Writers for ‘The Bridge’ Win Award for Local Reporting

Brooklyn journalists win a top prize for their series on one neighborhood's vulnerability to the effects of climate change

At the awards ceremony at the Harvard Club: from left, writer Lisa Collins, editor Steve Koepp, writer Bryan Walsh and broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff, one of the evening's hosts (Photo by Steve Friedman, courtesy of the Deadline Club)

Lisa M. Collins and Bryan Walsh, contributors to The Bridge, won the 2018 award for local news reporting last night from the Deadline Club, the New York City chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists. The writers were honored for their three-part series, Red Hook vs. the Rising Tide, which was published last year on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

The Bridge stories explored how the Brooklyn neighborhood was devastated by the storm and managed a remarkable recovery, but now faces the challenge of defending itself against rising sea levels and extreme weather.

In choosing the winner in the category, “newspaper or digital local news reporting,” the judges stated: “This was far and away the best entry in the category. It was interesting, comprehensive in scope, thoroughly researched, and well written. It gave the history as the setup, detailed damage and the actions taken since the storm, and predicted the future as worsening conditions that may never be effectively counteracted. It has broad interest because severe weather is a worsening condition throughout the country and the world.” The other finalists in the category were Lauren Kirchner of ProPublica for “The Big Problems With Testing Tiny Bits of DNA,” and Thomas C. Zambito of The Journal News/Lohud.com for “After Indian Point: the Challenges Ahead.”

Bridge contributor Collins is a freelance writer who has worked as a political and environmental reporter for daily newspapers and as a news reporter for the Associated Press. Walsh, the former international editor of Time, is currently writing End Times, a book for Hachette on existential risk and the end of the world.

local reporting

The opening story in The Bridge‘s award-winning series on Red Hook

The Bridge series was a multimedia project that included video as well as graphics and animation by Heather Jones, original photography by Timothy Fadek, and photo-editing by Crary Pullen. Besides the main story, which was co-published by InsideClimate News, the series included a piece charting the comeback of businesses in the neighborhood and a tale of two dwellings in the flood zone.

Convening at the Harvard Club, the SPJ chapter gave out awards in three dozen categories including both national and local journalism across media including magazines, TV and radio. Among the notable winners were a team of nine journalists from the New York Times for their investigative reporting on sexual harassment and Time photographer James Nachtwey for his photo essay “Death Reigns on the Streets of Duterte’s Philippines.”

The keynote was a conversation between broadcast journalists Judy Woodruff and Lesley Stahl, who gave appraisals of the Presidents they’ve covered and recalled their experiences as pioneering female reporters.

As a companion to the award-winning series, The Bridge co-produced a video on Red Hook's resilience with Brooklyn's BRIC TV