Waves of praise roll in for Altered Oceans series


News Release of the Grantham Foundation.

Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling of the Los Angeles Times are the 2007 winners of the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment. Weiss and McFarling will receive the $75,000 prize for their five-part series “Altered Oceans,” about a profound disturbance in the ecology of the world’s oceans.
Grantham Prize Jurors noted that the reporters on the July 30-August 3, 2006, series “did more than simply research the literature and talk to the best minds. They went to the scene to make the case. This extraordinary series gives life to all those generalities about the decline of the oceans in a way that should grab the imaginations not only of politicians responsible for taking corrective steps but also of ordinary readers.”

The public response to the series (available at www.latimes.com/oceans) has been overwhelmingly positive. Leaders of the bipartisan House Oceans Caucus distributed copies to every member of the House. In their cover letter, Caucus members warned that ocean conditions described in the series constitute a threat to national security, the economy and the environment, and called for action to prevent lasting damage. The Los Angeles Times also produced a reprint and DVD of the series for educational use.

Jurors also selected three Award of Special Merit recipients, each receiving a $5,000 award: Eugene Linden for his book The Winds of Change, published by Simon & Schuster; the NOVA Television program “Dimming the Sun,” a DOX Production for NOVA/WGBH and the BBC, produced by Senior Executive Producer Paula S. Apsell, written and produced by David Sington and directed by Duncan Copp; and a team of writers from the East Oregonian Publishing Company for their series, “Our Climate Is Changing ... Ready or Not.”

The Prize jurors said Linden’s book “manages the remarkable feat of bringing a new light to the most written-about environmental challenge of the era, climate change.”

Prize jurors praised the NOVA production for presenting “a different, but critical, take on global warming ... Exceptional production values, great storytelling, and important subject matter make this a fascinating and disturbing report.”

According to jurors, the East Oregonian Publishing Company series “represented an extraordinary effort on the part of a group of small newspapers in the Pacific Northwest. The result is sophisticated, compelling journalism, extraordinary for publications of this size and scope.”

The Grantham Prize and the three Awards of Special Merit will be presented at a September 24, 2007, ceremony and seminar to be held at the Metcalf Institute in Narragansett, R.I.

The Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, based at the University of Rhode Island, and the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment created the Grantham Prize in 2005. The prize honors the work of one journalist or team of journalists for exemplary reporting on the environment. The annual prize is open to journalists, writers and producers in the U.S. and Canada and recognizes nonfiction work published or broadcast in the previous calendar year.

The Grantham Prize was funded by Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham through The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment. The foundation supports natural resource conservation programs both in the United States and internationally.

Metcalf Institute was established in 1997 with funding from three media foundations, the Belo Corporation, the Providence Journal Charitable Foundation and the Philip L. Graham Fund, and the Telaka Foundation. Named for the late Michael P. Metcalf, a visionary in journalism and publisher of The Providence Journal Bulletin, the Metcalf Institute provides science training for journalists to improve the accuracy and clarity of reporting on the environment.

Source: The Grantham Prize News & Announcements