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The GPSW community was thrilled to see that not one, but two of our alum and one soon-to-be alum were named as finalists for the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM)’s Digital Media Awards. Kelso Harper, ’21, and James Dinneen, ’22, were both finalists, but Lisa Song, ’09, won the prize as part of a team that included Al Shaw, Lylla Younes, Ava Kofman, Max Blau, Kiah Collier, Ken Ward, Jr., Alyssa Johnson, Maya Miller, Lucas Waldron, and Kathleen Flynn.

Their project, “Sacrifice Zones: Mapping Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution,” included an extensive data analysis of more than 1,000 hot spots of toxic industrial air pollution across the United States and an interactive map that allows those living near these sites to estimate their air pollution risk. Published as part of a collaboration between ProPublica, The Texas Tribune, and Mountain State Spotlight, the piece showcases how the EPA created “sacrifice zones” where overlooked communities near toxic manufacturing plants bear disproportionate health costs. In addition to winning a NIHCM Digital Media Award, the series was a finalist for a 2022 National Magazine Award and the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.

“As a result of our Sacrifice Zones series, which exposed how failures in the implementation of the Clean Air Act have led to the formation of toxic hotspots nationwide, communities across the country have successfully campaigned for health assessments, and Congress has proposed a $500M air monitoring bill,” said Lylla Younes, the ProPublica reporter who led the project.

The Digital Media Award comes with a $20,000 prize. Congratulations again, Lisa.