ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten and Joaquin Sapien each won first place in the Society of Environmental Journalists’ 10th annual awards—the world’s largest and most comprehensive awards for journalism on environmental topics. This is the third and second time, respectively, that the reporters have won SEJ awards.
Lustgarten won the Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding In-depth Reporting, Large Market for his reporting on the BP oil spill with Ryan Knutson and PBS Frontline’s Martin Smith and Marcela Gaviria. The series examined BP’s safety and cost-cutting record, environmental and health effects of the spill, the efforts at cleanup and how it all continues to affect workers and communities in the region. “Lustgarten’s ProPublica stories, and the accompanying 53-minute Frontline documentary produced by Smith and his team at Rain Media, put BP and the U.S. government under the microscope,” the judges wrote. “The image that emerged is both chilling and edifying. With the coming push for more oil and gas exploration in tougher to reach places, their powerful journalism could not be more prescient or important. In a category overflowing with extraordinary journalism, the work of Lustgarten and Smith stood out for its depth, clarity and fearlessness—the same qualities that distinguished the work of this category’s namesake, the late Kevin Carmody.”
Sapien, along with former Sarasota Herald-Tribune reporter Aaron Kessler and ProPublica’s news application developer Jeff Larson, won the Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding In-depth Reporting, Small Market for their investigation into Chinese drywall. The series detailed how thousands of homeowners have experienced severe respiratory ailments and corroded electronics from Chinese-made drywall. Several companies that handled the drywall knew there were problems, but didn’t warn consumers or regulators for two years—leading to one of the biggest defective product investigations in U.S. history.
Read their award-winning entries here. And congratulations to everyone involved.