Congrats to 'Undark' for health reporting – and to our own Kristina Marusic, for runner-up 'Breathless'

Undark wins a $20,000 prize for investigative reporting into the vast toll particulate matter exacts in health and lives.

A team of seven reporters at Undark news magazine won a $20,000 health journalism prize this week, while EHN.org reporter Kristina Marusic was a runner-up.


The National Institute of Health Care Management Foundation's annual Digital Media Prize recognizes reporting that improves our understanding of health impacts via "analysis grounded in empirical evidence." Undark, a nonprofit, independent news magazine publishing at the intersection of science and society, won top honors for "Breathtaking," its multipart investigation into air pollution and particulate matter.

Judges cited the Undark team's "spectacular" use of digital media and its "success in making data accessible to the public in a way that has driven dialogue around air pollution as a health issue in the United States and beyond."

EHN.org's 'Breathless' is finalist

EHN.org's Marusic, based in Pittsburgh, also tackled air pollution, diving deep into an asthma epidemic that found nearly 60 percent of children with asthma in the city don't have the disease under control.

The report, "Breathless," found that more than one-in-five children in the area, or 22 percent, have asthma. Nationally, the rate of childhood asthma is 8 percent. And children living close to the region's big industrial polluters had consistently higher asthma rates.

"Breathless" was one of nine finalists for the NIHCM Digital Media Prize. Other runner-ups include a team at Vox reporting on Juul and the "teen e-cigarette explosion," a Bloomberg News team reporting on drug prices, and an Oregonian report on senior care.

The NICHM Foundation established the award in 2015. This year's winners, said NIHCM CEO Nancy Chockley, "speak to the power of multimedia to inform the public and influence policy."

Winners and finalists will be honored at a banquet in Washington, D.C. in May.

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