StateImpact Pennsylvania earns national honor

Written by Staff Report/WITF | May 1, 2017 12:45 PM
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(Undated) -- StateImpact Pennsylvania has earned national recognition for its work to cover the commonwealth's energy economy, for the sixth time since 2012.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has honored StateImpact Pennsylvania's, "After the Boom," with a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Audio Slide show. Marie Cusick's story revisited Towanda in Bradford County, four years after StateImpact Pennsylvania profiled the community to see how the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom was changing the pace of life. "After the Boom" focused on what happened after the rigs left town.  Along with Cusick, WITF's Multimedia News Director Tim Lambert, WITF's Motion Graphic Artist & Interactive Designer Tom Downing and freelance photographer Ian Sterling were recognized for their contributions to the project.

"I am honored to see StateImpact Pennsylvania's work recognized and to be part of the WITF team," says Cusick. "This story represents more than four years of work by many people who were committed to covering this remote region of Pennsylvania, which has nevertheless become an important place in the nation's changing energy landscape."

"We are honored by Sigma Delta Chi's recognition for "After the Boom," which was an important effort to tell the full natural resource story--including what happens when the benefits fade," said Kathleen Pavelko, WITF's President and CEO. "This is a well deserved national recognition for Marie Cusick, Tom Downing, Ian Sterling and Tim Lambert."

The Sigma Delta Chi Awards recognize the best in professional journalism in categories covering print, radio, television, newsletters, art/graphics, online and research.

"WITF has focused on a handful of beats to cover underreported issues in Pennsylvania. StateImpact Pennsylvania has been a tremendous model through its collaboration with our partners at WHYY and its focus on data-driven, 'boots on the ground' journalism," says Cara Williams Fry, WITF's Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer.

StateImpact Pennsylvania is a collaboration between WITF and WHYY in Philadelphia that was launched in June 2011. Over that span, the work of Susan Phillips, Cusick and former StateImpact Pennsylvania reporters Scott Detrow and Katie Colaneri has been honored with some of journalism's most prestigious awards for their work in both broadcast and online -- including the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton in 2012, two Radio Television Digital News Association National Edward R. Murrow (RTDNA) awards (in 2013 and 2014) 2014 Public Radio News Directors Incorporated second-place award in the Soft Feature category and a finalist honor in the Online News Association's Online Journalism Awards for Topical Reportingin 2015. The project has also been recognized multiple times with RTDNA Regional Murrow Awards in both the large and small market radio categories, including for Writing, Investigative Reporting, Hard News Feature and Best Website.

"Pennsylvania has long experienced boom and busts in the energy industry and we were hoping to illustrate that with "After the Boom," says Lambert. "To have the work recognized on a national level is just a tremendous honor. We are extremely proud of our work with WHYY over the years to produce some of the most consistent and high-level reporting on how the state has dealt with the natural gas boom and ensuing slowdown."

The only other Pennsylvania media organization recognized by SPJ was Pennlive. It was honored in the Non-Deadline Reporting (Affiliated) Online Reporting category for "The Long Walk Home From War," by John Luciew and Joe Hermitt.

Judges chose the recipients from entries in categories covering print, radio, television and online. The awards recognize outstanding work published or broadcast in 2016.

The awards dinner is scheduled to be held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Friday, June 23.

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