SEJ member Elizabeth H. McGowan and her InsideClimate News colleagues Lisa Song and David Hasemyer won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their “The Dilbit Disaster” entry, an investigative piece uncovering what really happened when millions of gallons of tar sands oil from Canada poured into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River after a pipe burst. They were also named as a finalist in the Environmental Reporting category of the 2012 Scripps Howard Awards competition; earned an honorable mention in the 2012 John B. Oakes Award contest presented by the Columbia University School of Journalism; and won the 2012 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism presented by Hunter College.
Journalism & Media
In recent years the Obama administration has taken secrecy to a new level by failing to respond to even many routine inquiries by the news media about what this important agency is doing in regard to human health and protecting the environment. With Gina McCarthy's nomination to head the EPA facing confirmation, it's time for the Senate to ask some hard questions. Read SEJ's statement on the need for greater EPA openness with the media and resulting coverage.
"On one covert video, farm workers illegally burn the ankles of Tennessee walking horses with chemicals. Another captures workers in Wyoming punching and kicking pigs and flinging piglets into the air. And at one of the country’s largest egg suppliers, a video shows hens caged alongside rotting bird corpses, while workers burn and snap off the beaks of young chicks."
Reports from the spill of tar sands oil from an ExxonMobil pipeline at Mayflower, Arkansas, indicate that reporters are being kept from doing their jobs. They are kept far away from the oil, threatened with arrest, and told things that aren't true. It looks like Exxon — not federal clean-up agencies — is running the press operation. The result may be skewed or scant coverage — possibly a boon for an Obama administration facing a tough choice on the Keystone XL pipeline. More on media access at The Daily Glob.
"InsideClimate News reporter Lisa Song was threatened with arrest on Wednesday after she entered the command center for the cleanup operation in Mayflower, Ark., where a major oil pipeline spill occurred on Friday."
"Rumors of Scripps begone -- geophysicist Marcia McNutt, who stepped down as head of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in February, is returning to Washington, D.C., as the new editor-in-chief of Science. McNutt will take over the editorship on 1 June from Bruce Alberts, who announced his retirement last year."
Rumors that the conservative billionaire Koch brothers could be poised to buy the Tribune Company raise questions about how that might affect Tribune news outlets' coverage of environment and energy issues, in which the Kochs have a substantial stake.
"Wide-ranging investigation, which will look into six different federal departments, is to review incidents in which the media was thwarted when trying to speak to Canadian government scientists about their work."
The story of hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen, in drinking water is not over, even though Erin Brockovich's legal victory was vaunted in a film 13 years ago. Groundwater near Hinkley, Calif., is still polluted. The story of how industry clout has kept EPA delaying regulation of chromium in drinking water is a tale of the chemical industry's ability to manipulate regulation by sowing doubt. But recent highly dramatized stories on chrome-6 in drinking water may not have helped much, to the extent that they downplayed natural background levels, the importance of dose, and the statistical problems in identifying cancer clusters. The whole saga raises key issues about public relations, lobbying, regulatory politics, the legal system, environmental journalism, and the protection of public health.