Ohio SPJ 2018: Radio Best Environment Reporting

Apr 7, 2018

(Links to three stories in this entry included below.)

Ohio’s large and diverse landscape creates the opportunity for a variety of environmental issues.

As a statehouse correspondent for Ohio Public Radio/Television, Andy Chow takes a close look at these issues and how they play out on the local level then dives into the policymaking that takes place as a result.

Chow enjoys taking environmental issues and lawmaking, two elements that might seem mundane on the surface, and combining them into a compelling radio story.

In “State, Pipeline Company Clash In Aftermath Of Large Spill,” the Ohio EPA director went head-to-head with a drilling company, a rare public feud that had important repercussions. To tell the story, Chow started with the large mud spill that started it all to give listeners an idea of the stakes involved.

For “ZIPCODE: How Where You Live Affects Your Breathing,” Chow outlined the increased risk of respiratory illness in certain areas of the state. But, to cut through the plain statistics, he first focused on a family who could speak personally about these health issues.

Coal-powered generation provides nearly 60% of Ohio’s energy, making the federal Clean Power Plan a significant slate of rules. In Chow’s “Groups Mounting Legal Challenge Against Clean Power Plan Repeal,” he talked to environmental advocates and a lawmaker from coal country about the legal and economic implications of repealing the Obama-era proposal.

Chow sees these issues as vital to Ohio and embraces the challenge to convey the importance to listeners.