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16th October 2018

Journalist of the Year award for alumnus Akshat Rathi

Exeter alumnus Akshat Rathi (2008, Organic Chemistry) has been named Journalist of the Year by The Drum Online Media Awards. Akshat received the award in recognition of his series of articles titled The Race to Zero Emissions, published last year.

Akshat travelled the world to research the series for Quartz, in which he explores controversial technologies that aim to prevent catastrophic human-driven climate change through carbon capture. He fought off competition for the award from journalists from the BBC, Channel 4, Bloomberg, and others.

The Drum Online Media Awards recognise the most talented and original purveyors of news and views from around the world. ­

“The idea for the series came after the election of US President Donald Trump. One of his campaign promises was to save mining jobs by deploying a technology he called ‘clean coal.’ What Trump himself didn’t understand was that he was referring to a technology scientists believe is crucial to fighting climate change, a phenomena he and his administration fail to acknowledge,” Akshat said. “I’m pleased to have helped readers understand a complicated but important technology. The recognition shows that, as climate change worsens, people are keen to understand how we can avoid its many ills.”

Akshat was also a finalist in this year’s John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism, receiving a $1,500 prize for The Race to Zero Emissions. The Oakes Award is given annually for news reporting that makes an exceptional contribution to the public’s understanding of sustainability and environmental issues.

The judging panel said: “This ambitious and innovative project takes a clear-eyed approach to the fast-advancing technology of carbon capture, presenting it not as an easy out but as an essential element of a comprehensive plan to meet emissions targets.” They praised the “clear explanatory writing and outstanding informational graphics,” and added that the series “has become the definitive piece that other journalists consistently cite.”

To read The Race to Zero Emissions series of articles click here.

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