April 07, 2020

BDN wins top award from journalists environmental group

BURLINGTON, Vt. – A team of staff members from the Bangor Daily News won top honors this week from the Society of Environmental Journalists for a project that examined the science behind global warming.

The BDN’s package “Our Changing World: Understanding the Science of Climate Change” received the first-place prize in the SEJ’s national environmental reporting competition for smaller-market print publications. The award was presented this week at the journalism organization’s annual conference in Burlington, Vt.

Published in January, the 12-page special section highlighted much of the groundbreaking scientific research taking place at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute. The section was also intended to become a teaching tool for schools. Nearly 4,500 copies have since been distributed to schools.

“Because we take our Newspapers in Education program very seriously, we’re constantly looking for projects with broad public appeal that also have specific application in the classroom,” executive editor Mark Woodward said Friday during a panel discussion at the conference on media coverage of climate change.

In remarks accompanying the award, judges called the climate change package a “remarkable, ambitious report [that] featured a superb team effort, starting with Misty Edgecomb’s reporting and writing.”

Edgecomb, the paper’s former environmental reporter and a Limestone native, accepted the award on behalf of the paper.

“Day to day, it’s hard to report on all the details that make climate change the most fascinating and frightening environmental issue out there today. I’m thrilled that SEJ appreciated our effort to dig deeper,” said Edgecomb, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in literary nonfiction at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication.

The award recognized the following BDN illustrators, photographers, editors and lay-out artists who helped produce the project: Jonathan Ferland, Eric Zelz, John Clark Russ, Scott Haskell, Rick Levasseur, Brian Robitaille, Becky Bowden, Greg McManus, Charlie Campo and Janet Sargent.

The Society of Environmental Journalists also recognized the work of one other Maine journalist.

Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s Susan P. Sharon won first prize in the smaller-market radio reporting category for her series of radio segments on allegations of backroom negotiations and other questionable dealings between officials at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and large paper mills.

SEJ is the only national journalism organization of working journalists committed to improving coverage of environmental issues. More than 800 people attended the group’s conference.

The Bangor Daily News special section “Our Changing World: Understanding the Science of Climate Change” is available online at: www.bangordailynews.com/

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