Pulitzer Prizes Awarded For Environmental Reporting


Milwaukee (WI) Journal: For its successful campaign to stiffen the law against water pollution in Wisconsin, a notable advance in the national effort for the conservation of natural resources.


Winston-Salem (NC) Journal and Sentinel: For coverage of environmental problems, as exemplified by a successful campaign to block strip mining operation that would have caused irreparable damage to the hill country of northwest North Carolina.


James Risser of the Des Moines (IA) Register: For a series on farming damage to the environment.


Sacramento (CA) Bee: For "The Sierra in Peril,"

reporting by Tom Knudson that examined environmental threats and damage to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California.


News & Observer, Raleigh, NC: For the work of Melanie Sill, Pat Stith and Joby Warrick on the environmental and health risks of waste-disposal systems used in North Carolina's growing hog industry.


Robert B. Semple, Jr. of the New York Times: For his editorials on environmental issues.


Gary Cohn and Will Englund of the Baltimore Sun: For their compelling series on the international ship-breaking industry, that revealed the dangers posed to workers and the environment when discarded ships are dismantled.

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a war in Iraq, and the nation's sputtering economy (which might be used to rally support for decreased environmental protections) will present a new challenge to the coverage and interest in environmental issues. The environmental beat also faces an internal pressure. More newsroom staffs are being pared as the economy contracts and media competition increases.

But the last forty years have shown that each time interest in the topic wanes, enterprising reporters rekindle it. Their future attention or lack of it may play a pivotal role in how much larger the issue becomes in national politics.

"To report news about global warming in 10 inches of copy presents daunting challenges to even the most knowledgeable and skilled environmental reporter and editing team," Ward wrote in a recent issue of Nieman Reports that explored coverage of environmental issues.

Ward continued: "But the ways in which reporters and editors, correspondents and producers confront these challenges—the ones inside and outside the newsroom—will have a large effect in determining how Americans and their government anticipate and respond to continuing environmental pressures." see also Popular Culture.


Hill, Gladwin. (1973) Madman in a Lifeboat: Issues of the Environmental Crisis. New York: John Day Co.

Keating, Michael. (1993). Covering the Environment: A Handbook on Environmental Journalism. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

Shabecoff, Philip. (2000). Earth Rising: American Environmentalism in the 21st Century. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Internet Resource

Society of Environmental Journalists Web site. Available from http://www.sej.org.

Michael Mansur

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