The Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT has named Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Timber Wars” podcast as 2021 winner of the celebrated Victor Okay. McElheny Award for native and regional science journalism. The seven-part sequence tells the story of how a gaggle of activists and scientists turned a combat over logging and animal safety into one of many largest environmental conflicts of the 20th century — a battle that also resonates in tradition wars in the present day. The podcast is the primary work of audio journalism to win the McElheny Award within the competitors’s three-year historical past.
Judges praised “Timber Wars” for its rigorous reporting, suave storytelling, and deft dealing with of intricate science. “It ticks all of the containers: excellent craftsmanship and storytelling; pleasant science that’s defined with out pedantry; and actual affect,” stated the jury. “They actually dug into the historical past and had been in a position to join it to the present day.” The podcast additionally resonated with policymakers. Oregon State Consultant Dacia Grayber known as it “the most effective historical past and tackle this I’ve ever heard.”
“Timber Wars” was conceived and govt produced by Ed Jahn, of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Science and Surroundings crew. Aaron Scott, a producer and reporter for “Oregon Subject Information,” was the podcast’s reporter, author, host, and lead producer. David Steves, Peter Frick-Wright, Robbie Carver, and Laura Gibson contributed to modifying, manufacturing, sound design, and music composition.
The successful entry topped a big and extremely aggressive subject of submissions from media shops throughout the nation. Additionally making the quick checklist of finalists had been: The Boston Globe’s “The Virus’s Story,” a day-by-day account of the dealing with of the town’s first Covid-19 instances; an investigation by The Detroit Free Press and Kind Investigations into Detroit housing demolitions and their potential function in little one lead poisoning; a function by Boston-based WBUR on the hunt to return loons to their native Massachusetts habitats; and a sequence from The Arizona Republic that chronicles how Indigenous Hopi are grappling with local weather change and vanishing water sources.
“It was actually a stellar yr for native science reporting,” says Knight Science Journalism Program director Deborah Blum. “It was heartening to see so many insightful and superbly advised tales throughout such a variety of environmental points. These works are a reminder of simply how integral science is to our on a regular basis lives, and the way essential it’s that native journalists obtain help to inform these tales.”
Named after the Knight Science Journalism Program’s founding director, the Victor Okay. McElheny Award was established to honor excellent protection of science, public-health, know-how, and environmental points on the native and regional stage. Members of the successful “Timber Wars” crew will obtain the award’s $5,000 prize. Because of the pandemic, the Knight Science Journalism Program is not going to maintain an in-person award ceremony this yr.
The Knight Science Journalism Program extends a particular because of the award’s jury: Rachel Ehrenberg, Knowable Journal; Sujata Gupta, Science Information; Eric Hand, Science; Emily Laber-Warren, Craig Newmark Graduate College of Journalism at CUNY; Dave Spratt, Institute for Journalism & Pure Assets, and screeners. The McElheny Award is made attainable by beneficiant help from Victor Okay. McElheny, Ruth McElheny, and the Rita Allen Basis.
The 2021 McElheny Award honorees:
- “Timber Wars” (Episodes 1 and a pair of), Oregon Public Broadcasting. (Ed Jahn, Aaron Scott, David Steves, Peter Frick-Wright, Robbie Carver, and Laura Gibson)
The Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT, based greater than 30 years in the past, seeks to nurture and improve the power of journalists from all over the world to precisely doc and illuminate the usually advanced intersection of science, know-how, and human tradition. It does so by an acclaimed fellowship program — which hosts 10 or extra journalists each educational yr — and in addition by
science-focused seminars, skills-focused grasp lessons, workshops, and publications. Because it started, this system has hosted greater than 300 fellows, who proceed to cowl science throughout a variety of platforms in the US, together with The New York Occasions, The Wall Road Journal, Forbes, Time, Scientific American, Science, the Related Press, and broadcast shops starting from ABC Information to CNN, in addition to in quite a few different nations.