Pulitzer Center grantee Aryn Baker has won the 2023 National Association of Science Writers (NASW) Science in Society Journalism Award for her TIME cover story about the migrant workers who built the 2022 World Cup stadiums in Qatar under extreme heat conditions.
The winning story, “Thousands of Migrant Workers Died in Qatar’s Extreme Heat. The World Cup Forced a Reckoning,” was recognized in the Science Features category. The story was part of Baker’s Center-supported project Too Hot for Work: How Qatar Offers Lessons for the Economy of a Heating Planet, from the Pulitzer Center’s Our Work/Environment initiative on climate and labor.
Baker “deftly uses the high temperatures and deaths of over 1,300 Nepali migrant workers as a lens through which to examine exploitative labor practices and the health risks of working in extremely high heat,” the NASW award announcement said.
“Since the attention from the World Cup, Qatar has become a kind of laboratory for heat protection policies. [Baker] acknowledges the improvements Qatar has made in reducing heat-related deaths, while highlighting the continued failures, loopholes, and data gaps,” the judges wrote. “This deeply reported story has implications for every country dealing with the changing risks of outdoor work.”
Baker is a senior international climate and environment correspondent at TIME, a multiple Pulitzer Center grantee, and now an Ocean Reporting Fellow in the Center's new Ocean Reporting Network. She has also reported with support from Pulitzer Center on Syrian refugees in Europe and U.S. heat safety standards for workers. Her upcoming Ocean Reporting Fellowship project will focus on the politics behind plastic pollution amid negotiations for a United Nations treaty to tackle the problem.
The NASW Awards were established to “recognize investigative or interpretive reporting about the sciences and their impact on society” in 1972, according to the organization.
The 2023 NASW Awards will be presented on October 7, 2023, in Boulder, Colorado as part of the ScienceWriters2023 national conference. The award winners will receive a prize of $2,000. View the full list of award winners here.