Shortly after the West explosion, Robberson began researching the disaster and wrote a series of editorials under the theme, “A town’s tragedy, a government’s failure: Demanding change after the West explosion.” These editorials shined a light on years of bad zoning decisions involving industrial chemicals and explosive materials placed close to residential areas, including downtown Dallas.
“A perfect storm of regulatory gaps came together to create the West disaster. The people of West were let down by the federal, state and local governments, as well as by the owners of the fertilizer plant where the explosion happened,” said Robberson. “Our editorials set out to expose where those failures occurred and prompt action to ensure such a disaster never occurs again.”
Robberson has worked with The Dallas Morning News for more than 15 years and has been a part of the editorial board since 2007. He is a regular speaker and moderator at the World Affairs Council of Dallas.
"We are honored by this recognition," said Keven Ann Willey, Vice President and Editorial Page Editor at The Dallas Morning News. "Our hope is that Tod's work and that of the many other Dallas Morning News staffers still working to unravel this story - fully a year after the explosion - will help protect communities from such tragedies in the future."
In addition to Robberson, columnist Tim Cowlishaw placed third in “Sports Column by an Individual” for his columns about hypocrisy within college football and lessons learned from the Boston Marathon bombings. The Morning News also placed third in “Online Videography” for the “JFK: Eyewitness to History” project by dallasnews.com editor David Duitch, former Morning News reporter Hugh Aynesworth, Bill Carruthers and Doug Fox.
The National Headliner Awards program is one of the oldest and largest annual contests recognizing journalistic merit in the communications industry. More than 2,000 Headliner medallions have been presented to outstanding writers, photographers, daily newspapers, magazines, graphic artists, radio and television stations and network.