The River's Reach
Two journalists at The Times have been honored with a 2010 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Journalism for their series on the Chattahoochee River.
The national award given by the Society of Professional Journalists honored "The River's Reach," an eight-part series by reporter Ashley Fielding and photographer Sara Guevara. It told the story of people whose livelihood depends on the Chattahoochee, which is at the center of a battle between Georgia, Alabama and Florida over how much water each should get.
Fielding and Guevara, who developed the idea for the project, spent more than a week traveling the river's length to learn how it provides water, power, recreation and economic growth for cities along its path.
"The status of the Chattahoochee River and its future is vital not only to our community but to the entire state of Georgia," said Dennis L. Stockton, publisher of The Times. "The package of stories produced by our newsroom — especially Ashley Fielding's reporting and Sara Guevara's photography — was important and impressive journalism. It's certainly rewarding to see our newspaper's efforts recognized at the national level by other professional journalists."
"The River's Reach" was honored in the public service journalism category for daily newspapers under 50,000 circulation. The award was announced Tuesday. The awards banquet will be Sept. 24 in New Orleans during the SPJ Excellence in Journalism conference.
The awards recognize the best in professional journalism in categories covering print, radio, television, newsletters, art/graphics, online and research. Judges chose the winners from more than 1,400 entries in all categories. The awards recognize outstanding work published or broadcast in 2010.
Entries in the public service categories were judged on the significance of the service rendered. Judges looked for evidence of courage and initiative in overcoming opposition, effectiveness of the presentation, and results obtained, such as changes and reforms that were enacted following publication.