image of pittsburgh skyline and rivers

PublicSource nabs 3 nominations for 2020 international online journalism awards

PublicSource, a nonprofit newsroom serving the Pittsburgh region, has been named as a finalist for general excellence, cross-newsroom collaboration and explanatory reporting in the 2020 Online News Association awards. The prestigious awards honor excellence in online journalism worldwide. PublicSource is a finalist for General Excellence in Online Journalism in the micro newsrooms category (newsrooms fewer than 15 people) along with El Paso Matters, Idaho Education News and Voice of San Diego.  

Two PublicSource projects were also named finalists in separate categories. 

The Good River project, launched in November 2019 as a regional collaboration, was named a finalist for the Excellence in Collaboration and Partnerships Award. The Good River project was led by PublicSource and produced in partnership with six other nonprofit newsrooms: 100 Days in Appalachia, The Allegheny Front, Belt Magazine, Environmental Health News, Eye on Ohio and Louisville Public Media. Journalists in seven nonprofit newsrooms – spanning five of the 15 Ohio River watershed states — worked for 10 months to produce nonpartisan, engaging and stunning journalism on the watershed.

PublicSource wins awards for 2019 reporting and thanks storytellers and the community for their trust

PublicSource has been honored with six state, regional and national awards for coverage in 2019. From toxic chemicals in the environment to first-person perspectives on mental health and a deep look at what it means to live on low wages in Western Pennsylvania, these awards honor excellent reporting of stories often left untold. 

While PublicSource does not measure its impact in awards, we believe it’s important to recognize the work of journalists and express gratitude to the people who trusted PublicSource with their stories. 

Below are the highlights: 
Good River: Stories of the Ohio
PublicSource visuals producer Ryan Loew, Allegheny Front managing editor/reporter Julie Grant and Pittsburgh-based freelance photographer Njaimeh Njie were honored for their work in the Good River: Stories of the Ohio project. They received first place for environmental reporting in the Society of Professional Journalists’ [SPJ] Keystone State Chapter Spotlight Contest. A judge wrote that, “this entry’s multiple stories were impeccably reported, meticulously researched, crafted with precision and great storytelling effects. What a remarkable collection of stories centered around pollution on the Ohio River.”

Good River project team members also won first place for best environmental reporting in the Cincinnati SPJ awards for excellence in journalism.

Oliver Morrison talks to the Army Corps of Engineers about one of their lock and dam projects for a story about the Ohio river. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Inside our Newsroom: What it takes to report on health and environment in Allegheny County

A reader emailed me at the end of October asking if I knew what had happened to the water supply in Neville Township. I didn’t. Some reader tips don’t go anywhere but some of my best stories start with readers. So I emailed the Department of Environmental Protection’s regional information officer to see what she knew about why Neville residents were told not to consume the water for days. I received a quick response: The state agency had to do emergency testing for PFAS chemicals because a firefighting foam containing the toxics had discharged into the drinking water source.