Inside Public Integrity

Published — September 9, 2015

Texas toxic air emissions series wins fifth national journalism award


The collaborative environmental health project “Big Oil, Bad Air”  between the Center, InsideClimate News and the Weather Channel has won the 2015 National Association of Science Writers (NASW) Science in Society Award in the Longform category. This is the fifth first-place award for the project in a national journalism contest.

The almost two-year investigative series examined hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas and how it has generated billions of dollars for oil companies all while endangering public health. Since the series, a new air monitor was installed in one of the heaviest drilling areas.

Judges said the series was “an extraordinary accomplishment in team investigative science journalism targeted at a crucial energy, environment and health issue that extends well beyond the boundaries of Texas, the project’s focus. The reporters set out to get to the bottom of a corrupt regulatory system involving the fracking boom. They found no bottom.”

They also noted, “Several new media outlets teamed to deliver the kind of broad-shouldered, crusading doggedness in exposing public malfeasance that once was the near-exclusive province of big metropolitan newspapers.” 

For The Center for Public Integrity: managing editor for environmental health and labor Jim Morris, reporters Ben Wieder, Jamie Smith Hopkins, Rosalind Adams, David Heath, multimedia editor Eleanor Bell, data editor Alex Cohen, news applications developer Chris Zubak-Skees and former reporter Alan Suderman.

For InsideClimate News: Lisa Song, David Hasemyer, Paul Horn, Zahra Hirji, Susan White, Sabrina Shankman, Marcus Stern, Hannah Robbins, and David Martin Davies. 

For The Weather Channel: Gregory Gilderman, Neil Katz, Faisal Azam, Eric Jankstrom, Shawn Efran, and Katie Wiggin.

The National Association of Science Writers is the largest organization devoted to the professional interests of science writers. They foster the dissemination of accurate information regarding science through all media normally devoted to informing the public.

All of the award winners will be honored at the NASW annual meeting in October in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

The “Big Oil, Bad Air” project has previously been recognized with awards from the National Press Foundation, the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Heywood Broun Awards. 

Read more in Inside Public Integrity

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