“I consider Sharon to be a quintessential figure of the Enlightenment,” Jon Meacham, former Newsweek editor, said in an email. “She has written brilliantly about everything that happens under the sun, and beyond, from the origins of human life to climate change, from the mysteries of the brain to the death of Diana.
In her 1997 cover story on Princess Diana, she took readers on a thrilling paparazzi car chase through the streets of Paris until the still of night at Balmoral Castle, where Prince Charles awoke his sons. to tell them that their mother – ‘the mother,’ Ms Begley wrote, ‘who took them to eat in burgers and visit homeless shelters when almost everyone in their life thought mainly of palaces and polo – was dead.
The beating of science allowed Ms Begley to explore all that appealed to her and, in her modest way, to show her wit. In a short article on whether women were more verbose than men, she concluded, “I could go on, but I wouldn’t want to validate the remaining stereotypes.”
In one of her many stories on climate change, she wrote that magazines were more likely to use the image of a cuddly polar bear than that of endangered insects, even though the insects disappeared. “Would dig a bigger hole in the web of life.” Newsweek ran this story with a polar bear on the cover.
When Richard L. Berke, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Stat, assembled a team in 2015 for what was then a start-up, he asked for the names of the country’s top science writers. Ms Begley, then at Reuters, was on virtually every list.
Once she got on board, “she brought instant credibility to our new news operation,” prompting other reporters to sign on, said Berke, former deputy editor of the New York Times. While at Stat, Ms. Begley broke new ground in the esoteric fields of genomics and genetics, but always in easy-to-read prose.
She wrote with moral clarity. In an article, she suggested that the lack of urgency in finding a cure for sickle cell disease was due to the fact that it mainly affected “the wrong people” – that is, black people. In another, she said that a “cabal” of researchers had thwarted progress in the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by “dogmatically” clinging to a theory of the disease while rejecting the approaches. alternatives.