Thursday, September 3, 2015

San Jose Mercury reporters win prize for drought coverage

The ongoing California  drought has dropped water levels far below boat ramps at the
popular camping/fishing site, Cachuma Lake, near Santa Barbara (Photo: Frank Brill)

“Two San Jose Mercury News reporters have won one of environmental writing's most prestigious prizes -- the 2015 John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism -- for their reporting on the California drought,” their fellow SJMN staffer Bruce Newman reports.
“Lisa M. Krieger and Paul Rogers immersed themselves in the story of the state's dwindling water supply amid an era of otherwise matchless abundance, creating a lively narrative for the Bay Area News Group's readers by drilling down through arid hydrology reports and fallowed farmlands in an exceptional series of 98 stories on the slow-rolling disaster.
Lisa M. Krieger
“Whether they were exposing the "water hogs" of Beverly Hills, deconstructing the 300-mile path of the Sierra snowmelt, or explaining a 2,000-mile-long ridge of high pressure that was deflecting rain from California, the pair made "an important contribution to the public's understanding of environmental issues," said a citation accompanying the $5,000 prize.
Paul Rogers
“Earlier this year, Rogers and Krieger were given the Edward J. Meeman Award for Environmental Reporting by Scripps Howard for their drought coverage. "It's quite an honor for all of our staffers who contributed to drought coverage to see it receive the top two national awards this year in environmental reporting -- Oakes and Meeman," said David J. Butler, editor of the Mercury News and other Bay Area News Group newspapers. "And it underscores our continued commitment to serve our readers -- online and in print -- with critically important information. This was truly a team effort and the coverage continues, just like the drought."
“The other finalists for the award were InsideClimate News, the Center for Public Integrity and the Weather Channel for their collaborative investigation on the environmental hazards of fracking; and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for its report about ongoing threats to the Great Lakes.The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism presents the Oakes award annually in honor of the late New York Times' editorial writer and pioneering environmental journalist. It will be presented to Rogers and Krieger on Sept. 16 in New York by Steve Coll, the school's dean.”

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