by Jodi Peterson
We are delighted to announce that Boston-based journalist Lisa Song (an HCN intern in 2010) has won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, along with her InsideClimate News colleagues Elizabeth McGowan and David Hasemyer. They received journalism's premier award for "The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard Of."
"The story grew out of our coverage of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry dilbit (diluted bitumen), a type of heavy oil from Canada's tar sands," writes Lisa. "Elizabeth went to Michigan to report on the cleanup of a massive dilbit spill from 2010, and she realized it was a huge story because the dilbit was much harder to clean up than conventional oil, and regulators weren't prepared for that. The industry plans to build thousands of miles of pipelines to ship dilbit into the U.S., so this debate isn't going to end anytime soon." Pulitzer judges praised the journalists' "rigorous reports on flawed regulation of the nation's oil pipelines." Congratulations to the team and especially to Lisa; you make us proud!
HCN board member and noted science writer Florence Williams recently received the Los Angeles Times Book Award in the science and technology category for Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History (Norton), which was also named a 2012 New York Times Notable book. "Williams weaves together research on nutrition, cancer, psychology and even structural engineering to create a fascinating portrait of the breast: that singular gland that gave us, as mammals, our very name," writes science journalist Carl Zimmer. Great work, Florence.
A longtime HCN friend, Caroline Byrd, has been named executive director of the nonprofit Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Caroline, an HCN intern in 1992, served on the HCN board from 1997 to 2008, including two years as president. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition has more than 20 staffers working on issues ranging from wolves to land-use planning, so she'll have her hands full. We wish her the best.
Not many people make it to HCN's western Colorado digs in early spring, but a few intrepid souls came by, including Gudmund Frandsen, a Dane on his first visit to Colorado. His host, Denver resident Heather Scott, thought Paonia would be the best place to start their March trip: "It's my favorite town in Colorado." The pair, who met when Heather visited Denmark nine years ago, were headed to Santa Fe next.
Longtime HCN subscriber Chad Corbin stopped by our Paonia headquarters in April while his fiancée, Shan Wo, a structural engineer, checked out an old building down the road in Hotchkiss. The two were headed back to their Boulder, Colo., home after riding desert trails on their mountain bikes.
Farewell to two noted journalists
Debra Weyermann died March 12 at the age of 58 in Pensacola, Fla. An award-winning journalist, she worked for The Arizona Daily Star and The Denver Post, freelanced for The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone and Harper's, and wrote two books, including an exposé of the notorious Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its abusive polygamist leader, Warren Jeffs. Debra wrote our June 18, 2012, cover story on the FLDS church in Utah and Arizona, "The Darkest Shade of Polygamy."
Kathie Durbin, an author and award-winning environmental journalist, died March 15 in a Portland, Ore., hospice at the age of 68. Kathie worked at several Washington and Oregon newspapers and wrote three books, including the forthcoming The Columbia River Gorge: Bridging a Great Divide (Oregon State University Press). She also wrote many stories for HCN on logging and dam removal issues. Kathie loved the Pacific Northwest and was a poet and avid traveler.© High Country News