Science, Environment, & the 2010 Pulitzers

A tip o’ the hat to these science, environment, and health related Pulitzer winners:

Public Service – The Bristol Herald Courier, Virginia: “For the work of Daniel Gilbert in illuminating the murky mismanagement of natural-gas royalties owed to thousands of land owners in southwest Virginia, spurring remedial action by state lawmakers.”

Investigative Reporting – Sheri Fink of ProPublic, in collaboration with The New York Times Magazine: “For a story that chronicles the urgent life-and-death decisions made by one hospital’s exhausted doctors when they were cut off by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. (Moved by the Board from the Feature Writing category.)”

Explanatory Reporting – Michael Moss and members of The New York Times staff: “For relentless reporting on contaminated hamburger and other food safety issues that, in print and online, spotlighted defects in federal regulation and led to improved practices. (Moved by the Board from the Investigative Reporting category.)”

National Reporting – Matt Richtel and members of The New York Times staff: “For incisive work, in print and online, on the hazardous use of cell phones, computers and other devices while operating cars and trucks, stimulating widespread efforts to curb distracted driving.”

Editorial Cartooning – Mark Fiore, self syndicated: “For his animated cartoons [including a spoof on “Climategate” called “Science-gate”] appearing on, the San Francisco Chronicle Web site, where his biting wit, extensive research and ability to distill complex issues set a high standard for an emerging form of commentary.”

And to these finalists:

Explanatory Reporting: “Dan Egan of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for his path-breaking coverage of how invasive aquatic creatures have disrupted the ecosystem of the Great Lakes and other bodies of water, illuminating the science and politics of an important national issue; The New York Times Staff, and notably Gina Kolata, for their exploration of the lack of progress in the 40-year war on cancer, combining explanation of scientific complexity and the exposure of myths with an empathetic portrayal of the human suffering caused by the disease.”

Local Reporting: “Dave Philipps of The Gazette, Colorado Springs, for his painstaking stories on the spike in violence within a battered combat brigade returning to Fort Carson after bloody deployments to Iraq, leading to increased mental health care for soldiers.”

National Reporting: “Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian of the Los Angeles Times for their tenacious reporting on how design flaws and weak federal oversight contributed to a potentially lethal problem with Toyota vehicles, resulting in corrective steps and a congressional inquiry.”

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Curtis Brainard writes on science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.