New York Times Reporter Justin Gillis Wins Oakes Award for Reporting on Climate Change

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By: Press Release | Columbia Journalism School

New York, March 22, 2012 — The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism announced today that New York Times reporter Justin Gillis has won the 2011 John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism for his 10-part multimedia series “Temperature Rising.”

The award, which carries a $5,000 prize and plaque, is given annually to the author of an article or series in a U.S. newspaper or magazine that makes an exceptional contribution to the public’s understanding of environmental issues. It will be presented at a luncheon on Tuesday, April 10 at the Journalism School.

The Oakes jury cited Gillis for producing a thoughtful, crisply-written multimedia series that “did an exemplary job meeting one of environmental journalism’s biggest challenges, the difficulty of covering an ongoing issue in fresh, compelling, and relevant ways.”

The series, which ran throughout 2011 in the New York Times and on its website, reported in depth on the central arguments in the climate debate with stories ranging from the impact of political wrangling over the science of climate studies to how the warming of the planet is affecting food supplies.

The jury wrote: “His blend of narrative story telling with thorough but accessible explanation of the scientific evidence was both entertaining and substantive. The reporting was thorough, and responsibly included skeptical voices. The graphics made a strong contribution. They were clear, and as informative as they were visually attractive.”

The judges also cited the journalists behind two other series as finalists: Jeff Donn of the Associated Press for “Aging Nukes” and Ronnie Greene of the The Center for Public Integrity and Matthew Mosk of ABC News for “Green Energy: Contracts, Connections and the Collapse of Solyndra.” The finalists each will receive $1,000 and a plaque at the luncheon.

About the Oakes Award

The John B. Oakes Award honors the career of the late John B. Oakes, a pioneer of environmental journalism, who worked for The New York Times as a columnist, editorial writer, editor of the editorial page, and creator of the op-ed page. It was created in 1994 at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a leading environment and conservation advocacy organization, of which John Oakes was a founding trustee. The prize moved to Columbia in 2005. The Oakes judges represent a cross section of distinguished journalists and environmental specialists.

About the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism For almost a century, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has been preparing journalists in a program that stresses academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded by Joseph Pulitzer in 1912, the school offers Master of Science, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. It is also home to numerous journalism prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize, the duPont-Columbia Awards and the National Magazine Awards. It also offers a number of professional development programs, including the Punch Sulzberger Program and the Spencer Fellowships for Education Reporting. www.journalism.columbia.edu.

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