InsideClimate News has been awarded the Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media by the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College for Exxon: The Road Not Taken. The investigative series, launched last September, reveals Exxon's own cutting-edge research into climate change stretching back to the 1970s and its decades-long public stance of casting doubt on that very science.
ICN shares the award this year with two independent journalists, Jamie Kalven and Brandon Smith, for exposing a coverup by Chicago police of the killing of an unarmed 17-year-old.
The Izzy Award judges praised both entries for their fearlessness in the face of opposition by strong institutions. "ICN's exposé reflects independent media at its best—a team of journalists digging deeper into a crucial global issue, unconstrained by corporate sponsorship or deadline pressures," the judges said.
The award is named after the late I.F. "Izzy" Stone, who founded I.F. Stone's Weekly in 1953 and used it to challenge McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, racial injustice and dishonesty in government.
ICN's series was reported, written and edited by a team of ICN journalists -- Neela Banerjee, Lisa Song, David Hasemyer and John H. Cushman Jr. -- and supported by the entire staff.
Banerjee appeared on Democracy Now!, discussing the investigation.
The project has already been named a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, a prestigious award administered by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Kalven and Smith were cited for their work in forcing the public revelation of the details of the death of Laquan McDonald, who was shot by Chicago police in October 2014. The two worked separately, but spent months unearthing evidence of the police department's coverup, finally leading to murder charges against the police officer.
The award will be presented at a ceremony at Ithaca College this spring.
The Park Center for Independent Media is based at the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. It is dedicated to the study of media outlets that operate outside the traditional corporate structure. ICN is a nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism organization staffed by professional journalists and supported by grants and donations to independently cover the crucial issues of climate change, the environment and energy.