The Lens is a finalist for five awards from the Press Club of New Orleans, which were announced Monday night.
Six entries are finalists overall, with two efforts by environmental writer Bob Marshall among the three finalist in the science/health/technology category. Those were the “Losing Ground” project about coastal land loss, produced in conjunction with ProPublica, and his story about how the New Orleans flood protection system now is stronger than ever, but weaker than it was supposed to be.
Our news technologist, Abe Handler, also is a finalist for two projects. He worked with staff writer Charles Maldonado to create an interactive map of properties that the city listed as having been remediated since 2010. But not all were improved, and many were still in notably bad condition. The work is a finalist in the category honoring web graphics and animation.
Handler also worked with open data reporter Tom Thoren to create The Vault. This is The Lens’ repository for a variety of public records, including city salaries, city contracts and a continually updated list of property transactions. The Vault is a finalist in the innovation category.
Two contributors to The Lens also were honored for their work.
Author and urban activist Roberta Brandes Gratz is a up for an award in the columnist category. She wrote an opinion piece about the controversy over a mid-rise development being planned for the Holy Cross neighborhood. Gratz last week released her latest book, “We’re Still Here Ya Bastards,” which examines wins and losses by grassroots efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It features work by Karen Gadbois that eventually led to the founding of The Lens.
Della Hasselle, a frequent freelance contributor to The Lens, is a finalist in the category of continuing coverage. For two years, she’s investigated efforts by the state prison system to secure the necessary drugs to carry out an execution. The most highly charged story, which is named in this nomination, revealed that the state lied to a Lake Charles hospital to acquire a necessary drug, telling hospital administrators that it was to be used in hospice care.
The full list of finalists is here. The winners will be announced at a July 18 awards dinner.
The Lens is New Orleans’ first nonprofit newsroom, established in 2009 to provide investigative coverage in the public interest.