Newspaper, magazine and film journalists from the United States, Europe and Asia have been selected as Knight Science Journalism Fellows for 1998-99 at MIT. The journalists come from California, Arizona, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Washington, DC, as well as from Germany and India. They arrive at the Institute September 1.
The Fellows will spend nine months at the Institute in group and individual study of recent developments in technology and science, under the leadership of Boyce Rensberger, who succeeds Victor McElheny as director of the Knight Fellowships on July 1. The program is part of the Program on Science, Technology, and Society in the School of Humanities and Social Science. Principal sponsor of the program is the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami.
The new group, the 16th since the program's founding, brings the total of Fellows to 162 from the United States and 15 foreign countries--73 women and 89 men. Of the total, 46 have been citizens of other nations. An additional four have been US citizens working abroad. The largest group of Knight Fellows has come from newspapers.
The new Fellows are:
Kevin Coughlin, technology reporter for The Star-Ledger in Newark, NJ, a Newhouse newspaper. He supplements his coverage of electronic technologies with cable television reports.
Kerry Fehr-Snyder, 34, technology reporter for The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, a Pulliam newspaper. She recently covered the Iridium communications satellite project and writes a weekly column called "Digital Desert."
Venkatesh Hariharan, 29, freelance electronics reporter, Bombay, India. A former executive editor of Express Computer, he contributes to Upside magazine in California.
Andrew Lawler, 36, science policy reporter for Science magazine in Washington, DC, the weekly journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He covers the White House, Congress and federal agencies.
Robin Lloyd, 35, science writer for the Pasadena Star-News, California. Holder of a PhD in sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, she frequently covers science news at California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Daniel Pendick, 35, freelance writer, Milwaukee, WI. He is a former associate editor and currently a contributing editor to Earth magazine, and a frequent contributor to the New Scientist.
Bruce Shechter, 43, freelance writer, Altadena, CA. Holder of a 1978 PhD in physics from MIT, he recently completed a biography of the mathematician Paul Erdos, entitled My Brain is Open.
Claudia Wassmann, 38, television science journalist, Sueddeutscher Rundfunk, residing in Heidelberg, Germany. Holder of a doctorate in medicine from Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf, she recently completed a documentary on schizophrenia.
Choosing the Fellows was a selection committee consisting of Mr. Rensberger, Mr. McElheny, Professor of Biology Nancy Hopkins, 1986-87 Knight Fellow Robert Buderi, and 1991-92 Knight Fellow Shawna Vogel.
Mr. Rensberger is a former reporter for the Detroit Free Press and The New York Times, head writer for the 3-2-1 Contact! program of Children's Television Workshop, senior editor of Science 80 magazine, science editor of The Washington Post and first editor of Horizon, the paper's monthly learning section on science, mathematics and history. He is co-director of the Science Writing Fellowships at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole and author of Life Itself, published in 1997 by Oxford University Press.
Mr. McElheny, a former reporter at The Charlotte Observer, Science magazine, The Boston Globe and The New York Times, is retiring to devote full time to writing. Insisting on the Impossible, his biography of Edwin Land, inventor of instant photography, will be published this fall by Perseus Books.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 13, 1998.