COLLEGE PARK (6/26/20) — The climate change project from the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, NPR and Capital News Service has been named the first winner of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for Collaborative Journalism, SPJ announced Friday.
This marks the fifth major professional award for the inaugural project from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s Howard Center.
The new awards category is for two or more unrelated organizations in which at least one is a college, university or similar academic program that has contributed significantly. This award recognizes collaborative team reporting on a topic involving both professional and student reporting teams.
The Howard Center’s “Code Red: Baltimore’s Climate Divide” 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.”
“We are thrilled that the Howard Center and Capital News Service are the inaugural winners of the collaborative journalism award,’’ said Kathy Best, director of the Howard Center. “Collaboration is key to our mission. We teach students to work across disciplines — data, reporting, digital design, visuals — because working together strengthens their journalism no matter what platform it’s for. That’s a skill that will make them more valuable when they’re hired into a newsroom.’’
The project previously claimed four major professional awards: a Scripps Howard Award in the Topic of the Year category, the National Press Foundation’s Innovative Storytelling Award, the News Leaders Association’s Punch Sulzberger Award for Innovative Storytelling and an honorable mention in the 2019 Philip Meyer Journalism Award competition.
Additionally, the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation named the project one of 10 finalists for its Digital Media Award.
The Sigma Delta Chi Awards date to 1932, and recognize the best in professional journalism in categories covering print, radio, television, newsletters, art/graphics, online and research.