- Matt Falloon is the winner of the "Biodiversity Reporting Award 2001," in Guyana. The article "Gold Mining: An Industry on the Verge of Crisis?" reports on poor mining practices and the massive drop in the price of gold, among other factors that affect both small and large-scale mining. The article, which also sheds light on the environmental dimension of the crisis and the need for monitoring and awareness training, was published as a two-part series on the Stabroek News. Second and third-prize winners will be announced on September 8 in a ceremony to be held at the Georgetown Club. The contest is an initiative of Conservation International (CI), in collaboration with the International Federation of Environmental Journalists (IFEJ) and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).
This is the third edition of the award in Guyana, and six journalists submitted a total of 16 articles covering biodiversity issues. Mr. Falloon will be invited to attend the Ninth World Congress of Environmental Journalists, in Lage-Hoerste, Germany, from September 29 through October 4, 2001. The other awardees will receive a cash prize of G$50,000 Guyana Dollars and G$25,000 Guyana Dollars, respectively. All of the journalists honored in the ceremony will be awarded a two-year membership to IFEJ, as well as a professional resource kit from ICFJ.
The "Biodiversity Reporting Award" was launched in 1999 to promote better coverage of environmental news. The contest was created to recognize the work of journalists covering biodiversity issues, to stimulate their interest in covering such issues, and to develop their reporting skills.
"This contest is a key tool for conservation awareness in Guyana. Journalists have the responsibility of sending out the message about the need to protect biodiversity and we hope to promote that through this initiative," says Haroldo Castro, CI's Vice-President for International Communications and General Director of the award.
Style, creativity, the number and variety of sources, and the ability to translate scientific jargon were some of the criteria used to judge the articles. A five-member panel composed of veteran environmental journalists and professionals from the academic world rated the entries. The jury members were: Rob Taylor, Director of Environmental Programs for ICFJ; Jonathan Maslow, former Heinz Environmental Fellow in Guyana; Darryl D'Monte, Chairperson of the Forum of Environmental Journalists of India (FEJI) and President of IFEJ; Abraham Poole, an experienced communications specialist from Guyana who has been involved in a variety of media-related initiatives, and Dr. Robert A. Thomas, Director of the Center for Environmental Communications at Loyola University, in New Orleans.
This year, besides Guyana, the contest was held in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Ghana. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Virginia W. Cabot Foundation supported the "Biodiversity Reporting Award 2001".