High Country News has won the Thomas L. Stokes Award for Best Energy and Environment Writing for its reporting on the aftermath of a fracking site explosion in Colorado.
National Press Foundation judges said: “High Country News produced a gripping story about what can go terribly wrong in fracking, weaving strong local reporting into a multimedia narrative that captured the fear and alarm in the aftermath of the 2017 explosion. Fracking accidents like the Windsor fire prompted the Colorado legislature to pass a bill giving cities and counties more voice in regulating oil and gas development.”
Journalists Daniel Glick and Jason Plautz of The Story Group reported the winning entry for High Country News, with visual storytelling by colleague Ted Wood. The Stokes award carries a $2,000 prize.
Judges gave an honorable mention to Reuters for “Ocean Shock,” a project on how climate change is forcing an unprecedented fish migration, which it called “an epic underwater refugee crisis.”
The Stokes Award was established in the spring of 1959 by friends and admirers of the late Thomas L. Stokes, a syndicated Washington columnist on national affairs. It is given annually for the best reporting “in the independent spirit of Tom Stokes” on subjects of interest to him including energy, natural resources and the environment.
Judges for the Stokes award were Rod Kuckro of E&E News, Ronnie Greene of Thomson Reuters and Tom Davidson of Gannett.
The National Press Foundation is an independent nonprofit that is run by and for journalists. NPF’s sole mission is to educate journalists about today’s most pressing issues and critical toolbox training.