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Celebrating 100 years of impartial journalism

Growing up as the daughter of a physicist and businessman, I was exposed to Science News at a young age. I enjoyed reading the latest discoveries in astronomy, medicine, and neuroscience, as I explored pages embroidered with photographs of stars, animals, and the natural world.

Seven years ago, when I began my tenure as editor of Science News, I was faced with an amazing task. I was told to sell the magazine, close it, or support it. I thought about the options and realized that there was only one option: I had to turn things around to make sure Science News survived. I couldn’t imagine that this magazine no longer existed.

I believe that journalism is a cornerstone of our democracy and that the science-literate public is crucial to our future. When I started, we were also one of the few newsrooms left in the United States with science journalists. Since I took over, we have secured a bright future for Science News by making a capital investment to modernize our digital writing and take the journal to high schools across the country. Today we are in more than 5,000 high schools nationwide, offering high quality content for students and teachers.

Since its founding in 1921 as the Science News Bulletin (first issue below), Science News has been covering timely and controversial scientific topics to democratize access to knowledge. It was the vision of the newspaper mogul E.W. Scripps and zoologist W.E. Ritter for building a scientifically literate society through impartial evidence-based science journalism. In 1925, our reporters covered extensively the Scopes Trial, which debated whether evolution should be taught in schools. In 1922, we covered news similar to the current ones: testing of new pneumonia vaccines.

We are now facing a deadly pandemic. Unbridled misinformation about the potential for vaccinations, masking, and social distancing efforts persists. It is noteworthy that Science News survived the Great Depression because it is precisely in these times of crisis where society is most dependent on science. Our newsroom is working 24 hours a day to keep the public informed with objective and accurate scientific news and public health guidance.

As we celebrate our centenary, I want to thank our editor-in-chief, Nancy Shute, for her visionary leadership, and our editorial staff of talented journalists for their phenomenal reporting. Thanks to our readers, subscribers and members for following us. Many of you have become donors, giving more than anything. Thank you for your support. When I got on board, he bet on my leadership. Thanks for risking me. We look forward to continuing to report on scientific discoveries over the next 100 years.

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