A Salt Lake Tribune investigation, “Our Dying Forests,” was written to look into the cause of massive red and gray rows of dead trees throughout the Intermountain West. It was awarded a prestigious national environmental reporting prize, The Salt Lake Tribune Reports.
At Tuesday’s ceremony in Washington, D.C., Reporter Brandon Loomis, along with photographer Rick Egan and editor David Noyce, accepted the 2012 Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment, along with $75,000.
Loomis and Egan’s investigation began in 2011. Together they traveled a five-state region talking to researchers, residents, and land managers struggling and often failing to keep ahead of the problem. The issue stems from a natural, cyclical outbreak of bark beetles which has exploded beyond anything witnessed in recorded history.
Loomis’ reporting laid out ample evidence that climate change is creating a more hospitable environment for beetles, and a more perilous future for alpine forests, whether in the Intermountain West’s famous ski areas or the national parks that define the region. The series reported that few of these places will never again look the same in our lifetime.
The Grantham Prize jury praised Loomis and his "methodical research and measured reporting." They noted the series’ "potential to help thousands of readers better understand the small and large impacts of climate change with an approach that can be replicated in newsrooms across America."
Tribune editor Nancy Conway called the series "an important piece of journalism to the community, the region and really, to the nation. We commend Brandon and his team for their extraordinary work and we’re pleased by the acknowledgement they’ve received."
The Grantham Prize was established in 2005 by Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham to recognize journalists for outstanding reporting on the environment and to improve public understanding of critical environmental issues. The Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography administers the prize.
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