Graphic from ShaleReporter.com. Image by Dimiter Kenarov, Poland, 2012.

For the past four months, www.shalereporter.com, published by Pennsylvania-based Calkins Media, and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting have been investigating the international practice of natural gas extraction commonly known as fracking.

Internationally, the series focuses on Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe and the issues surrounding the risks and rewards of gas drilling in that region. In the United States, the project examines controversies and conflicts in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Featured in this joint project is the work of print journalist Dimiter Kenarov and video journalist Steve Sapienza.

"This has been a great opportunity for both media organizations to extend their reach and add to their audience," said Pulitzer Center Executive Director Jon Sawyer. "It's also a great opportunity for the communities within the midst of this controversy and those who know little about this issue to learn more. Dimiter will be criss-crossing the country connecting with our university partners and other educational institutions to share his findings and hear from these communities about their hopes and concerns over shale gas."

Calkins Media CEO Mark Contreras said: “We are grateful to Pulitzer Center for this meaningful collaboration on an issue that affects us not only in Pennsylvania but throughout the world. Our hope is the high-quality journalism that we have pursued together will add valuable domestic and international context to the issue of shale energy extraction."

Kenarov, known for his work on extractive industries such as natural gas, is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul, Turkey, and a contributing editor at the Virginia Quarterly Review. His work has appeared in Esquire, Outside, The Nation, The International Herald Tribune, and Boston Review, and was recently anthologized in the Best American Travel Writing series.

“Shale gas has become something to everyone. In the last few years, no other energy topic has managed to garner so much global attention and generate so much controversy,” writes Kenarov. “Politicians, business people, economists, scientists, environmentalists, journalists, and citizens have all joined in the fray, each one with their own view on the subject. Some have called shale gas ‘a game changer’ and a path to energy independence and economic revival. Others have looked closely at the environmental dangers of hydraulic fracturing…and our continued dependence on fossil fuels.”

Sapienza, a 2009 Emmy Award-winning documentary producer, has extensive experience in investigative broadcast journalism and has developed content for both Pulitzer Center and NewsHour on PBS. His work has featured water issues in West Africa’s Ivory Coast, illegal gold mining in Peru’s rainforests, landmine survivors in Cambodia, and the HIV crisis in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The entire series of reports can now be found at www.shalereporter.com. The Pulitzer Center will be updating the project with new content throughout the week.

Kenarov will discuss his work at the community forums noted below over the next several months presented by Calkins Media and the Pulitzer Center, in conjunction with local universities. Sapienza will also present his work at the January 29th event in Washington, DC. See the full listing of events. These events are free to the public.

For more information on the investigative series, please contact Keith Briscoe, editor, Calkins Media at kbriscoe@timesonline.com or 724-775-3200 ext. 157. To schedule interviews with Kenarov and/or Sapienza or for more information on the events, please contact Ann Peters, director of development and outreach at Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting at apeters@pulitzercenter.org or 202-797-5267.

From a joint press release issued by Calkins Media in BusinessWire.com.

List of Events

Tuesday, January 29, 5:30-7:30pm
Talks @ Pulitzer Series, Pulitzer Center
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC
Space limited – RSVP required: rsvp@pulitzercenter.org

Thursday, January 31, 5:30-7:00pm
University of Chicago
Ida Noyes Hall 1212 East 59th Street, Chicago, IL

Monday, February 4, 1:00pm
Duquesne University
College Hall 104, Pittsburgh, PA

Tuesday, February 5, 7:00pm
University of Pittsburgh
Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Pittsburgh, PA

Thursday, February 7, 12:00-1:30pm
University of Pennsylvania
Jon M. Huntsman Hall, G90 3760 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
Space limited – RSVP required: theme@gsc.upenn.edu

Tuesday, February 12, 12:30pm
Middlebury College, Burlington, VT

Wednesday, February 13, 6:30pm
University of Miami
Shoma Hall, Room CIB 3053, Miami, FL

Wednesday, February 20, 7:00pm
Kent State University
KIVA, Kent, OH

Monday, February 25, 7:00pm
Ohio University
Walter Hall 235, Athens, OH

Project

Shale gas is an energy phenomenon not just in a broad swath of the United States but in places like eastern Europe, too. In both regions there is a tangled mix of hopes, hype, and concern.

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