Hard-hitting investigations of local polluters and ambitious explanations of the worldwide effects
of climate change dominated this year's list of winners of the SEJ Awards for Reporting on the
Environment, sponsored by Society of Environmental Journalists.
SEJ announced the winners October 25, 2006, the opening night of its 16th annual conference in Burlington,
Vermont. The nine winning entries were awarded $1,000 and a trophy. Another 17 entries received
second- or third-place certificates. SEJ's contest is the largest and most comprehensive in the world
for journalism on environmental topics. This year it attracted almost 200 entries.
The fifth annual contest recognized outstanding environmental journalism in four print categories
(explanatory, investigative, beat and small-market), four broadcast categories (large- and small-market
radio and television) and online journalism. Next year, SEJ plans to add a tenth category
honoring the best environmental journalism produced by students.
Judging panels of distinguished reporters, editors and journalism educators selected the winning
stories, all of which were published or broadcast between March 2005 and February 2006.
winners, listed alphabetically by category, are...
Some of the 2006 SEJ Award winners at the Burlington conference. Photo by Beth Parke. Click photo to enlarge.
Kevin Carmody Award For Outstanding Investigative Reporting, Print
Outstanding Explanatory Reporting, Print
Outstanding Radio Reporting, Large Market
Outstanding Radio Reporting, Small Market
Outstanding Television Reporting, Large Market
Outstanding Television Reporting, Small Market
Award For Outstanding Investigative
— St. Petersburg Times. Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite.
The judges wrote,
"This pair of reporters tracked down former employees and unearthed internal documents that
revealed a 24-year pattern of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers catering to developers instead of
upholding its legal duty to protect marshes and swamps needed for flood protections, to filter
pollution and preserve wildlife."
— The Record of Bergen County, NJ.
Jan Barry, Alex Nussbaum, Mary Jo Layton, Lindy Washburn, Tom Troncone, Thomas E. Franklin, Barbara Williams, Debra Lynn Vial, and Tim Nostrand.
"Toxic Traces: New Questions About Old Chemicals"
— The Wall Street Journal. Peter Waldman.
- "Levels of Risk: Common Industrial Chemicals in Tiny Doses Raise Health Issue"
- "Fish Line Mercury and Tuna: U.S. Advice Leaves Lots of Questions"
- "Under the Microscope: From an Ingredient In Cosmetics, Toys, A Safety Concern"
- "Second Opinion: Study Tied Pollutant to Cancer; Then Consultants Got Hold of It"
- "Ground War: Inside Pentagon's Fight to Limit Regulation of Military Pollutant"
Beat Reporting, Print
Environmental Science and Health — Los Angeles Times. Marla Cone.
The judges wrote that her stories "exemplify the best of
environmental beat reporting. Simply, directly, and without straying into alarmism, Cone offers a
broad perspective of the health impacts that unexpected chemical contamination imposes on humans
South Texas Environment Beat —
San Antonio Express-News. Anton Caputo.
- "How Badly Was the Big Easy Polluted?"
- "Lagoon's New Status Will Change Lives"
- "Water Poisons Town's Atmosphere"
- "Explosive Issue a Dud Along the Coast of Texas"
- "The Fish That Saves Del Rio"
- "Rio Grande Valley Havens Are Preserving Nature And Boosting Area Communities"
- "Wilderness Area's Priority Is Protecting Nature"
Environmental Beat, from Drilling to Teflon
— The Baltimore Sun. Tom Pelton.
Explanatory Reporting, Print
"The Climate of Man"
— The New Yorker. Elizabeth Kolbert.
The judges wrote that Kolbert "peppered her fine narratives with anecdotes that
put a human face on what is a highly complex topic. The result: a compelling and convincing
account of what is clearly one of the most pressing issues facing humanity."
"Blue Smoke, Tainted Water"
— The Columbus Dispatch. Spencer Hunt.
"A Body's Burden: Our Chemical Legacy" — Oakland Tribune. Douglas Fischer.
