Digital mapping tools help the Times’ team dig deeper and add visual clarity to an investigation exposing the link between logging permit practices in Washington and a storm’s extraordinary devastation. A picture alerted them to the connection. Data maps, such as slope steepness and high-risk zones, helped them graphically represent it. The reporters discovered that many of the steepest, highest-landslide-risk areas of the Upper Chehalis River Basin had been allowed to be clear-cut. When the storm hit, this vulnerable slopes gushed mud, debris and timber that buried farms and homes, clogged water systems and drowned herds of cattle.
“Hidden Wells, Dirty Water”
Leah Beth Ward, Yakima Herald-Republic
The series showed that as many as 30,000 residents of the Lower Yakima Valley, most of them Latino farm workers, had been drinking well water contaminated by nitrates - a situation that developed after years of benign neglect by government agencies responsible for public health. One judge said the reporting "alerted communities across the state to the nitrate pollution that appeared in their water supplies through gaps in government oversight and has given a moving portrait of the citizens who are suffering the consequences."
“A Toxic Tale (part of the Dirty Oil series)”
Erik Denison, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation National Radio
Denison's story culminated two years of reporting on how companies mining Alberta's tar sands for oil have been creating lakes of toxic black sludge, causing the deaths of thousands of ducks and raising fears of higher cancer rates. One judge said Denison's reporting "showed great persistence in documenting the myriad troubling consequences of one of the globe's most spectacular and potentially dangerous environmental nightmares. His reporting helped put the tar sands/toxics story on the international map."
“Digital mapping tools help the Times’ team dig deeper and add visual clarity to an investigation exposing the link between logging permit practices in Washington and a storm’s extraordinary devastation.”