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'State of Denial' reporter honored

Bee Metro Staff

Published Friday, October 22, 2004

The Society of Environmental Journalists has awarded Bee reporter Tom Knudson first place for outstanding in-depth reporting for his series of stories, "State of Denial."

Knudson's coverage, honored Wednesday at the society's annual conference in Pittsburgh, was among 24 print, broadcast and Internet stories chosen for recognition in nine categories.

"State of Denial," which ran as a special section on April 27, 2003, traced resources consumed prolifically in California - namely gasoline and lumber - back to their sources, contrasting the environmental destruction in those countries with the state's protection of its own environment. Judges called the series "a strikingly original series that invited Californians to take a look at their lifestyle support system."

"Traveling from the rain forests of Ecuador, where oil rigs scar the land and people, to the boreal forests of Canada, where loggers leave clear-cut swaths of destruction, Knudson made his readers eyewitnesses to the costs of their hunger for oil and timber," they wrote.

The judges took particular note of the way Knudson turned "the critical eye inward" by reporting on clear-cutting controversies in Canadian forests where The McClatchy Co., The Bee's parent, gets some of its newsprint.

The Society of Environmental Journalists was founded by journalists in 1990 and today has more than 1,500 members. Its goal is to improve "the accuracy, quality and prominence of reporting on complex and often-controversial environmental topics."

The Naples Daily News in Florida took second place for a group project about the Gulf of Mexico and third place went to reporters David Ottawa and Joe Stephens at the Washington Post for an investigative series about The Nature Conservancy.


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