WASHINGTON, DC – June 6, 2012 – A three-person team from The Salt Lake Tribune has been awarded the 2012 The Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment. Brandon Loomis, Rick Egan and Dave Noyce will receive a total of $75,000 for “Our Dying Forests,” an extraordinary series examining the links between climate change and the spread of beetles that are destroying millions of acres of forests in the American West.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse named The Grantham Prize winners at the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Leadership Awards Dinner on June 5, in conjunction with Capitol Hill Ocean Week, the premier ocean conference in our nation’s capital. Sunshine Menezes, executive director of the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting at the University of Rhode Island, which administers the prize, introduced the winners to the public at a news conference today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where Loomis spoke about his special report on forests and the significance of winning the prestigious award.
“I’m thrilled to have such recognition for a project that we knew from the start was bigger than Utah or the Rocky Mountains,” said Salt Lake Tribune reporter Brandon Loomis. “My sources revealed many climate change-driven threats to forests in the US and globally through their research, and I hope reporters everywhere will pick up where we left off to investigate and explain what’s happening where they live.”
The Grantham Jury praised the team’s methodical research and measured reporting on this story and noted the series’ potential to help thousands of readers better understand the small and large impacts of climate change with an approach that can be replicated in newsrooms across America.
“Experts have long been aware of the dangers implicit in the wholesale disappearance of ancient forests,” said Grantham Prize Juror Robert Semple, Jr. of The New York Times. “Brandon Loomis’ incredible reporting has now deftly alerted a wider public to this important issue.”
“Brandon Loomis has set the bar for excellence in environmental journalism with this outstanding story,” added Menezes. “As global change yields ever more obvious impacts on our society, it’s important to recognize journalists who produce well researched, high-quality environmental stories about these impacts. The Salt Lake Tribune’s reporting should serve as a model for other mid-sized news outlets trying to explain the local effects of climate change.”
2012 Grantham Awards of Special Merit
Grantham Prize Jurors also selected three entries to receive the 2012 Grantham Award of Special Merit. Each of the following recipients will receive a $5,000 cash prize:
• Paul Greenberg, author, “Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food.” Published by Penguin Press, this remarkable book chronicles the state of salmon, cod, sea bass, and tuna, and with solid reporting and common sense, offers suggestions for how we can maintain commercial fish supplies while restoring wild runs.
• Gary Marcuse & Betsy Carson of Face to Face Media with videographer Shi Lihong, for the documentary “Waking the Green Tiger: A Green Movement Rises in China.” Combining astonishing archival footage of Chairman Mao’s campaigns to conquer nature with lush and surprising new footage, the film follows a citizens’ campaign to stop a massive dam project that would displace 100,000 people along China’s Yangtze River. Strong personal stories from government insiders and witnesses offer a rare glimpse at China’s fledgling environmental advocacy movement.
• Delphine Andrews, Whitney Baker, Caitlyn Greene, Hadley Gustafson, Kristen Long, Jeffrey Mittelstadt, Hely Olivares, Catherine Orr, Sarah Riazati, Mimi Schiffman and Catherine Spangler and Laura Ruel of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for the multimedia series “Coal: A Love Story.” This interactive website represents an unparalleled use of multimedia storytelling, bringing viewers varied perspectives on the role of coal in U.S. electricity generation while offering data-driven interactive graphics that make us understand America’s use of coal in a fresh and innovative way.
About The Grantham Prize
Established in 2005, the prize is funded by Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham through The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and is administered by the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. The Grantham Foundation supports communication and collaboration in environmental protection, with an emphasis on climate change, while Metcalf Institute provides journalists with resources, tools, and immersive science training to improve their reporting on scientific news and environmental issues.
To learn more about the Grantham Prize winners, visit www.granthamprize.org. For more information on the Metcalf Institute, visit www.metcalfinstitute.org or contact Karen Southern at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter @GranthamPrize and @MetcalfURI.
METCALF INSTITUTE FOR MARINE AND ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING
University of Rhode Island
Graduate School of Oceanography