The Grantham Prize for Environmental Journalism

A winner from the Archives:

2006 Winner: Toxic Legacy

2006 Winner: Toxic Legacy

Ten journalists at The Record of Bergen County, NJ, spent eight months investigating the actions of Ford, government officials and even the Mob in exposing residents of the woodlands of northern New Jersey to millions of gallons of toxic paint sludge carrying lead, arsenic and other dangerous containments.

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2008 Grantham Prize Winner


David Barboza, Keith Bradsher, Howard French, Joseph Kahn, Mark Landler, Chang W. Lee, Jimmy Wang, and Jim Yardley

“Choking on Growth”
The New York Times


Grantham Prize Jury Comments on Choking on Growth

The burgeoning economic expansion of China has been widely heralded as a boon for its people and its government. In this sweeping 10-part series, The New York Times fully exposes and explores the dark side of that unprecedented development: ravaging degradation of the environment.

The Times’ series describes pollution so severe that it is causing the premature deaths of nearly a million Chinese citizens yearly. Beyond that, the series reports that China is destroying its own landscape and waterways, killing off species and fouling the air and water of much of the rest of the planet. And after years of denial, the ruling regime is finally beginning to recognize that the environmental degradation is putting the stability of the Chinese government at risk.

NYT-Choking on Growth
NYT-Choking on Growth

The Times’ series is environmental journalism of the highest order, shaped for the 21st Century. The stories, photographs, and graphics on the printed page are outstanding. Even more impressive is the online presentation, which includes compelling videos, reader-interactive forums, question-and-answer sessions with scientific and political experts and – perhaps most importantly – versions of the original stories translated into Mandarin, for the consumption of readers within China.

“Choking on Growth” is a worthy recipient of the 2008 Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment.


About the Choking on Growth Team:

Joseph Kahn

Deputy Foreign Editor

Joseph Kahn became deputy foreign editor for The New York Times in March 2008. Mr. Kahn had been the Beijing bureau chief since July 2003. Previously, he was assigned to Shanghai. He was also a reporter in the Washington bureau, covering international economics and trade and on the business desk in New York, writing about Wall Street.

Before joining The Times in January1998, Mr. Kahn spent four years as a China correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. He also worked as a city desk reporter and foreign correspondent for The Dallas Morning News.

In 1994 while at The Dallas Morning News, Mr. Kahn was part of a team of reporters awarded the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, for their stories on violence against women around the world. In 2004, Mr. Kahn won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for international reporting for his series of stories on labor conditions in China’s export factories. The same series received a citation from the Overseas Press Club. In 2004, Mr. Kahn and his Beijing-based colleague, Jim Yardley, won the Harry Chapin Media Award in the newspaper category for a series of stories on the rising wealth gap and outbreaks of mass protests in China. In 2006, Mr. Kahn and Mr. Yardley won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for their ambitious stories on ragged justice in China as the booming nation’s legal system evolves. Additionally, in 2006 Mr. Kahn and Mr. Yardley won the honorable mention in Excellence in Reporting on the Environment from Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA).

Jim Yardley

Foreign Correspondent

Jim Yardley has been a correspondent in the Beijing bureau of The New York Times since August 2003. He has traveled throughout China and written on a wide range of topics, including social unrest, rising inequality and the country’s widespread population problems. His foreign assignment is his third reporting job at The Times.

Mr. Yardley joined the paper in 1997 as a metropolitan reporter in New York and moved to the national desk in August 1999 as bureau chief in Houston. He covered presidential politics, the collapse of Enron, the death penalty, water policy and even a town where the mayor is a beer-drinking goat. In the months after Sept. 11 terror attacks, he wrote many investigative pieces about the hijackers.

Before joining The Times, Mr. Yardley worked as a national desk reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1990 until 1997. Based in Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans, he covered stories in the Deep South as well as regional and national politics.

Mr. Yardley has also written articles for The New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, Essence and Redbook.

In 2006, Mr. Yardley and his colleague Joseph Kahn won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for their ambitious stories on ragged justice in China as the booming nation’s legal system evolves. Additionally, in 2006 Mr. Kahn and Mr. Yardley won the honorable mention in Excellence in Reporting on the Environment from Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA).

