Times series (on ocean acidification) wins major multimedia award

A Seattle Times multimedia project about acidification of the Pacific Ocean, has won a duPont award — an honor considered the equivalent to a Pulitzer Prize.

The Seattle Times was named one of the winners of the 2015 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for the multimedia project, “Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn,” which illuminated one of the planet’s gravest environmental threats, the acidification of the ocean.

The winning entries were announced Wednesday by Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The duPont award is considered one of the most prestigious in broadcast, documentary and digital news and is considered equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize.

Contest jurors said The Seattle Times’ winning entry skillfully integrated video, slideshows, graphics and text to explain a rarely discussed consequence of global warming.

“Winning one of the highest honors in broadcast journalism for ‘Sea Change’ underscores that The Seattle Times newsroom can do top-notch video and digital storytelling, as well as text and traditional visual journalism,” Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best said.

The Columbia’s Journalism School’s webpage explains what made “Sea Change” a winning entry:

“This far-reaching and illuminating report skillfully integrates video, slideshows, graphics and text to explore a rarely discussed consequence of global warming — the acidification of the ocean. With strong visuals and clear writing, the intrepid series of reports travels from Oregon and the state of Washington all the way to Hawaii and Papua New Guinea. This little known issue was effectively explained in a compelling and comprehensive introductory video that demonstrated the potential impact on marine life. Text and video enhanced each other providing personal testimony, hard science and a real sense of the scale of the problem. This exhaustive work was beautifully presented and showcased the power of storytelling on the Web.”

Danny Gawlowski, video producer for the series, said, “It’s a real honor for us, as a traditionally print-news organization, to receive one of the highest honors in broadcast journalism, and I think it shows how quickly we’ve advanced with our video program, which is only a few years old.”

Among the 13 other duPont winners were Netflix, which won for “Virunga,” a documentary that examines the tensions between global politics and environmentalism and CNN’s “WEED: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports,” about medical marijuana.

PBS also won for “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” which describes 500 years of American history from an African-American perspective. Boston’s WGBH “Frontline” won for “United States of Secrets,” which provides the inside story behind the U.S. government’s secret monitoring of its citizens.

“We’re thrilled to be in such amazing company,” said environmental reporter Craig Welch. “But this is really a testament to how a great photographer and talented video editors, graphics editors and Web designers can transform even a series about chemistry into something dynamic, poignant and beautiful.”

In addition to Gawlowski and Welch, photographer and videographer Steve Ringman, digital designer Katrina Barlow and video producer Genevieve Alvarez worked on the “Sea Change” project.

Gawlowski said The Seattle Times editors and leaders deserve kudos for “pursuing a story of such global importance and taking the time to do it right.”

Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, 17 december 2014. Article.

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