UNC journalism school wins a prestigious Grantham Award of Special Merit for environmental journalism“Coal: A Love Story,” an interactive multimedia website produced by students in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, won a $5,000 Grantham Award of Special Merit from the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting during the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Leadership Awards Dinner on June 5.
The Grantham awards honor the best in environmental journalism. The 2012 Grantham Prize was awarded to a three-member team at the Salt Lake Tribune for the series “Our Dying Forests.” Previous Grantham Prize winners include The Economist, USA Today, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.
“Coal: A Love Story” investigates the political, economic and scientific tensions behind the use of coal to generate electricity in the U.S. and invites the public to experience different perspectives through an interactive website. Delphine Andrews, a master’s graduate of school and the 2011 managing editor of the project, accepted the award and discussed the project on behalf of the team.
“This team has taken multimedia reporting to a new level with this impressive and novel approach to journalism,” said Sunshine Menezes, executive director of the Metcalf Institute. “The compelling videos and data-driven graphics make us see America’s relationship with coal in a new light.”
Members of the winning team include: Caitlyn Greene, Catherine Orr, Catherine Spangler, Delphine Andrews, Hadley Gustafson, Hely Olivares, Jeffrey Mittelstadt, Kristen Long, Mimi Schiffman, Sarah Riazati and Whitney Baker.
“It makes me so proud to see the students’ hard work honored with such a prestigious award,” said Laura Ruel, Hugh Morton Distinguished Professor and executive producer of the project. “The jurors’ recognition of the students’ innovative methods of storytelling, as well as their adherence to sound journalism, is one of the highest compliments and honors they could receive. We are truly thrilled and humbled.”
Awards of Special Merit also were given to author Paul Greenberg for his book “Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food” and to Face To Face Media for the documentary film “Waking the Green Tiger: A Green Movement Rises in China.”
“Coal: A Love Story” is part of the News21 program, a national initiative of Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. News21 is designed to help “change the way journalism is taught in the U.S. and train a new generation of journalists capable of reshaping the news industry.”
Established in 2005, the $75,000 prize is funded by Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham through The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and is administered by the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. The Grantham Foundation supports communication and collaboration in environmental protection, with an emphasis on climate change, while the Metcalf Institute provides journalists with resources, tools and immersive science training to improve their reporting on scientific news and environmental issues.