Mongabay team wins top environmental journalism prizes

A Mongabay writer and a Mongabay editor each recently took the top two awards in the Outstanding Explanatory Reporting category in the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) 19th Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment.

Jeremy Hance won second place for his series “The Great Insect Dying” which chronicles the global decline of insects in extraordinary detail, laying out why and where these invertebrates are disappearing, and most importantly, how many we have lost:

“Unlike previous reporting on this topic, Hance pays particular attention to the understudied insect populations of diverse tropical rainforests,” the jury wrote. “This approach greatly elevates his storytelling. The jury wishes to commend Hance for this exemplary piece of explanatory journalism.”

Edging out Jeremy’s work for the top spot in this category was Mongabay’s own Karla Mendes, our Contributing Editor in Brazil. Karla won for a project with Max Baring published by Thomson Reuters Foundation just prior to joining our team, which consists of a written report (“Fears over rising violence in Amazon as ‘forest guardians’ battle logging“) and a documentary film (“Guardians of the Forest“).

“A stupendous piece of vital frontline environmental war reporting on accelerating Amazon rainforest destruction,” is how the SEJ judges described Karla and Max’s work, that serves to “illuminate the way Guajajara Indians resist illegal loggers stealing trees and leveling jungle on indigenous reserves.”

Karla has since reported on the Guajajara’s ongoing battle with loggers, and the tragic losses of some members of the community to resultant gun violence, for Mongabay.

In 2019, the Mongabay team won recognition from SEJ in the in-depth reporting category for “Ghosts in the machine,” which is part of the Indonesia for Sale series.

“A huge congratulations to Karla and Jeremy for this important recognition of their excellent work,” said Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler. “It’s an honor to have both of them on the Mongabay team.”

Banner image: A tiny sampling of tropical beetle diversity displayed at the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Karlsruhe, Germany. Image by H. Zell/CC 3.0.