Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Pulitzer Prize Finalist

I was surprised, honored, and elated to learn that a series I wrote for the Portland Press Herald was named a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.

The six part series, "Mayday," was about climate change and the Gulf of Maine and appeared in the paper in late October, with the brilliant photographic work of my Press Herald colleague Greg Rec. Here's the paper's own write up.

The prize, also announced at 3pm Eastern yesterday, went to T. Christian Miller of ProPublica and Ken Armstrong of the Marshall Project for a series on police failures in investigating rape. The other finalists were a reporting team from the Wall Street Journal who exposed how pharmaceutic companies relentlessly raise drug prices.

I'm especially pleased that this recognition came for a series on the oceans and climate, a beat I covered relentlessly in the 1990s and early aughts while a foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Chronicle of Higher Education. My first two books -- Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas and The Lobster Coast -- were fully and partially about these issues respectively, one with chapters from Antarctica, Belize, the Marshall Islands, Black Sea and beyond, the other focusing on the Gulf of Maine. I came away from it feeling like readers just weren't that interested, so having "Mayday" honored is especially meaningful.

Thanks to all my colleagues at the Press Herald, the second smallest daily newspaper honored in yesterday's announcements, and especially to my editors there, Cliff Schechtman and Steve Greenlee, designers Brian Robitaille and Karen Beaudoin, cartographer Michael Fisher, and the previously mentioned Greg Rec, photographer extraordinaire. (It's not easy being a small regional paper these days, but we're been doing something right.) And thank you to the Pulitzer judges for this tremendous honor.

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