Climate media awards highlight injustice and accountability

Security staff under cooling fans at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on July 6, 2024 during a record-breaking heatwave (Frederic J. BROWN)
Security staff under cooling fans at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on July 6, 2024 during a record-breaking heatwave (Frederic J. BROWN)

Exposing universities that use stolen Indigenous land to boost oil production and turning a daily TV weather forecast into a climate update were among the standout work celebrated at the annual Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards unveiled Tuesday.

The successful entries were hailed by CCNow director Mark Hertsgaard for "setting the tone for what it means to be a climate journalist" and providing "a service to the public and a challenge to journalists everywhere."

Tristan Ahtone, an editor-at-large for Grist, was honored for leading an investigation revealing how land-grant universities in the United States use stolen Indigenous land to increase oil and gas production.

Audrey Cerdan, of France Televisions, was recognized after she replaced the national public broadcaster's traditional evening weather forecasts with "weather-climate reports" that boosted viewer numbers.

Another winner was CNN's Rachel Ramirez, who filed stories focused on climate justice while also supporting fellow Pacific Islander journalists via the Uproot Project and the Asian American Journalists Association.

Agence France-Presse won an award for exposing how consultancy giant McKinsey & Company -- which publicly lauds efforts to stop global warming -- behind closed doors at COP28 pushed plans that would enable fossil fuel companies to sustain oil and gas production for decades.

Other news outlets on the roll of honor included local public broadcasters in Louisiana and Connecticut, and newsrooms on the frontline including Philstar.com in the Philippines, the Nigerian Tribune, Uganda's InfoNile and the People's Archive of Rural India.

"Judges were astonished not just at the volume of stories but at their consistent quality,” said Kyle Pope, CCNow head of strategic initiatives.

"In every category, story after story was told with passion and care, informing audiences about the most important story of our time," Pope said.

Covering Climate Now is a global media project that promotes high-quality news coverage as part of tackling climate change.

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