Spotlight on Metcalf Alum
Christine Dell’Amore – 2007 Fellow
Christine Dell ‘Amore has reported on environmental issues from six continents around the world, including Antarctica. A 2007 alumna of Metcalf Institute’s Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists, Dell’Amore fondly recalls trawling for fish aboard a research vessel in Narragansett Bay, watching the birth of a mosquito, and pondering life’s career challenges with fellow journalists while bumping around in a van en route to the next Metcalf field exercise.
“At the time I was just launching an environmental health blog and working at the health desk of United Press International (UPI),” said Dell’Amore. “I had a selfish desire to get outside and see scientists at work.
“We had to actually do our own analysis of a scientific problem, do an experiment ourselves, and present it to other journalists with scientists in the room,” she added. “It helped me to better understand the scientific process and the steps scientists have to take to reach their conclusions.”
Dell’Amore describes Metcalf’s fellowship program as “reenergizing” and helpful, especially her interactions with fellow journalists and researchers. Her exchange of ideas with fellow alum Chelsea Wald during the workshop led to the co-creation of the Science Newsbrief Award, and annual recognition presented by the DC Science Writers Association that honors journalists who author exceptional short science stories.
Dell’Amore says she’s most proud of a series she spearheaded at National Geographic, Last of the Last, that forced her readers to ponder two evocative questions: how do we decide which species to save, and which criteria should be used to make that decision? Should it be driven by the popularity of a species, or the “cuteness factor” embodied by animals such as Pandas, for example? Dell’Amore says the answer to that question has huge implications, including how dollars are allocated.
“There are currently 20,000 species at risk of extinction and there’s no way you can save all of them,” said Dell’Amore. “I’m proud of the fact that the series made such an impression on people.”
In addition to writing for National Geographic and UPI, Dell’Amore has worked at the Smithsonian magazine and written for various publications, including the Washington Post. She is the author of “South Pole: The British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913,” a book about explorer Robert Scott’s 1912 trek to the South Pole.