“Shade” Long-Listed for the Victor K. McElheny Award

Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, a public high school in Westlake, Central Los Angeles. [Monica Nouwens for Places Journal]

Sam Bloch’s article on shade in Los Angeles reached the last 16 for the 2020 Victor K. McElheny Award for outstanding local and regional journalism in science, public health, technology, and the environment.

The jury described the article as “exemplary” and “among the strongest of the 120 submissions received.”

“Shade” is an ambitious work of urban journalism with a powerful message: in a wide-ranging portrait of Los Angeles, Bloch argues that shade is a civic resource, a requirement for public health, an index of inequality, and a new mandate for urban designers.

The article is also the first installment of “Writing the City,” a collaboration between Places and Columbia Journalism School, which offers recent graduates of the school’s MA program in Arts and Culture the opportunity to produce an ambitious work of longform narrative journalism — ​and to delve into an important topic that ​might otherwise receive scant attention.

The award went to The Arizona Republic for their series, “Ahead of the Fire,” on the ongoing risk of deadly wildfires in the American West.