a new and significant award in this under-recognized and under-resourced field of journalism, one that will inspire and support high standards of excellence in coverage of science, technology, medicine, and the environment.
Endowing the Sharon Begley Award
The award will be established and endowed through the efforts and personal generosity of Edward (Ned) Groth, Sharon’s husband, and other donors, with the support and assistance of CASW’s board and staff. Groth is a scientist, author, and food safety and environmental health consultant who was the longtime director of public service projects for Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. Our goal is to create a $1 million endowment, sufficient to support the annual cash grant, ceremony, program administration, and an annual submission and judging process. We want to launch the Sharon Begley Award as soon as funding allows it.
Sharon Begley, a highly respected journalist and the 2017 winner of CASW’s Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting, was widely regarded as the best in her profession by colleagues and subjects alike. When her career was cut short by illness in January 2021, Sharon was a senior science writer at STAT, the Boston Globe’s health and medicine news site, covering genetics, cancer, neuroscience, and other fields of basic biomedical research. She was previously the senior health and science correspondent at Reuters, the science columnist at the Wall Street Journal, and the long-time science editor at Newsweek. Among her many awards were an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina, the Public Understanding of Science Award from the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and the AAAS-Kavli Award for (Online) Science Journalism.
(Pictured above: Left, Sharon Begley with the Dalai Lama, host of a conference for her book, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves; center, Begley in 2011; right, Begley poses with a sedated wolf for a photo for a Newsweek story in 1991. Photos courtesy Ned Groth)