Sheri Fink's article The Deadly Choices at Memorial is a great piece of investigative journalism that takes an in-depth look at how a lack of emergency preparedness led to unnecessary death at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. The article won the Pulitzer Prize and had an impact on the establishment of new guidelines for how emergencies should be handled.
At 13,000 words the article is very long, but very compelling. It raises important questions about what should be done in an emergency, but also makes you question what you would do if you were in the situation the Doctor's and Nurses at Memorial Medical Center found themselves in. The answers aren't as clear cut as you might think, even when you are sure of what is right and what is wrong.
The opportunity to meet and talk to a writer of her caliber is something I'm sure I wouldn't have if I wasn't back in school. She was wonderful to talk to because she really seemed interested in where I am in my career and what I hope to accomplish. As I was explaining myself she stopped me and told me that I was being too humble. She told me that I was an expert in science communication and I should own it.
I tend not to think of myself as an expert in anything, but with a Bachelor's in science writing, one year of professional experience, and now half of my Master's program under my belt I can say that I'm an expert in science communication. I hesitate to make a statement like that because it makes it seem as though I have nothing else to learn. I always feel like there is more that I can learn and ways that I can improve. Working with the sciences, I've found a willingness to learn to be a critical component to writing good articles.
Right now I'm more comfortable with "expert in training," but maybe once I finish grad school I'll be more comfortable owning the title of expert outright. Regardless I appreciated her encouragement, it was a good pick me up.