Pulitzer Center Update

"Sea Change" Wins National Academies' Online Communication Award

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Mbilia floats above the tideflats near her Bajau village and gathers sea urchins. Image by Steve Ringman. Indonesia, 2013.

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Tadi, a Bajau fisherman, spears an octopus in the south Sulawesi region of Indonesia. Image by Steve Ringman. Indonesia, 2013.

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Laoda paddles a boat into position over a coral reef in the Banda Sea before spending the morning diving for reef fish. Image by Steve Ringman. Indonesia, 2013.

Environmental reporter Craig Welch and photographer Steve Ringman of The Seattle Times won the prestigious Online Communication Award from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine for their Pulitzer Center-supported multimedia series "Sea Change: The Pacific's Perilous Turn."

The 2014 National Academies' Communication Awards, supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation as part of the Keck Futures Initiative, recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public.

In its announcement, the National Academies said it honored Welch and Ringman "for a stunning multimedia investigation of the consequences of worldwide ocean acidification."

Winners in the three other categories for this year's awards are:
Book: Dan Fagin, for his book "Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation"
Film/Radio/TV: NPR correspondent Rob Stein, for the six-part radio series "Staying Healthy May Mean Learning to Love Our Microbes"
Newspaper/Magazine:New York Times science reporter Dennis Overbye for "Chasing the Higgs"

Each of the four category winners receive a $20,000 prize. The 2014 award recipients were selected from 335 entries published or aired in 2013.

"We received a record number of submissions on a diverse array of topics," the announcement quoted May Berenbaum, NAS member and chair of the communication awards selection committee, and professor and head of entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Whatever the medium -- print, broadcast, or Internet -- these authors succeeded in making both the process and products of contemporary science not just accessible but absolutely captivating."

"Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn" incorporates months of research that spans hundreds of peer-reviewed studies and weeks of on the ground–or underwater–reporting.

The Seattle Times project connects the ramifications of ocean acidification along Seattle's coastline with the effects of the phenomenon across the globe. With Pulitzer Center support, The Seattle Times team broadened its reporting internationally—from Indonesia and Malaysia to Papua New Guinea and the Philippines—to research zones and indigenous communities, showing how changes in ocean chemistry impact marine life as well as the livelihoods and lives of individuals.

The National Academies award is the latest in a series of honors given to Welch, Ringman and the interactive multimedia series, including the 2014 Online News Association's Online Journalism Award for Explanatory Reporting and the 2013 Scripps Howard Foundation's Edward J. Meeman Award for Environmental Reporting. The series also was nominated by the 35th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards for New Approaches to News & Documentary Programming: Current News.

The 2014 National Academies’ Communication Awards will be held at the National Academy of Sciences Building, on Wednesday, October 15 at 5 pm. Register to attend.

See the full interactive multimedia series by The Seattle Times, including articles, pictures, graphics and video.