Distinguished Environmental Reporting
2015 Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Reporting
The San Jose Mercury News won the 2015 John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism for its coverage of the California drought. Reporters Lisa M. Krieger and Paul Rogers will be honored for an exceptional series of 98 stories on the record-breaking California drought ranging from rich narratives, interactive maps, and videos in 2014. Finalists for the prize are InsideClimate News, The Center for Public Integrity, and The Weather Channel, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism, which carries a $5,000 prize, is given annually for news reporting that makes an exceptional contribution to the public’s understanding of environmental issues. The award is named after New York Times’ editorial writer and environmental journalism pioneer John B. Oakes (1913-2001), and was founded by his family, friends, and colleagues in 1993.
The Oakes Award Board writes in their citation: “Their outstanding ongoing coverage clearly shows how California depends on the snow melt providing a third of its water most years—and the frightening consequences of a popular alternative, draining the “bank account” of underground water that built up over millennia and could help the state get through future droughts. Using data reporting and videos, interviews and graphics, these stories make an important contribution to the public’s understanding of environmental issues. It’s a bleak picture, but not a hopeless one.”