The Knight-Risser Prize
for Western Environmental Journalism

James V. Risser awarding the 2005 Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism to Jerd Smith, one of three journalists at the Rocky Mountain News who won for their series The Last Drop, which detailed the degree to which the rivers of Colorado's Rocky Mountains face ominous threats from the thirst of urban development.

2005 Risser Prize Symposium

Water in the West: 21st Century Challenges in a 19th Century Legal Framework.

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Panelists

Barton H. "Buzz" Thompson, Stanford Law School
Jerd Smith, Rocky Mountain News, co-winner, 2005 Risser Prize
Thomas Graff, California regional director, Environmental Defense

Symposium

A trio of authorities on Western water issues gathered at Stanford on Nov. 1 for a symposium that examined whether legal precedents dating from the 19th century are appropriate for solving 21st century water problems.

The symposium, held in Stanford's Green Library, was presented in conjunction with the presentation of the first James V. Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. Todd Hartman, Ken Papaleo and Jerd Smith of the Rocky Mountain News, won the prize for their series, "The Last Drop," which detailed the degree to which the rivers of Colorado's Rocky Mountains face ominous threats from the thirst of urban development.


Knight-Risser Prize Symposiums:

“When the Well Runs Dry: Confronting a Groundwater Crisis” 

2017 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium, January 25, 2017

“Breathless in Texas: Energy Production Puts Air at Risk” 

2016 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium, February 25, 2015

“Troubled Waters: Marine Life and the Threat of Ocean Acidification” 

2015 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium, February 25, 2015

“Deadly Measures: Uncovering a Little-Known Agency's Toll on Wildlife” 

2014 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium, February 5, 2014

“Wildlife, Wired: How Technology Is Changing Nature Reporting” 

2013 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium, February 20, 2013

“Adapting to Dry Times: The Role of the Media in an Increasingly Arid West ” 

2012 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium, January 25, 2012

“The Crisis in Western Environmental Journalism” 

2010-11 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium, November 17, 2010

“Visualizing the Environment” 

2010 Risser Prize Symposium, January 27, 2010

“Environmental Fallout of the Cold War” 

2008 Risser Prize Symposium, March 13, 2008

“Water in the West: 21st Century Challenges in a 19th Century Legal Framework” 

2005 Risser Prize Symposium, November 1, 2005

Digital mapping tools helped the Times’ team’s reporting dig deeper and added another visual punch to their discoveries. The team was among a number of digital graphics advocates who spoke at the symposium, titled “Visualizing the Environment: Mapping Data and Telling Stories in Journalism, Scholarship and Environmental Policy.”

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WINNERS OF THE KNIGHT-RISSER PRIZE
2016
Pumped Dry
The Desert Sun and USA Today
2015
Big Oil, Bad Air
CPI, InsideClimate News, The Weather Channel
2014
Sea Change
The Seattle Times
2013
The Killing Agency
The Sacramento Bee
2012
Perilous Passages
High Country News
2011
Dry Times
5280 Magazine
2010
Chain Saw Scouting
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
2009
Logging and Landslides:
What Went Wrong?
The Seattle Times
2008
Climate Change Hits Home
San Antonio Express-News
2007
Blighted Homeland
The Los Angeles Times
2006
Squeezing Water from a Stone
High Country News