The National Press Foundation announced today that NC Policy Watch investigative environmental reporter Lisa Sorg has won the prestigious Thomas L. Stokes Award, which is presented each year to a U.S.-based journalist for reporting excellence on energy and the environment.
The award was established in the spring of 1959 by friends and admirers of the late Thomas L. Stokes, a syndicated Washington columnist on national affairs. It is given annually for the best reporting “in the independent spirit of Tom Stokes” on subjects of interest to him including energy, natural resources and the environment.
Sorg, long one of the nation’s premiere reporters on environmental issues, was recognized for her remarkable two-part story from September of 2021, “Clear and present danger” (click here and here), which shined a spotlight on hazardous contamination at a former missile plant in Burlington that threatens a predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhood.
In lifting up Sorg’s reporting, judge Debbie Elliott of NPR said “She followed the money, uncovered government failure at every level, and she also got the human story.” Elliott described the work as “a fascinating piece of accountability journalism.”
In response to the news, Sorg expressed gratitude to the awards committee and to the people of the Burlington community “who welcomed me into their homes” and played such an important role in enabling her to report the “Clear and Present Danger” story.
Sorg will share the award with Ohio-based journalist Yanick Rice Lam, who was recognized for her story in Belt Magazine “The Rubber Industry’s Toxic Legacy in Akron.”