Winners of Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards

From Covering Climate Now:

Here are the winners of the second annual Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards honoring journalists producing the strongest coverage of the onrushing climate emergency and its abundant solutions. Winners of the 2022 CCNow Journalism Awards include journalists at the Guardian, Agence-France Presse, Al Jazeera English, PBS NewsHour, Globo, and HBO Max, as well as The Third Pole, Grist, the Post and Courier, the Los Angeles Times, and WGBH-PRX. Justin Worland, senior correspondent for TIME, was named Climate Journalist of the Year. (See the press release here.)

The 23 winners were selected from over 900 entries submitted from 65 countries, a 50% increase over last year’s awards. Juries composed of distinguished journalists representing 58 newsrooms around the world chose 68 finalists before naming the ultimate winners.

“Cutting edge journalists and newsrooms are increasingly grasping the urgency of the climate story, reporting it on the ground, and informing people and policymakers who can drive solutions,” said Kyle Pope, the editor and publisher of Columbia Journalism Review and the chair of the CCNow Awards judging process. “By honoring the best of this reporting, we hope to inspire fellow journalists everywhere to emulate the work of these exceptional colleagues.”

Award winners will be featured in a one-hour special hosted by Al Roker, co-host of NBC News’ TODAY and Savannah Sellers, host of NBC’s Stay Tuned and NBC News NOW anchor, that will air on October 25, 2022 on the WORLD Channel, which is broadcast by 191 public television stations nationwide.

“Better news coverage is an essential climate solution, a catalyst that makes progress on every part of the problem — from politics to business, lifestyle change to systems change — more likely,” said Mark Hertsgaard, the executive director of Covering Climate Now, whose 500-plus partner news outlets reach some 2 billion people.

Journalist of the Year

Senior Correspondent — TIME

Continuing TIME’s long-standing commitment to high profile, plainspoken reporting on climate change, Justin Worland covers a dazzling range of subjects with an eye for the telling detail, a panoramic understanding of the social forces involved, and a prose style that couldn’t be more inviting. His journalism manages to speak to diverse perspectives without over-simplifying the science or underplaying the imperative of rapid, far-reaching change in economic policies and practices. For example, a month before COP26, he was pointing out that “The Energy Transition Is In Full Swing. It’s Not Happening Fast Enough.” Worland’s work is equally useful and engaging — whether the reader is a teenage activist, a Wall Street investor, a farmer in Kansas or Kenya,or a government official. Beyond his writings, Worland also strengthened climate journalism as a whole in 2021 by co-founding The Uproot Project, a “network for journalists of color who cover environmental issues.” Uproot aims to “bring diverse voices to the forefront of environmental reporting” and help newsrooms do a better job of reporting the fundamental truth that virtually all aspects of the climate crisis “have disproportionate impacts on communities of color.”

This year Covering Climate Now launched its Climate Journalist of the Year Award. Worland’s combination of authoritative reporting with broader newsroom leadership elevates him as an exceptional journalist, making him the distinguished winner of this inaugural award.

Student Journalist

Audrey Carleton 

One hint that Audrey Carleton has a bright future in climate journalism is that, while still a student, she published a top-notch story in the Guardian about a community campaign to stop construction of a fracked-gas pipeline in Brooklyn. Like most good reporters, Carleton wore out some shoe leather, spending hours at sit-ins and direct actions and live tweeting from protests. Meanwhile, she wrote data-driven explainers about how the proposed pipeline would affect the impacted communities, largely composed of people of color. Carleton also shows a nose for investigative work: To produce an audio documentary, she slogged through Pennsylvania oil fields, trackied campaign donations, and dug through legislative records and state archives. Making a career in journalism increasingly requires a diverse set of skills: reporting, writing, producing, and reaching audiences through social media. As Carleton continues developing these skills, her future looks bright.

Emerging Journalist

Shannon Osaka 

Shannon Osaka joined Grist just as the Covid-19 pandemic was about to take over global news coverage. Her editors quickly came to value her uncanny ability to find engaging angles and guide readers through challenging subjects. In Osaka’s first two months, she wrote about the connection between global warming and zoonotic pathogens and investigated where carbon emissions were still taking place while the world was in Covid-19 lockdown. As the author of her nominating letter wrote, “Give Osaka a subject — the Paris climate agreement, Supreme Court rulings, tax credits for electric cars — and a little time to report, and she’ll come back with a clearly written story brimming with expert-level insight.” Especially noteworthy was her story about a “citizens assembly” in France that was convened to advise President Emmanuel Macron about climate policy. Having all these skills so early in her career makes Osaka a talent to watch.

Writing — Long Feature

The Greenland Connection

The Post and Courier

“The Greenland Connection” is a brilliant example of how journalists can connect the dots for the public between their daily lives and global warming. In this beautifully written, deeply reported story, Tony Bartelme takes readers in Charleston, South Carolina, to Greenland to explore how melting ice will raise global sea levels. Explaining how those far away changes are already affecting his hometown, Bartelme’s writing moves assuredly between detailed narrative observation (including the exploits of Greenland’s very own “Climate Elvis”) and scientific explanations framed by easy-to-follow comparisons and anecdotes. Dramatic video and photography by Post and Courier photojournalist Lauren Petracca make readers feel they are experiencing first-hand Greenland’s melting as well as the consequences for their home state. With a circulation of less than 100,000, the Post and Courier has often been recognized for its outstanding reporting. At the paper for more than 30 years, Bartelme has covered a wide range of investigative topics and produced ground-breaking, environmental stories.

Writing — Investigative Reporting

Extreme Heat’s Deadly Toll

Los Angeles Times

“Extreme heat is one of the deadliest consequences of global warming.” Grabbing the reader with this terse opening line, a team of Los Angeles Times journalists offers a masterful, compassionate investigation of how climate-driven heat is causing misery, illness, and death in California, a state that prides itself on being a climate leader. Led by Tony Barboza, who has covered environmental issues for 15 years, the team included environmental reporters, data visualization journalists, a photojournalist, and a health data analyst.

Through extensive data digging and analysis complemented by on the ground reporting, these journalists conclude that California’s death toll from searing temperatures and stifling humidity may be six times higher than the state’s official count for the 2010s. They deployed satellite imagery to document the disproportionate impacts of rising heat on vulnerable communities, revealed how government regulators ignored brutally hot conditions endured by low-wage warehouse workers, and delivered “news you can use” for people seeking to keep cool when temperatures rise. The reaction to the series was immediate, as the Los Angeles City Council, the state legislature, and the governor’s office instituted new rules and regulations to help Californians cope with extreme heat going forward.

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