2008 – Journalism Award

Award: Journalism Award

Recipient: The Rocky Mountain News

Published in: The Outcrop, November 2008, p. 42

The Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists presents its 2008 Journalism Award to a group of five journalists with the Rocky Mountain News for their outstanding contribution to a recent four-part special report entitled Beyond The Boom. With strong leadership and support from the News, reporters Laura Frank, Todd Hartman, Gargi Chakrabarty, and Burt Hubbard with photographer Matt McClain authored an in-depth story for the purpose of increasing public understanding and awareness of mineral resource development and its impact on the public. Beyond The Boom achieves balance in a medium where the distinction between straight news reporting and feature writing is often blurred and “thorny” issues become distorted with emotions.

The Rocky Mountain News is Colorado’s oldest newspaper and continuously operated business. Its first issue was printed on April 23, 1859 and currently has a Monday-Friday circulation exceeding 250,000 copies. The Rocky Mountain News is a daily morning tabloid-format newspaper with a strong commitment to journalistic excellence. The Denver-based paper has won four Pulitzer Prizes since the year 2000. More recently in 2006, the newspaper won two Pulitzers in Feature Writing and Feature Photography.

In mid-December 2007, the Rocky Mountain News made the extraordinary commitment to publish a four-part special report entitled Beyond The Boom in which the paper examined the multi-dimensional issues of balancing the development of energy resources in northwestern Colorado against quality-of-life issues for the state and its citizens. Exceeding 20 pages each, the four daily segments provided a remarkably balanced view of the often contentious issues of (1) “Can Colorado exploit its riches while preserving its character?”; (2) “Rewards of energy exploration come at cost to state’s splendor”; (3) “Gushing gas economy strains town’s social, financial fabric”; and (4) “Decisions made today will set stage for Colorado’s tomorrow”. In addition to the comprehensive coverage of a wide range of issues effecting not only Colorado, but many other western resource-rich states today, the reporting was punctuated with very poignant photography that brought life to the story. Using a creative approach to broadening access to the public, the Rocky Mountain News also provided multi-media web links to videos and slide shows on oil and gas development, as well as live chats with the reporters and photographer via Rocky Talk Live. For this RMAG is pleased to recognize the Rocky Mountain News with its Journalism Award.