Bay Area News Group science writer Lisa M. Krieger has won first place for beat reporting from the prestigious Association of Health Care Journalists for her extensive, insightful stories about COVID-19, from explaining the potential impact of the mysterious virus before it even landed on U.S. soil to helping readers understand the plight of long-haulers — patients whose symptoms never go away.
The contest recognizes the country’s best health reporting in print, broadcast and online media, with more than 450 entries in a year dominated by health coverage of the pandemic. Judges commented on Krieger’s ability to translate science into language that readers can use, honoring her “for a set of compelling pieces about the crisis, including how the virus infects people, why there were so few treatments and why scientists believed vaccines could be successful.”
“Lisa Krieger’s coverage of the pandemic over the past year has been really extraordinary, a real service to Bay Area readers and an example of the importance of local news in keeping the public informed, especially in a time of crisis,” said Frank Pine, executive editor of the Bay Area News Group and Southern California News Group. “Lisa is a thoughtful, thorough reporter with vast subject matter expertise. We’re fortunate to have her on our team, and we’re honored by this recognition from the Association of Health Care Journalists.”
Judges highlighted Krieger’s first story about the virus in January 2020, and how prescient her lead paragraph turned out to be: “Imagine fencing in every Californian,” written months before the state went into lockdown. The judges also particularly lauded a story in April 2020 that helped experts raise the alarm about people who were infected but never got sick, and the danger they posed of unwittingly passing on the virus to others.
“Lisa Krieger recognized this story earlier than most and explained it clearly, drawing real patients into almost every piece,” the contest judges wrote.
The contest honored work in other categories from the investigative reporting outlet ProPublica, the Washington Post and Bloomberg News.
Krieger said she was especially honored that her work was recognized by her peers. She took top honors in the beat reporting category ahead of Alex Smith from Kansas City’s public radio station KCUR and Apoorva Mandavilli of The New York Times.
“Pandemic coverage has been the most rewarding work of my career,” said Krieger. “It’s been a privilege to help readers understand a tiny virus that has turned our lives upside down.”
Bay Area News Group science reporter wins prestigious award for COVID coverage