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Climate journalism swept the floor at the prestigious Pulitzer Prizes on Monday (May 4), with The Washington Post winning the explanatory reporting award for its series examining the dangerous effects of a 2 degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures. Other environmental stories were also featured as finalists across various categories, signalling a turning point for climate change in the global agenda.
The Washington Post won the top prize for explanatory reporting for its “2°C: Beyond the Limit” series, which investigated the impacts of temperature rise beyond the threshold that scientists have advised the world to stay within. The award cited the Post’s series as “groundbreaking” and based on the scientific facts.
Meanwhile a number of other climate-related stories were recognised as finalists in various categories, including the New York Times’ reporting on the Trump administration’s war on science and the Los Angeles Times’ interactive piece on the impact of sea-level rise on California’s coastline communities. While all the winners are US-based, with Asian coverage for the most part unrepresented, it’s encouraging to see environmental journalism receive its deserved due.
The Boston Globe was highlighted as a finalist in the feature writing category for its investigation into how climate change is changing life for people in Cape Cod, and The Wall Street Journal was a contender for the national reporting prize for its story on California public utility PG&E and its failures that led to the deadly wildfires that ravaged the state in 2019.
Finally, the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s opinion editorial piece that passionately spoke against the horrific environmental damage that the proposed Twin Metals mine would create was acknowledged as a finalist as well.
Global awareness about our ecological crisis has been amplified thanks to the ongoing work of journalists to communicate scientific findings, and finally recognising the importance of ethical and integritous media is a turning point in terms of public sentiment towards climate and environmental news.
Commenting on the milestone, the global journalism initiative promoting coverage of the climate story Covering Climate Now, which Green Queen is a part of, praised the Pulitzer judges for “validating the need for strong climate journalism as an essential public service”.
“Now, as more and more people around the world are eager to understand the climate crisis and what to do about it, may newsrooms everywhere emulate the climate stories this year’s Pulitzers celebrate.”
Lead image courtesy of Getty Images.