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Volume 90 Issue 11 | p. 5 | Editor's Page
Issue Date: March 12, 2012

This Week’s Issue

Department: Editor's Page
Keywords: Chemical & Engineering News, C&EN, American Chemical Society

Every week, we strive to deliver to our readers a unique package of information on the chemistry enterprise that is useful and interesting to them as chemical professionals. It’s what we do. It’s the C&EN mission, and we take it seriously as professional journalists.

Some issues, though, stand out because of the number and diversity of stories they contain. This week’s issue is one of those. It is a big issue—80 pages long. Because the cover story is on pharmaceutical outsourcing, there are a lot of ads, on the order of 50 or so, most of them from fine and custom chemicals companies and analytical instrumentation companies.

Some readers find the ads a bit annoying. They do break up the pages. I like them for two reasons: They are an integral part of the package of news and information C&EN delivers to its readers, and the revenue from them pays for the journalism we do at C&EN.

It’s the journalism that really stands out in this issue. The issue is packed with stories that convey the incredible breadth and complexity of the modern chemistry enterprise. The package of cover stories—three case studies of successful pharmaceutical outsourcing partnerships—illustrates how start-up drug companies and biotechnology firms are harnessing the chemical know-how of contract manufacturing organizations to bring drugs into clinical trials and to market.

Good journalism is good storytelling. And good storytelling often focuses on the people involved. Assistant Managing Editor Michael McCoy opens the case study on the Euthymics Bioscience drug amitifadine like this: “Fred J. Fleitz and Walter Piskorski both got new jobs in October 2010—Fleitz with a contract manufacturer of pharmaceutical chemicals and Piskorski with a start-up drug company.” Cambridge Major Laboratories’ Fleitz and Euthymics’ Piskorski led the teams that collaborated on manufacturing amitifadine, and McCoy tells the story of the effort through their eyes.

The Business, Government & Policy, and Science & Technology Departments carry 11 stories, and they range widely. Two iconic companies, Dow Chemical and DuPont, “are launching new seeds that promise oilseed crops with improved fatty acid profiles,” writes Senior Editor Melody Bomgardner. In another nod to the importance of people in the chemistry enterprise, Senior Correspondent Marc Reisch profiles Chemical Industry Medal winner David Weidman, chief executive officer of Celanese. Senior Editor Lisa Jarvis looks at how nonprofits are getting deeply involved in drug discovery, and freelancer Amruthanand Nair reports on a new plastics-oriented university in India.

It goes on from there. The Government & Policy stories discuss whether the European chemical regulation REACH can be a model for reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act in the U.S., the “spartan” budget request of the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board, and skepticism by industry and activists for President Barack Obama’s business tax reform proposal.

The broad scope of where chemists are contributing to our knowledge of nature is clear in the stories in the Science & Technology Department. The geochemistry of carbon, nanotechnology, and water’s role in drug discovery are the focus of the four stories in the department. The journalistic voices of two relatively young C&EN reporters, Associate Editors Carmen Drahl and Lauren Wolf, come through clearly in the story “Carbon Goes Deep,” a profile of the Carnegie Institution’s Deep Carbon Observatory and the scientists who work there trying to understand the complex cycle of carbon deep within the Earth.

And there’s more. C&EN is the “official organ” of the American Chemical Society, and we take that role just as seriously as the rest of our journalism. This week’s issue has a Comment on the dearth of women among ACS national award winners and what the society is doing to try to correct it, profiles of the 2011–12 Project SEED scholarship award winners, and a summary of actions that will be taken by the ACS Council at the upcoming national meeting in San Diego. Finally, of course, there’s Newscripts.

It is very rewarding to lead a team that can produce a magazine with all of that in it.

Thanks for reading.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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