"Fantastic Forests: The Balance Between Nature and People of Madagascar"
— WBUR.org. Daniel Grossman.
The judges wrote that Grossman's work "shows off the best of web storytelling and an explanation
of a far off place."
"Integrity in Science" — Environmental
Science & Technology Online. Paul D. Thacker.
Radio Reporting, Large Market
"Borderlands" (scroll down) —
NPR's Living on Earth. Molly Peterson.
The judges called Peterson's stories "a vivid journey to the Mexican border that more than does justice to an under-reported story."
"Bioko's Endangered Monkeys" — PRI's The World. David Baron.
DuPont stories —
NPR's Living on Earth. Jeff Young.
Radio Reporting, Small Market
"Dirty Dealings at Maine's DEP" —
Maine Public Broadcasting Network (WMEA Portland). Susan P. Sharon.
- "Under Fire" (MP3/4.10MB)
- "Agreements Dropped" (MP3/2.92MB)
- "Enforcement" (MP3/3.54MB)
- "Commissioner Resigns" (MP3/2.69MB)
- "Saviello Influence" (MP3/3.47MB)
The judges noted that Sharon's reporting led to the firing of the chief of the state
Department of Environmental Protection, and said she "got the important players on the record and held their feet to the
"Poultry Antibiotics" — NET Radio (Nebraska's public radio network). Sarah McCammon.
— WGCU Public Radio, Fort Myers, FL. Amy Tardif.
Small Market Reporting, Print
"Our Changing World: Understanding the Science of Climate Change"
— Bangor Daily News. Misty Edgecomb, Jonathan Ferland, Eric Zelz, Scott Haskell, Rick Levasseur, Brian Robitaille, Becky Bowden, Greg McManus, Charlie Campo, John Clark Russ and Janet Sargent.
According to the judges, this team
offered a "remarkable, ambitious report.... It featured a superb team effort, starting with Misty Edgecomb's reporting and
Paso Del Norte Stories —
El Diario De Juarez. Erick Falcon.
— The (Canton, OH) Repository (free registration required).
Paul E. Kostyu.
- "Who's Protecting Us?"
- "Analysis Proves You Can't Fight the EPA" and "It's No Picnic Next to Egg Farm"
- "Want to Take on the EPA?"
- "EPA's Program Loses $1 Million a Year"
Television Reporting, Large
"Dirty Secret" — WBAL-TV News Baltimore, MD. John Sherman and Beau Kershaw.
The two reporters documented how a composting facility was polluting Chesapeake Bay. The judges
called their work "very good investigative reporting, with results."
"Melting Point: Tracking the Global Warming Debate" — CNN Atlanta. Miles O'Brien.
"Car Inspection Corruption: D.E.P. Manager Target of Federal Probe"
— CBS-4 TV News-Boston. Kristen M. Setera.
Television Reporting, Small
"Toxic Treatment" —
WTAE-TV Pittsburgh, PA. Jim Parsons, Kendall Cross and Shawn Quinlan.
The judges said their investigation of dust-control agents used on Pennsylvania roads featured
"deep reporting, potent statistics to back up the claims, and well-picked experts [that] give this story depth."
"The Dirt on Dickson County" (no longer available online) —
WSMV-TV Nashville, TN. Demetria Kalodimos and Phil Dunaway.
"Delicate Blooms: South Florida's Native Orchids" (scroll down to 9/9/2005) — WGCU-TV Southwest Florida. Alexa Elliott.
Founded in 1990, SEJ is a lively network of journalists and academics, with more than 1,300 members in the United States, Canada and 32 other countries. Run by and for working journalists, SEJ seeks to advance public understanding of environmental issues by improving the quality, accuracy, and visibility of environmental reporting. In addition to SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment, SEJ programs and services include annual and regional conferences; daily EJToday news service; quarterly SEJournal; biweekly TipSheet; freedom of information WatchDog Project; diversity program including Latin America initiative; members-only listservs; mentoring program; gatekeeper project and other special initiatives.
Previous winners: 2002 |
2003 | 2004 | 2005
Back to the