The Whitman Bassow Award 2021

Best reporting in any medium on international environmental issues


AWARD NAME: 18 The Whitman Bassow Award 2021

AWARD RECIPIENTS: New York Times Staff


AWARD HONORED WORK: “Race to the Future”

AWARD SPONSOR:  Robert Serio

In a competitive year for international environmental journalism, many stories explored the causes and effects of a warming climate. The New York Times took a different approach. It sent more than a dozen reporters and photographers around the globe to document the little-known human and environmental costs of the race to find a solution. They found a frenzy of mining underway in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the western Pacific and elsewhere for lithium, cobalt, nickel and other rare minerals and metals needed to produce batteries for electric vehicles. The disturbing series showed how a key element of the so-called clean energy revolution — the push to phase out gas-guzzling cars and trucks — relies in part on child labor, government corruption and deadly pollution in some of the world’s poorest countries. The seven stories — crisply written, vividly photographed and extensively documented — drew attention at the White House and led to the ouster of an allegedly corrupt senior official in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Links to the winning work:

1. A Power Struggle Over Cobalt Rattles the Clean Energy Revolution
By Dionne Searcey, Michael Forsythe and Eric Lipton

2. How the U.S. Lost Ground to China in the Contest for Clean Energy
By Eric Lipton and Dionne Searcey

3. Hunt for the ‘Blood Diamond of Batteries’ Impedes Green Energy Push
By Dionne Searcey and Eric Lipton

4. On the Banks of the Furious Congo River, a 5-Star Emporium of Ambition
By Dionne Searcey, Eric Lipton and Michael Forsythe

5. Why a Chinese Company Dominates Electric Car Batteries
By Keith Bradsher and Michael Forsythe

6. The World Wants Greenland’s Minerals, but Greenlanders Are Wary
By Jack Ewing

7. Can a Tiny Territory in the South Pacific Power Tesla’s Ambitions?
By Hannah Beech

8. Green-Energy Race Draws an American Underdog to Bolivia’s Lithium
By Clifford Krauss

9. Chile Writes Its Constitution, Confronting Climate Change Head On
By Somini Sengupta

Citation for Excellence:
Eric Weinrib, Alzo Slade, Andrea Davis,
Chris Iversen and Bnernardo Garcia Elguezabal
VICE Media
“Jamaica for Sale”