COLLEGE PARK (3/24/20) — The climate change collaboration from the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, NPR and Capital News Service is in the running for another professional award.

The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation has named the project one of 10 finalists for its Digital Media Award. The NIHCM will announce the winners of the 26th Annual Health Care Research and Journalism Awards in the late spring. The winning entry in each category will be given a $15,000 to $20,000 cash prize. The full list of finalists can be found here.

Two alumni were also among the finalists. Former Merrill College master’s student William Wan ’03 is a member The Washington Post’s team nominated for a General Circulation Print Journalism Award. Fellow master’s alum Christopher Weaver ’08 is a member of the The Wall Street Journal’s finalist teams in two categories, General Circulation Print Journalism, and Television and Radio Journalism.

The NIHCM is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to transforming health care through evidence and collaboration.

“Recognizing the immense contributions of researchers and journalists has never been more important. With their dedication to truth and evidence, these outstanding finalists are moving the conversation forward on our nation’s most pressing health care challenges,” NIHCM CEO Nancy Chockley said in a statement.

Code Red: Baltimore’s Climate Divide,” 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 three major professional awards. It most recently won a prestigious Scripps Howard Award in the Topic of the Year category. 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