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Pulitzer Center Update June 22, 2023

Pulitzer Center Projects Named Finalists in Climate Journalism Awards

Men drill into ice that has accumulated on the deck of a ship


Into the Ice

Climatic changes have put a legendary winter snow crab fishery at a perilous crossroads.

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Multiple Authors
an ice crab fishing boat at night surrounded by ice
Image by Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News.


Four Pulitzer Center-supported projects and a Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellow have been recognized as finalists in the 2023 Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards. Selected from over 1,100 entries, they represent the best in climate reporting.

The project Into the Ice: A Crab Boat’s Quest for Snow Crab in a Bering Sea Upended by Climate Change is a finalist in the photography category. A collaboration between the Pulitzer Center, the Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times, the project features grantee Loren Holmes’ photographs of a snow crab fishing boat and its crew’s perilous journey into the Bering Sea. Once abundant, the historic Alaska fishery must now venture farther north to find snow crabs, risking choppier waters farther from shore. Holmes’ images, alongside grantee Hal Bernton’s reporting, document potentially deadly ice accumulation on the boat, malfunctioning equipment, and a crew risking their lives to sustain their livelihoods.

The Illegal Airstrips Bringing Toxic Mining to Brazil’s Indigenous Land,” a Pulitzer Center-supported collaboration between The New York Times and The Intercept Brasil, is a finalist in the multimedia category. Rainforest Investigations Fellow Manuela Andreoni and Rainforest Journalism Fund grantee Victor Moriyama were part of a team that developed an AI tool to reveal an extensive network of illegal landing strips that allow mining companies unlawful access to Indigenous territories. The investigation identified and mapped over 1,200 illegal airstrips, which fuel illicit mining activity and contaminate water and food supplies for surrounding communities, with no government intervention. CCNow judges said they were “blown away” by the “incredibly ambitious effort.”

In the engagement category, RIN Fellow Elisângela Mendonça and RJF Amazon grantee Fábio Zuker are finalists for their story “What Does Your Food Have To Do With the Invasion of Indigenous Land?” The journalists visually document how cattle ranchers are illegally encroaching on Mỹky Indigenous territory in Brazil, driving deforestation to feed a global market for beef. The team engaged a Mỹky filmmaker collective to gather interviews and evidence from within their own community.

RJF grantee Patrick Vanier’s documentary video for Le Monde, Amazonia, the Sunken Archipelago, is a finalist in the long-form video category. Vanier and his team document the Bailique archipelago at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil, which is slowly disappearing due to climate change-driven erosion. Vanier’s interviews with the residents of Bailique express the devastating effects of climate change and other human activities, including beef production and dams, on their community.

2022 Pulitzer Center Climate Science Reporting Fellow Christian Elliott is a finalist for CCNow’s Student Journalist of the Year. Elliott is an environmental journalist with a focus on audio reporting; his stories have appeared in National Geographic, Deutsche Welle, WBEZ, Chicago Public Media, Discover Magazine, and more. As a Reporting Fellow, Elliott followed a group of paleoclimatologists as they attempted to find the Earth’s oldest ice. But he did not want to document scientific fieldwork in the traditional sense—instead, Elliott focused on the back-end lab work done by younger scientists and the lack of diversity in the field. Elliott is a 2022 graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism and is currently an audio storytelling intern for NASA, where he produces the Curious Universe podcast.

The CCNow awards, now in their third year, honor “the best global coverage of the climate emergency and its solutions.” The winners will be announced in September 2023 during Climate Week.

See the full list of finalists here.


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