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Tony Bartelme

The Society of Environmental Journalists awarded Post and Courier reporter Tony Bartelme a first place award for outstanding coverage of environmental issues facing the Lowcountry.

The group's journalism contest, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the world, cited Bartelme's stories about harmful algae blooms, sea rise and abuse by the nation's electric utilities.

Judges called "Scum," his algae series, "a blockbuster piece" that "engages the reader from start to finish," and that Bartelme's "skill is evident as he dives deep time and again to deliver deftly-crafted, enterprising features on serious topics."

Second place in the contest's outstanding beat reporting-small category went to The Texas Observer reporter Christopher Collins, and third to Alex Kuffner of The Providence Journal. The awards will be presented at a conference in October in Flint, Michigan.

Reach Tony Bartelme at 843-937-5554. Follow him on Twitter @tbartelme.