2023 Science Reporting - Large Outlet - Silver

In a comprehensive multimedia story, the Washington Post team told how Crawford Lake in Ontario has evidence, perhaps more than any other place on Earth, that humans have changed the planet’s chemistry and climate in such fundamental ways that many scientists believe they mark a new chapter in geologic time called the Anthropocene. Digging into the sediments of the lake, scientists uncovered a record of more than a thousand years of history. By 1950 or so, a rapid, dramatic increase of carbon-based particles shows up from industrial processes, including coal-fired steelmaking in a nearby foundry, as well as a rapid rise in plutonium from nuclear testing, a change in nitrogen isotopes from fertilizer use, and the chemical fallout from acid rain. Scientists have recommended that Crawford Lake should be named the official starting point for the Anthropocene. Judge Claudia Wallis said the story “exemplified the best uses of multimedia in science journalism. The beautiful graphics and interactive design enable us to scroll through the depths of Crawford Lake to understand its history.” On behalf of the winners, Sarah Kaplan said: “We sought to immerse readers in the lake's sediments, plunging them through layers of pollen, soot and radioactive material, so they could understand why some scientists believe people have created a new epoch in Earth’s geologic history.” Kaplan has now won her second AAAS Kavli award.