COLLEGE PARK (2/25/20) —Code Red: Baltimore’s Climate Divide,” a collaboration between the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, NPR and Capital News Service, was named a finalist for a prestigious Scripps Howard Award on Tuesday.

The project was nominated in the Topic of the Year category, with the 2019 topic being “The Impact of Climate Change on Communities.” The other finalists were The Center for Public Integrity’s “One Disaster Away” and The Boston Globe’s “At the Edge of a Warming World.” Winners will be announced March 3, with awards being presented April 16.

“Code Red,” the Howard Center’s inaugural project, and NPR’s “Heat and Health in American Cities” explored the disproportionate impact a warming climate has on residents of primarily poor, urban neighborhoods. The findings of the months-long investigation were presented in stories, photos, graphics, videos and interactives.

NPR produced national stories connected to the partnership that aired on “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.”

The project previously claimed two professional awards. It was named the 2019 recipient of the National Press Foundation’s Innovative Storytelling Award, a major professional honor won by The Washington Post the three prior years. It also earned honorable mention in the 2019 Philip Meyer Journalism Award competition.

The multimedia project brought together professional reporters and Merrill College students with experts from across the University of Maryland. Baltimore-based Wide Angle Youth Media’s students also contributed by writing blog posts, working as photojournalists and helping build the sensors used in the project. 

Howard Center and CNS faculty taught students to build low-cost sensors to gather temperature and humidity data from inside Baltimore homes, inspired by a project done in New York.

Through an additional $50,000 grant from the Online News Association, Merrill College will share its “Code Red” sensor technology as well as its data and reporting methodology at no cost with news organizations or community groups throughout the country that want to explore the impact the climate crisis is having in their backyards.

“Code Red” premiered in September on CNS, NPR, Baltimore’s WMAR-TV and The Associated Press. AP distributed the project nationwide; stories appeared on more than 700 national and regional news websites, including The Washington Post and ABC News.

The Baltimore Sun also published the full project.

“Code Red” was supported by the Scripps Howard Foundation and grants from the Park Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Online News Association’s Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education.

For more information, contact:
Josh Land