The Los Angeles Times’ five-part series, Altered Oceans, examined a profound disturbance in the ecology of the seas. The articles by Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling showed how man-made stresses are not merely sullying the Earth's oceans, but altering their basic composition and chemistry.
Each year the Grantham Prize Jury selected up to three entries to receive Awards of Special Merit. Each entry recognized in this category received US$5,000, and there was no ranking among the recipients of this honor. The prize jury typically used the Awards of Special Merit to highlight work that goes beyond the norm for its medium.