Recorded: 30 May 2003
It's difficult for a reporter to interview him. You don't want to waste his time or ask a stupid question. And he has those ice-cold blue eyes that stare at you in a sometimes unsettling way. Reporters try to ask the questions that will elicit the most information. They must tread a line between nudging people to disclose things but not pushing them so far that they refuse to talk. You tread that line by gauging people's body language, but Jim's is often hard to read. Still, he always makes for a good interview because he always has something interesting to say. And he knows how to say things that will interest the press. Sometimes a little more than he wants to do, I think.
He feels strongly about certain issues so if you're writing about some matter which he thinks the press has generally misunderstood, he will tend to give you the sharp side of his tongue. He'll just make it plain that if you're so stupid as to pursue an opposite point of view he's not going to waste time talking to you.
Nicholas Wade received a B.A. in natural sciences from King's College in Cambridge (1964). He was deputy editor of (italics) Nature magazine in London and then became that journal's Washington correspondent. He joined (italics) Science magazine in Washington as a reporter and later moved to (italics)The New York Times, where he has been an editorial writer, concentrating his writing on issues of defense, space, science, medicine, technology, genetics, molecular biology, the environment, and public policy, a science reporter, and science editor. He is the author or coauthor of several books including (italics) LIFE SCRIPT: How The Human Genome Discoveries Will Transform Medicine And Enhance Your Health (2002).
Covering the Human Genome Project for the (italics) New York Times since 1990, Wade has interviewed Watson on various occasions and visited Cold Spring Harbor for the annual Genome symposium.