The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won the Edward J. Meeman award for environmental reporting from the Scripps Howard Foundation for its "Chemical Fallout” series, which concentrated on bisphenol A safety and related regulatory issues. According to a Journal Sentinel story on the award:
One of the Scripps judges, Beth Parke, executive director of the Society of Environmental Journalists, lauded the team and the newspaper for doing the work "that took the place of government agencies and public health officials." "Here is a news organization doing the job to look out for the public's health and safety," she said.I think it's worth keeping track of which plastics-related stories are winning big journalism awards. Remember that in 2007 the Los Angeles Times won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting for "Altered Oceans," its series that on marine debris. That coverage helped focus a lot of attention on the issue, and the plastics industry is still dealing with it today. The Journal Sentinel's work on BPA is already generating a similar reaction -- and I think it's just beginning. When the Milwaukee paper first started researching chemical safety, one of their reporters called me for background. I clearly remember telling him that BPA was a back-burner issue for the plastics industry. Marine debris, plastic bag recycling, Chinese product safety and PET water bottle waste were getting a lot more attention. Things certainly can change quickly when the mainstream media focuses attention on an issue.