A two-day Spokesman-Review series of stories and photos about uranium mine radiation and high cancer rates on the Spokane Indian Reservation was the best environmental reporting in a metro Northwest newspaper last year, a leading journalism organization said.
“ Radioactivity on the reservation” by environment reporter Becky Kramer and former staff photographer Jed Conklin won first place in Environment and Science Reporting among large newspapers in the 2011 Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Excellence in Journalism Competition.
The series, published June 5 and 6, was the culmination of nearly nine months of work. It explored the impact on tribal workers of the open-pit Midnite Mine near Wellpinit, Wash., northwest of Spokane.
Results of the five-state contest were announced Saturday. The Spokesman-Review competes among newspapers with daily circulation over 65,000.
The Spokesman-Review won six other awards in the SPJ competition:
• Second, Dan Pelle, for feature photography, “Seasonal suspension.”
• Second, Liz Kishimoto, online gallery/slideshow, “ A world apart, a common bond,” which explored similar images from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the April 2011 tornadoes in the United States
• Third, Jody Lawrence-Turner, education reporting, “ Controlled success,” about academic improvements made – in part through strict discipline – at Rogers High School.
• Third, Alison Boggs, health reporting, “ Ironman: A journey to wellness,” about Tom Aylward, of Spirit Lake, and his effort to get in shape and compete in the 2011 Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene.
• Third, Kathy Plonka, news photography, “Extending a warming welcome,” showing a man last fall checking out a new warming shelter in in Post Falls.
• Third, Dan Pelle, photo portfolio.