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Post and Courier reporter Tony Bartelme wins prestigious 2021 John Chancellor Award

Tony Bartelme while reporting for The Greenland Connection climate project (copy)

Tony Bartelme travels on a NASA plane while reporting for The Greenland Connection climate project. The Columbia Journalism School awarded the Post and Courier senior project reporter its 2021 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism. Lauren Petracca/Staff

The Columbia Journalism School awarded its 2021 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism to Post and Courier senior project reporter Tony Bartelme, citing a career that stretched the limits of what local newspapers can offer their readers.

Given annually, the award honors a journalist for his or her cumulative accomplishments. Past winners include well-known journalists such as Nikole Hannah-Jones, a former writer for The New York Times Magazine, Dan Balz of The Washington Post and Gwen Ifill of PBS, who died in 2016.

The award's eight-person jury also looks for journalists who may not be widely known but are respected within the profession for the caliber of their work.

Bartelme "exemplifies the ethos of the Chancellor Award — dedicating his career to telling big, important stories through the lens of his local community,” said Steve Coll, dean of Columbia Journalism School and a member of the Chancellor jury. “In this time of increasingly large news deserts and economic turmoil for local news outlets, Tony Bartelme’s work models excellence for the profession.”

Judges noted that Bartelme's ambitious projects often push the envelope. They pointed toward his work in The Post and Courier's recent project, Uncovered, a unique collaboration between the paper and smaller ones across the state to identify waste and misconduct.

His groundbreaking environmental coverage included Chasing Carbon, in which he used a special camera to identify carbon dioxide emissions, and deep dives into plankton, coral bleaching and the Gulf Stream. Most recently, he and photographer Lauren Petracca traveled to Greenland to document the connections between that faraway place and the Lowcountry. 

"Tony is among the most versatile reporters working today, capable of bringing complex science and environmental issues to life, while doggedly ferreting out corrupt government and business leaders,” said Glenn Smith, Post and Courier's public service and watchdog editor.

Bartelme has been with The Post and Courier since 1990.

The John Chancellor Award is named in honor of the pioneering NBC News anchor. The award will be presented at a virtual ceremony at Columbia Nov. 17.

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

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