Pennsylvania

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StateImpact Pennsylvania Wins duPont-Columbia Award

Columbia University

StateImpact Pennsylvania’s coverage of natural gas drilling has won the DuPont-Columbia Award. In its citation, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism says the project, “showed the significant impact of natural gas drilling on Pennsylvania residents, and is an important model for reporting on local issues.”

Columbia awards the DuPont to about a dozen broadcast news organizations each year, and regards the honor as, “the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes,” which the school also administers.

Here are the reports StateImpact Pennsylvania won for:

Can Pennsylvania’s State Forests Survive Additional Marcellus Shale Drilling? (September 12, 2011)

Under Democratic Governor Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania leased more than 100,000 acres of state forest land for natural gas drilling. When a member of Republican Governor Tom Corbett’s administration advocated for additional leasing, Scott Detrow explored how gas extraction was affecting Pennsylvania’s forests.

Dimock: A Town Divided (March 28, 2012)

What happens when gas drilling pits neighbor against neighbor? The tiny village of Dimock, Susquehanna County may be known across the world, but not for reasons townsfolk would want. Susan Phillips talked to residents on both sides of the debate.

Explaining Pennsylvania’s Link To Ohio Earthquakes (April 4, 2012)

The Environmental Protection Agency says the best place for fracking waste to go is deep underground, into injection wells. But when the disposed fluid hits fault lines, it can trigger earthquakes. Scott Detrow reports on tremors that shook Youngstown, Ohio in December 2011.  

A Link Between Heavy Drilling And Illness? Doctors Search For Solid Answers (April 27, 2012)

Are there links between drilling and illness? Susan Phillips followed the path of one Washington County doctor as she searched for answers to help her patients.

Residents Fed Up With Bad Water Flee Shale Drilling Areas (April 30, 2012)

Some Pennsylvania residents who say Marcellus Shale activity has ruined their water supplies are packing up and moving away from drilling areas. Susan Phillips covered the story of one family from Butler County.

Shale Play: Tracking Marcellus Shale Drilling in Pennsylvania (December 14, 2011)

Who’s drilling where? StateImpact Pennsylvania used data provided by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection to build an interactive application documenting every drilled Marcellus Shale well. The Shale Play app allows users to track violations, county and municipal-level drilling activity, and see every well each company has drilled. NPR developers Chris Amico and Danny DeBelius, along with Database Reporting Coordinator Matt Stiles, worked with reporter Scott Detrow to create the app.

Here’s what the judges had to say about StateImpact Pennsylvania’s reporting:

“This joint reporting project from witf in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia, and NPR showed the significant impact of natural gas drilling on Pennsylvania residents, and is an important model for reporting on local issues. Reporters Susan Phillips and Scott Detrow covered the public policy, fiscal and environmental impact of the state’s booming energy economy, with a focus on Marcellus Shale drilling. Their broadcast reports were heard on public radio stations across Pennsylvania and on a dedicated web site featuring multimedia, data-driven stories. Their work revealed previously unreported aspects of a new gas drilling law, including a provision that would require health professionals to sign confidentiality agreements in order to get access to chemical exposure information and developments in the state’s efforts to establish a natural gas impact fee.”


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