InsideClimate News and ‘Big Oil + Bad Air” Series Named Finalist for IRE Award

Gas flares from well sites over the Eagle Ford Shale emit light and toxic smoke in Karnes County, Texas. (Credit: Lance Rosenfield)

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The investigative series “Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale: Big Oil + Bad Air on the Texas Prairie,” was cited as a finalist in the Investigative Reporters & Editors Awards on Friday in the large multimedia category.

The series, produced by InsideClimate News in collaboration with the Center for Public Integrity and The Weather Channel, has won several awards already. It won a 2014 EPPY Award in the category of Best Investigative/Enterprise Feature on a Website and was awarded first place by the Association of Health Care Journalists. ICN staff cited by IRE for their work on the project: Lisa Song, David Hasemyer, Zahra Hirji, Sabrina Shankman and Paul Horn.

The series was the result of an eight-month investigation into hydraulic fracturing in south Texas, revealing the toxic chemicals released into the air by fracking and the controversial procedure’s other threats to public health.

The IRE awards recognize excellence in investigative journalism across several categories.

The Weather Channel, which collaborated on the “Big Oil + Bad Air” series with a documentary video, won the IRE’s highest honor, the IRE medal, for “The Real Death Valley,” an investigation done jointly with The Investigative Fund and Telemundo. The story documents the deaths of hundreds of people who died while attempting to evade a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in the sweltering brush of Texas.