The $5,000 first place award goes to The Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the BBC’s International News Service for their collaborative investigation of the asbestos market. Second place goes to The New Orleans Times-Picayune for its extensive and enterprising coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dan Egan wins third-place honors for “Great Lakes, Great Peril: A Road Map to Restoration.”
Columbia Names Winners of 2010 John B. Oakes Award
for Environmental Reporting
New York, February 15, 2011 — The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism announced today that The Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the BBC’s International News Service are the first place recipients of the 2010 John B. Oakes Award for their collaborative investigation of the asbestos market. Their nine-month project, “Dangers in the Dust: Inside the Global Asbestos Trade,” is a groundbreaking effort to document the effects of what the series describes as a multinational network of asbestos industry lobbyists centered in such cities as Montreal, Mexico and New Delhi.
The judges cited “this important and well-researched package about an issue that hasn’t attracted as much attention as it deserves.” The citation commends the project for being “original, tightly written, well organized, and persuasive.” They call it “an amazingly ambitious, hard hitting international investigation of a very important environmental and health issue.” As a result of the wide-spread exposure of Canada’s role in producing and selling asbestos fiber to India, citizens sent 7,000 letters in an Internet campaign calling for legislators to ban asbestos exports.
Second place goes to The New Orleans Times-Picayune for its extensive and enterprising coverage of last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. After covering Hurricane Katrina, the newspaper turned over much of it space to coverage of the oil spill. In the citation, the judges noted, “the paper repeatedly broke major stories” and “helped shape national coverage of the disaster. . . It did excellent reporting about the long term impact.”
Dan Egan wins third-place honors for his in-depth series, “Great Lakes, Great Peril: A Road Map to Restoration,” in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. His prize recognizes “an extremely impressive body of work… [with] compelling reporting and lively writing,” according to the judges’ citation. Egan documents the most pressing issues facing the Great Lakes, among them invasive species, Chicago’s outdated sewage system and diminishing water levels. The judges deemed his stories “excellent, well-written, balanced, and involved large amounts of research.” Egan’s first series on the Great Lakes won a first-place John B. Oakes Award in 2005.
This year, the judges praised the high quality of the submissions. They were “well-written and had an impact,” said Arlene Morgan, the associate dean for prizes and programs. The panel of journalists and scientists selected the finalists from among the approximately 80 newspaper, magazine and websites submitted for the prize. Among the submissions were collaborations of non-and for-profit media.
The first-place prize comes with a $5,000 honorarium and the second and third-place winners receive $1,000 each. They will accept their awards and serve on a panel discussing their work at the Oakes Award luncheon in March at Columbia’s Journalism School.
For more information please contact Arlene Morgan, associate dean for prizes and programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact Lisa S. Redd, director of the Oakes Award, at email@example.com or visit the Oakes website.
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About the Oakes Award
The John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism is awarded annually to the author of an article or series in a U.S. newspaper or magazine that makes an exceptional contribution to public understanding of environmental issues. Over the years, the award has gained a reputation among journalists as the nation’s premier environmental writing prize. The award honors the career of the late John B. Oakes, a pioneer of environmental journalism, who worked for The New York Times as a columnist, editorial writer, editor of the editorial page, and creator of the op-ed page. It was created in 1994 at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a leading environment and conservation advocacy organization, of which John Oakes was a founding trustee. The Oakes judges represent a cross section of distinguished journalists and environmental specialists.