KUNM’s reporting series Poisoned Earth: Albuquerque’s Toxic Secret revealed that state officials had not studied health effects of a dry cleaning chemical spill on people who lived near the plume.
Ed Williams has been covering the story for over nine months, working with Public Health New Mexico project coordinator Rashad Mahmood to develop maps of the spill. Since we broke the story, homes have been tested and the company responsible for the spill is submitting a cleanup plan to the state.
In St. Louis, Missouri, the Public Radio News Directors, Inc. awarded KUNM First Place for Enterprise/Investigative reporting for the Poisoned Earth coverage at the PRNDI Awards Banquet. KUNM competed with similar-sized stations for the award.
“This was an important health issue mostly ignored by the government, but not this reportorial team,” NPR’s Korva Coleman said when she presented the award to KUNM News Director Elaine Baumgartel. “What made this series stand out was its great mix of scientific information, policy background, personal narrative, user-friendly online maps and follow-up coverage.”