Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling of the Los Angeles Times are the 2007 winners of the $75,000 Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment for their five-part series "Altered Oceans."
Grantham Prize jurors said the July 30-Aug. 3, 2006, series "gives life to all those generalities about the decline of the oceans in a way that should grab the imaginations not only of politicians responsible for taking corrective steps but also of ordinary readers."
The public response to the series (available: www.latimes.com/oceans) has been overwhelmingly positive. Leaders of the bipartisan House Oceans Caucus, for instance, distributed copies to every member of the House, cautioning that the ocean conditions described in the series constitute a threat to national security, the economy and the environment. The Los Angeles Times produced a reprint and DVD of the series for educational use.
Jurors also selected three Award of Special Merit recipients, each receiving a $5,000 award:
• Eugene Linden for his book The Winds of Change, published by Simon & Schuster;
• the NOVA Television program "Dimming the Sun," a DOX Production for NOVA/WGBH and the BBC, produced by Senior Executive Producer Paula S. Apsell, written and produced by David Sington and directed by Duncan Copp;
• and a team of writers from the East Oregonian Publishing Co. for their series, "Our Climate Is Changing ... Ready or Not."
The prize jurors said Linden's book "manages the remarkable feat of bringing a new light to the most written- about environmental challenge of the era, climate change."
Jurors praised the NOVA production for presenting "a different, but critical, take on global warming ... Exceptional production values, great storytelling, and important subject matter make this a fascinating and disturbing report."
According to jurors, the East Oregonian Publishing Co. series "represented an extraordinary effort on the part of a group of small newspapers in the Pacific Northwest. The result is sophisticated, compelling journalism, extraordinary for publications of this size and scope."
The Grantham Prize and the three Awards of Special Merit was presented at a Sept. 24, 2007, ceremony and seminar at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, the prize administrator, in Narragansett, R.I.
** From SEJ's quarterly newsletter SEJournal, Winter 2008