David Barboza

Foreign Correspondent

David Barboza has been a correspondent for The New York Times based in Shanghai, China since November 2004. He writes primarily for the business section but also writes often for the culture section about art, film, television and dance in China. David graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in history and attended Yale University Graduate School. He was a freelance writer and a research assistant for The New York Times before being hired in 1997 as a staff writer. For five years, he was the Midwest business correspondent based in Chicago. He also covered the Enron scandal for The Times and was part of a team that was named a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize Award for Deadline Writing about Lenovo’s acquisition of I.B.M.’s personal computer business.

Howard W. French

Shanghai Bureau Chief

Howard W. French, a senior writer at The New York Times, became its Shanghai bureau chief in August 2003. Previously, Mr. French had been the Tokyo bureau chief since August 1999, after having served as the newspaper’s bureau chief in Abidjan beginning in July 1994. He served in numerous other roles at The Times, including Caribbean correspondent from April 1990 until July 1994, and a metropolitan reporter from September 1987 until April 1990. He joined The Times as a reporter-trainee in September 1986.

Mr. French was a visiting scholar in Japanese and Korean Studies at the University of Hawaii in 1998-1999, and was a recipient of a Jefferson Fellowship from Hawaii’s East-West Center.

Before joining The Times, Mr. French was a freelance journalist in Africa from 1983 to 1986, visiting 33 countries in the course of his work. His articles from the Ivory Coast appeared in The Economist, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, Africa News, The Chronicle of Higher Education and African Business. From 1980 until 1983, he was an assistant professor of English at the University of Ivory Coast.

Mr. French was the 1997 recipient of the Overseas Press Club Award for his reports from Africa. In 2006, he was part of a team that won the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) Award for Excellence in Explanatory Reporting.

Keith V. Bradsher

Hong Kong Bureau Chief

Keith V. Bradsher is The New York Times bureau chief in Hong Kong, where he has covered East Asian Business, economic and political news since April 2002. Before that, he had been Detroit bureau chief, covering automakers since January 1996.

Mr. Bradsher began his career at The Times as a reporter trainee in New York in June 1989, mainly covering the airline industry. After being promoted to reporter in April 1990, he covered telecommunications until April 1991, when the paper named him a national correspondent and moved him to Washington. He wrote about international economics until December 1993 and then covered domestic economic policy and financial regulation there through December 1995.

Before joining The Times, Mr. Bradsher wrote for The Los Angeles Times from 1987 until 1989 as a general assignment business reporter-intern.

Mr. Brasher is a 1997 winner of the George Polk Award for national reporting for his investigation into the human and financial toll sport utility vehicles and light trucks take on the nation’s roadways. In 2006, he was part of a team that won the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) Award for Excellence in Explanatory Reporting.

He is the author of “High and Mighty: SUV’s – The World’s Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way,” (Public Affairs, 2002).

Jimmy Wang

Video Journalist

Jimmy Wang is a video journalist for The New York Times, where he reported, produced, shot, and edited all the video stories for “Choking on Growth.” Mr. Wang has been responsible for video coverage of many stories in The New York Times, including an historic diplomatic visit by members of the press and the New York Philharmonic to Pyongyang, North Korea.

Mr. Wang’s contributions to the “Choking on Growth” series were recognized by the Whitman Bassow Award for Best Reporting in an Medium from the Overseas Pres Club of America and the Award for Online Excellence from The Society of American Business Editors. Mr. Wang and the entire “Choking on Growth” team were also finalists for the National Journalism Award for Environmental Reporting from the Scripps Howard Foundation, and Mr. Wang received a special citation for coverage of the diplomatic visit to Pyongyang.

Chang W. Lee

Senior Photographer

Chang W. Lee is a photojournalist for The New York Times, where he captured the stunning images used throughout “Choking on Growth.” Mr. Lee has covered natural catastrophes such as the 2005 tsunami, Indonesia earthquake, as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. He has also covered sporting events including the Olympics in Sydney and Nagano. Mr. Lee has been honored with two Pulitzer Prizes in 2002 as part of The New York Times’ staff team for a Feature Story (Afghanistan) and a Breaking Story (September 11, 2001).