Reporter Elizabeth McGowan knew from her years at newspapers that committing to a months-long, in-depth investigative project would take a tremendous effort, especially for a relatively unknown online environmental news site with just seven full-time reporters.
That effort was vindicated yesterday, when InsideClimate News, a 5-year-old nonprofit news site dedicated to covering the environment, was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for its series on a 2010 pipeline oil spill in Michigan's Kalamazoo River.
The series, "Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard Of," kicked off with a three-part narrative about the spill and the environmental impact of a type of oil called diluted bitumen, or dilbit. McGowan and reporters Lisa Song and David Hasemyer went on to seven more stories on the spill and regulatory issues on pipeline safety.
InsideClimate News, which got about 200,000 page views in the last month, is a nonprofit dependent on donors to fund its efforts. Its core funders are the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Marisla Foundation and the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment.
McGowan said it is a nonpartisan site and very conscious that it not be seen as just another blog. "This is a different way for journalists to practice their trade and make a contribution," she said. "The fourth estate has lost a lot. This is a way we're making a gain."
PUBLIC SERVICE: The Sun Sentinel,
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
BREAKING NEWS REPORTING:
The Denver Post staff.
EDITORIAL WRITING: Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth, Tampa Bay Times.
David Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab, The New York Times.
The New York Times staff.
David Barboza, The New York Times.
FEATURE WRITING: John Branch,
The New York Times.
LOCAL REPORTING: Brad Schrade, Jeremy Olson and Glenn Howatt,
the Star Tribune, Minneapolis.
COMMENTARY: Bret Stephens
of The Wall Street Journal.
CRITICISM: Phillip Kennicott,
The Washington Post.
EDITORIAL CARTOONING: Steve Sack, The Star Tribune, Minneapolis.
BREAKING NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY: Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and
Muhammed Muheisen, Associated Press. FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Freelance photographer Javier Manzano.
DRAMA: Ayad Akhtar's "Disgraced."
HISTORY: Frederik Logevall for
"Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam."
"The Orphan Master's Son."
MUSIC: Caroline Shaw for "Partita
for 8 Voices."