Celebrating 100 years of unbiased journalism

Growing up as the daughter of a physicist and an entrepreneur, I was exposed to Science News at a young age. I enjoyed reading the latest discoveries in astronomy, medicine and neuroscience, while delving through pages lined with photographs of the stars, animals and natural world.

Seven years ago, when I began my tenure as the publisher of Science News, I was faced with a staggering task. I was told to either sell the magazine, shut it down or make it sustainable. I mulled the options and realized there was only one choice: I had to turn things around to ensure that Science News would survive. I just could not imagine this magazine no longer existing.

I believe that journalism is a cornerstone of our democracy, and a 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 beat journalists. Since I have taken the helm, we have ensured a bright future for Science News by making a capital investment in modernizing our digital newsroom and bringing the magazine into high schools across the country. Today, we are in over 5,000 high schools nationwide, providing high-quality content for students and teachers.

Since its founding in 1921 as 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 newspaper magnate E.W. Scripps and zoologist W.E. Ritter to build a scientifically literate society through evidence-based, unbiased science journalism. In 1925, our reporters extensively covered the Scopes Trial, which debated whether evolution should be taught in schools. In 1922, we covered news much like today’s: testing of new pneumonia vaccines.

We are now dealing with a deadly pandemic. Rampant misinformation about the potential of vaccinations, masking and social distancing efforts persist. It is notable that Science News survived the Great Depression because it is precisely in these moments of crisis that society most depends on science. Our newsroom is working around the clock to keep the public informed with objective, accurate scientific news and public health guidance.

As we celebrate our centennial, I want to thank our editor in chief, Nancy Shute, for her visionary leadership and our newsroom of talented journalists for their phenomenal reporting. Thank you to our readers, subscribers and members for sticking with us. Many of you have become donors, giving above and beyond — I am grateful to you for your support. When I first came on board, you made a bet on my leadership. Thank you for taking a chance on me. We look forward to our continued reporting of scientific discoveries for the next 100 years!

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Maya Ajmera is the President and CEO of Society for Science and Publisher of its award-winning magazine, Science News. Maya holds an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College and a M.P.P. from The Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.