Div. 46 (Media) recognized two popular, national writers at APA's 2002 Annual Convention in Chicago:
USA Today health and behavior reporter Marilyn Elias was given the first-ever News Media Recognition Award for her coverage of psychological issues.
Mystery writer Stephen White, PhD, won the Golden Psi Award for his best-selling novels that feature a psychologist/sleuth who grapples with ethical decisions.
The newly formed News Media Recognition Award was initiated by the division's News Media, Public Education and Public Policy Committee to recognize excellence in the reporting of psychological information and research in the nation's media.
"The news media has great influence in shaping public opinion and ultimately public policy," says Div. 46 President-elect Elizabeth Carll, PhD, who chairs the committee and helped establish the award. "Marilyn Elias has a long track record of writing thought-provoking stories on challenging topics concerning psychological and social issues. She tends to look at the issues in a complex way and still make them readable."
Notable examples of Elias's work include a cover story on the use of drugs for childhood and adolescent depression, and another on discrimination against minorities in schools' zero tolerance policies.
"As this is the first award for news reporting, we felt it would be most appropriate to recognize print media, specifically newspapers, as they are the oldest form of news media," Carll notes. In coming years, she adds, the division will recognize television, radio and other forms of news media.
The Golden Psi Award, which recognizes excellence in the fictional portrayal of mental health professionals, honored White's two most recent books, "The Program," which recounts how a psychologist helps a mother and daughter in witness protection, and "Warning Signs," which explores psychologist/patient confidentiality.
Because White was unable to accept the award at convention, friend and colleague Glenda Russell, PhD, accepted on his behalf.
Past winners of the Golden Psi Award, given by the division's Media Watch Committee, include episodes of the television series "The Sopranos," "Chicago Hope" and "Law and Order."
Both awards were presented at the Media Town Hall Meeting, a special plenary program held this year for members of the media and psychologists to discuss ways media and psychology can interact.