WASHINGTON– Radio Free Asia’s multimedia investigative series exposing the extreme pollution of China’s Dong River was named today as a first-place winner by the Society of Environmental Journalists for its 2011-2012 Awards for Reporting on the Environment. “Disappearing River,” produced by RFA’s Cantonese service, won the top award in the contest’s category for outstanding, in-depth reporting in a large market.
“A Radio Free Asia videographer worked at great personal risk to film this investigative series,” said Dan Southerland, RFA’s executive editor. “The final series also benefited from in-depth interviews conducted in Hong Kong and video editing done in Washington, D.C.
“The award will inspire us to continue reporting on difficult stories that have an impact on the daily lives of our audience.”
“Disappearing River,” a 10-part broadcast, text and online video series, utilized undercover work of RFA journalists to expose the pollution of China’s Dong River, a primary source of drinking water for 50 million people in southern China, including the 7 million residents of Hong Kong. Industrialization, deforestation, and overuse from the growing population are among the factors that have led to the river’s advanced environmental degradation. A few weeks after the series aired, the Chinese government put 32 polluting factories on its high-priority watch list for environmental protection.
Other prize winners at Society of Environmental Journalists’s annual juried contest recognizing the best environmental reporting in print and on television, radio, and the Internet were National Geographic, the New York Times, the Associated Press, and the Seattle Times, among others.