Tony Bartelme, a special projects reporter for The Post and Courier, won the Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism for “Every Other Breath,” a series about climate change issues "hiding in plain sight."
The award committee praised Bartelme’s “luminous stories about the impact of climate change on the planet.” All the stories “were narrative in the most powerful sense of that word: They brought readers along with the author, allowing us to seemingly discover, as he did, critical connections that can be impossible for most of us to see,” the Sullivan award committee said.
The award is sponsored by the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest organization of Earth and space scientists. Previous award winners include writers John McPhee, John Krakauer and journalists from National Geographic, The New Yorker, Science and Nature.
Featuring in-depth reporting about plankton, sea-rise and coral reefs, the “Every Other Breath” series featured the use of a rare thermal imaging camera to show readers what emissions of carbon dioxide look like from buses, planes and other everyday sources of CO2. The Post and Courier is said to be the first newspaper or magazine to use such a device for a news story.
Another story, “An Urgent Mystery,” describes the mysterious world of plankton, the stuff that produces half of the world’s oxygen. It has since been turned into an e-book that’s available on Amazon. The series has been recognized in five other national journalism contests and was named last year’s “best series” by S.C. Press Association.
The Walter Sullivan award will be presented during a conference in Louisiana this December and carries a $5,000 stipend. It’s named after the deceased science editor for The New York Times.