2016 Prize Announced
“Pumped Dry: The Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater,” a joint project of The Desert Sun and USA Today, has won the 2016 Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. The prize goes to Desert Sun reporter Ian James, USA Today’s Steve Elfers, a videojournalist, and Steve Reilly, a reporter and data specialist. The judges also gave a Special Recognition citation to the ProPublica series “Killing the Colorado.”
The award will be presented at the annual Knight-Risser Prize Symposium to be held at Stanford University at a time still to be announced. More details and registration info will be available soon.
2016 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium
Respiratory problems are common among adults and children living near active oil wells and natural gas fracking sites. But it’s a hard to prove a link. At the 2016 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium, the journalists Jim Morris and Susan White joined a panel of experts to discuss the challenge of reporting stories like their 2015 Knight-Risser Prize winning investigation “Big Oil, Bad Air.”
We are pleased to announce that ‘Big Oil, Bad Air’,” a joint investigation by The Center for Public Integrity, InsideClimate News and The Weather Channel has been named winner of the 2015 Knight-Risser Prize. Please join us in congratulating the team of Jim Morris, Lisa Song, David Hasemeyer, Susan White, Greg Gilderman, and all of their colleagues. The judges also gave a Special Recognition citation to the story "Warehouse Empire," by Jessica Garrison of BuzzFeed News.
The award will be presented at the annual Knight-Risser Prize Symposium to be held at Stanford University in early 2016. More details and registration info will be available soon.
2015 Knight-Risser Prize SymposiumKnight-Risser Prize Symposium, journalists and scientists discussed the challenge of explaining slow-moving environmental changes in an impactful way. Exhibit A: The Seattle Times’ prize-winning series “Sea Change,” which explored ocean acidification, the lesser-known twin of global warming.
2015 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium
PRIZE WINNER Q&A
Reporter Craig Welch and photojournalist Steve Ringman interviewed about 150 people for their project “Sea Change,” the 2014 winner of the Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. But the key to success, they tell the Knight-Risser Prize, was much closer to home – their relationship with each other.
Welch and Ringman will join a panel discussion at the Knight-Risser Prize Symposium at Stanford University on February 25. Register now to attend.
We are pleased to announce that the Seattle Times has been chosen as the winner of the 2014 Knight-Risser Prize for “Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn,” a multimedia series about the hazards of rising ocean acidification. Please join us in congratulating the reporter Craig Welch, the photographer Steve Ringman, and the entire Seattle Times team. The judges also gave a Special Recognition citation to the series "Aquifer at Risk," by Ian James and Jay Calderon of The Desert Sun.
2014 Knight-Risser Prize SymposiumThe 2014 Knight-Risser Symposium brought together a panel of journalists and scientists to consider this and other questions raised by the 2013 prize winner, "A Killing Agency," which shed light on the little-known federal animal control organization Wildlife Services.
We are pleased to announce that the Sacramento Bee has been chosen as the winner of the 2013 Knight-Risser Prize for "The Killing Agency," a series about a little-known U.S. Department of Agriculture agency whose strategy for controlling animals has killed millions of predators and other species across the West.
The judges also gave a Special Recognition citation to the series "Clean Water: The Next Act," a collaboration of InvestigateWest and Oregon Public Broadcasting's EarthFix.
2013 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium
How is technology changing wildlife reporting? The 2013 Knight-Risser Symposium brought together a panel of journalists and scientists to consider this and other questions raised by the 2012 prize winner, "Perilous Passages," which chronicled the epic migration of pronghorn antelope in Wyoming.
Judges have awarded the 2012 Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism to "Perilous Passages," a High Country News report by Emilene Ostlind, photographer and biologist Joe Riis, and contributors Mary Ellen Hannibal and Cally Carswell. Including graphics, maps, video, and striking nature photography, the report gives readers a first-hand view of the pronghorns' journey along a 120-mile route through Wyoming that is studded with obstacles, from roads and fences to the region's booming natural gas fields.
The award will be presented at a Knight-Risser Prize Symposium to be held in 2013. More details will be coming soon on the symposium.
The judges also gave a Special Citation to Lynda Mapes and her colleagues at The Seattle Times for "Elwha: The Grand Experiment," about the largest dam-removal project in the history of North America.
2012 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium
The Knight-Risser Symposium on January 25 brought together a distinguished group of journalists and scholars to consider how to broaden the reach of environmental journalism in a time of growing threats to western communities.
Read a recap of the symposium with full video and audio of the proceedings.
"Dry Times," a comprehensive report in Denver's 5280 magazine on state water shortages, is the winner of the 2011 Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. The authors, Natasha Gardner and Patrick Doyle, will receive $5,000 at The Knight-Risser Prize Symposium on January 25, 2012 at Stanford University. The symposium will be dedicated to the topic of journalism and western water issues.
Prize judges also gave Special Citations of recognition to David Wolman for "Accidental Wilderness," published in High Country News, and Julia Scott, Sasha Khokha and Christopher Beaver for "Nitrate Contamination Spreading in California Communities," distributed by KQED Radio and California Watch.
Thanks to you, we've established a permanent endowment to reward, showcase and inspire environmental journalism in the West. Your generous contributions have matched the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's 2:1 challenge grant, and secured $300,000 to permanently endow the prize and symposium.
We want to take a moment to salute the people whose generous support was instrumental in endowing the prize.
The period for entering 2010 work for the Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism ended at midnight, Hawaii time on March 16. We are grateful to all of the organizations and individuals who submitted their work for the inaugural year of our revamped program. We're excited at the range of great environmental reporting that we are seeing in the entries, as well as the signs of journalism innovation that is part of our new, expanded focus.
We look forward to spending time with all of the entries, and will be back later this year with news about the winners and the annual Knight-Risser Prize Symposium at Stanford University.
We would also like to take this time to thank the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for their generous support of the prize and symposium, and to all the friends of the prize who contributed to the Knight Foundation's 2:1 match. We are close to the finish line, and hope that we can get tax-deductible contributions in any amount to help us over the top. For more information, please see our donation page. And thanks!
2011 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium
We've published a recap of this year's Knight-Risser Prize Symposium, "The Crisis In Environmental Watchdog Journalism," held at Stanford Nov. 17, one of the highlights being Prize winner Lewis Kamb's announcement that he'll be contributing part of his winnings to a new nonprofit cooperative, Investigate West..
If you'd like to join Lewis in supporting Investigate West, you can contribute on their site. There's also still time to participate in our endowment drive, where your contributions to the Knight Risser Prize will be matched 2:1 by the Knight Foundation!
2010 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium
For Seattle Times journalist Hal Bernton, a picture turned out to be worth more than a thousand words. It kicked off an investigation into the link between logging permit practices and a storm’s extraordinary devastation. And the graphic “visualization” the team went on to produce was worth a million.
The photo was one of a few aerial shots photographer taken by Steve Ringman. It showed the top of a mountain with nearly all its soil swept away, the extreme denuding the result of a monstrous rainstorm in 2007 – and, clear-cutting on the forest top.