The Denton Record-Chronicle received first prize in the Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding Reporting in a small market from the Society of Environmental Journalists for “Citizens of the Shale.”
The series is an in-depth look at the impact of natural gas drilling and production that was published in March and April 2011.
The award is the newspaper’s second first-place win from this international nonprofit group that supports journalists in covering complex environmental issues responsibly.
The series also was the first produced from an ongoing partnership between newspaper staff and graduate students in the Mayborn School of Journalism.
The school’s writer-in-residence, George Getschow, formerly of The Wall Street Journal and a Pulitzer Prize nominee, leads the narrative writing class that is part of the partnership.
The students who contributed to Citizens of the Shale included Pennie Freeland Boyett, Beth Francesco Currie, Sarah Perry, Spike Johnson and Elizabeth Smith.
Record-Chronicle staff members included Lowell Brown, Dawn Cobb and Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe.
The judges cited the Record-Chronicle for its “strong commitment to quality journalism … in the face of what could have been major push-back by both area residents and businesses.
“It’s just the type of reporting that would have had the late Kevin Carmody stomping in his cowboy boots.”
Carmody was an SEJ board member and environmental journalist with the Austin American-Statesman until he died suddenly in 2005.
Though published in early 2011, the series remains available to readers in the Special Projects section of the Record-Chronicle website, www.dentonrc.com .