Reporter Julie Cart is receiving an international climate journalism award for her four-part series exploring the impact of wildfires on California firefighters.
CalMatters’ impactful reporting on the catastrophic toll of wildfires on California firefighters is being honored again, this time winning a global climate journalism contest.
Julie Cart’s Trial by Fire series won the 2023 Covering Climate Now Journalism Award in the long-form writing category. The runners up in the category include Grist, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, and a joint project of ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine.
“Audiences need to know not only that the planet is on fire but why that’s happening and what can be done about it,” said Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of Columbia Journalism Review and chair of the CCNow Journalism Awards judging committee. “This year’s winners exemplify the best in public-spirited journalism.” The judges selected winners in 16 categories from more than 1,000 entries.
Cart appeared on NBC’s “Morning News Now” with Savannah Sellers to discuss the four-part series about firefighters and the impact of her work. Her stories highlighted the mental health toll of working for days and weeks on the front lines of major fires.
She worked to illuminate the true stories: interviewing dozens of firefighters and subject experts, observing behavioral therapy sessions, compiling data points, researching post-traumatic stress and suicide and persisting on California Public Records Act requests for information.
“Wildland firefighters are not prone to public admissions of weakness or failure,” Cart said. “That’s why I had been taken aback recently to hear Cal Fire veterans frankly describing the profound toll California’s never-ending fire seasons are taking on the state’s firefighters.”