‘LA Times’ Honored With Columbia Environmental Journalism Award

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By: E&P Staff

The Los Angeles Times has been picked by Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism to receive this year’s John B. Oakes Award for Outstanding Environmental Journalism for its project “Altered Oceans.”

The project was an 18-month investigation led by reported Kenneth R. Weiss that examined the health of oceans and documented how the modern world is “feeding off an explosion of primitive organisms,? into the world’s major bodies of water, according to a release. The team, which also included reporter Usha Lee McFarling and photographers Rick Loomis and Brian Vander Brug, found that the new prevalence of these primitive creatures was resulting a “rise of slime” that is lethal for larger species and dangerous for people. The Times ran the project in print from July 30 through Aug. 3, 2006, and it can be accessed online by clicking here.

The award honors Weiss and his team “for making an exceptional contribution to advancing public understanding of environmental issues,” and judges praised the series’ breadth and depth said a statement from Columbia University. The prize will be presented to the team in a ceremony on Jan. 30 in New York.

An honorable mention citation went to the second place series “Tempting Fate” a large-scale investigation by the Sacramento Bee into that city’s preparediness for a major flood. The series pointed to the city’s deteriorating system of levees and “the failure of politicians, flood officials, developers and area residents to acknowledge and address the problems,” said the statement. The series was produced by reporters Matt Weiser, Deb Kollars, Phillip Reese, and Carrie Peyton Dahlberg at the Bee.

The Oakes award has been around since 1994, and is presented in honor of former New York Times editorial writer John B. Oakes, who founded the paper’s op-edit pages.

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