New York Times reporter Amy Harmon has received a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting, awarded for “her striking examination of the dilemmas and ethical issues that accompany DNA testing, using human stories to sharpen her reports.” Ms. Harmon’s on-going series “The DNA Age” explores the impact of genetic technology in every day life. In 2007, she authored ten articles in this series, several of which focus on genetically-related disabilities.
Among the articles is “Facing Life with a Lethal Gene” detailing the experience of Katharine Moser, an occupational therapist who has tested positive for the Huntington Disease gene and who has yet to develop symptoms. Another article, “Cancer Free at 33, but Weighing a Mastectomy” follows the struggle of Deborah Lindner, a woman who has tested positive for the gene which leaves her at high risk for BRCA-related breast and ovarian cancer. Ms. Lindner decides to have a double mastectomy to avoid breast cancer.
Two related articles in the series, “Prenatal Test Puts Down Syndrome in Hard Focus” and its follow-up, “Genetic Testing + Abortion = ???” brought national attention to the complex subjects of prenatal testing, abortion, Down syndrome, parental advocacy, and the ethical dilemma of many liberals who are both pro-choice and pro-disability rights.
For a full description of this Pulitzer Prize category, Ms. Harmon’s autobiography, and all of the prize-winning articles, see the Pulitzer website. All of Ms. Harmon’s DNA Age articles can be viewed here.
Congratulations Amy! Posting thanks to blog reader Nancy Iannone.