Seattle Times staffers won four first-place awards, including three for the newspaper’s “Sea Change” series on the dangers of ocean acidification, in “Best of the West” journalism awards announced today.
The “Sea Change” package took first place for project reporting –- by reporter Craig Welch and photographer Steve Ringman –- as well as top honors for team efforts in video storytelling and online presentation.
The Times also took first place in breaking news for coverage of the Interstate 5 Skagit River Bridge collapse.
Times editorial writers Jonathan Martin and Bruce Ramsey took third place in editorial writing for chastising the state’s congressional delegation for remaining silent on marijuana laws even after state voters approved legalization.
The contest, administered by the nonprofit First Amendment Funding, based in Arizona, began in 1988 and draws about 1,000 entries a year from journalists in 14 states from the Rocky Mountains to Alaska and Hawaii.
In honoring “Sea Change,” judges noted that Welch and Ringman “embarked on an extraordinarily ambitious project with the world’s greatest ocean as their beat.” Judges said the project’s online and video presentations reflected a team approach that “created a science story that was compelling and emotional.”
On the Times’ coverage of the Skagit River Bridge collapse, a judge said the newspaper’s response to the incident “was immediate and comprehensive … reporting, social media, visual and graphics teams provided not only immediate updates, video and a strong graphics report but comprehensive analysis and detailed information on traffic detours and the survivors.”
In other awards to Seattle-area media, the Seattle Weekly took first place in arts and entertainment for a piece that examined the direction of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. The (Tacoma) News Tribune took first place in explanatory reporting for a series on the crisis in the mental-health system, and second place in business and financial reporting for exploring the effects of large investment funds buying up homes across in Pierce County.