Bloomberg Team Wins Asia Society Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia

NEW YORK, May 13, 2015 — Asia Society announced today that a three-person team from Bloomberg News has won the 2015 Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, awarded annually for the best example of journalism about Asia during the previous calendar year.

Selected by an independent jury, the winning stories by Rakteem Katakey, Tom Lasseter and Rajesh Kumar Singh, chronicled the dire health consequences of uranium and coal mining in India for some of its poorest citizens, against a broader narrative about India’s quest for growth and lax environmental regulation and enforcement.

“These stories helped bring attention to communities where the poorest of the poor and their children are being deformed and killed by diseases that are linked to local industrial pollution,” said Oz Prize Jury Chair Marcus Brauchli, managing partner of North Base Media and former editor, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. “Our decision to award the prize to Bloomberg News was based on the deep reporting that went into the series, as well as the effects the stories had in India which included the widening of scrutiny of local industries and government regulatory agencies.”

The award — a $10,000 cash prize — will be presented at a public program on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at Asia Society in New York.

“Congratulations to Bloomberg News for their coverage of development and pollution in a changing India,” said Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran. “Through this world-class award, we seek to encourage in-depth journalism which not only informs but brings about change in the world. This year’s winning stories truly represent the kind of civic reporting which the Oz Prize was established to honor.”

Rakteem Katakey is Bloomberg News' energy reporter based in London and previously covered energy and markets from the New Delhi bureau. Prior to Bloomberg, he was with India's Business Standard newspaper. Rakteem has written extensively on Asian energy and covered energy geopolitics, the Fukushima nuclear disaster and India's vast water problems. He graduated from the University of Delhi with a Master's degree in English Literature.

Over the last 12 years, Tom Lasseter has been based in Iraq, Russia, China and India, and reported widely from each. Tom has won numerous awards including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Overseas Press Club's Madeline Dane Ross Award, Hal Boyle Award and the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi award for international reporting. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia.

Rajesh Kumar Singh is Bloomberg News' energy and commodities reporter based in New Delhi covering policy changes affecting businesses in India. Prior to Bloomberg, he worked for India's leading publications including Businessworld and India Today. He has a B.A. degree in English literature from India's Burdwan University.

Links to the Bloomberg News stories follow:

The five other finalists for the 2015 Oz Prize included:

  • Hannah Beech, TIME for series on the lingering catastrophe of Fukushima
  • Annam Suresh, Fountain Ink on violent abuse of boys and transgender kids in India
  • The New York Times team (Jonathan Ansfield, David Barboza, Chris Buckley, Michael Forsythe, Andrew Jacobs, Ian Johnson, Didi Kirsten Tatlow, Edward Wong) coverage of China’s anticorruption campaign
  • The New York Times team (Choe Sang-Hun, Martin Fackler, Kirk Semple, Su-Hyun Lee, Alison Leigh Cowan) coverage of the South Korean ferry disaster
  • Reuters team (David Lague, Greg Torode, James Pomfret and Benjamin Kang Lim) coverage of Hong Kong protests and the Chinese government’s response

The Oz Prize Jury comprises: Marcus Brauchli; Dorinda Elliott, editorial and communications director, Paulson Institute; Michael Elliott, ONE Foundation and former Deputy Managing Editor, TIME; Alec McCabe, Americas Team Leader for Training, Bloomberg News; Richard McGregor, Washington Bureau Chief, Financial Times; Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Senior Editor, Hindustan Times; Carla Anne Robbins, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations and former Deputy Editorial Page Editor, The New York Times and Anthony Spaeth, Chief Editor, JoongAng Daily. Norman Pearlstine, Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer, Time Inc. is Chairman Emeritus.

The Oz Prize honors the late Osborn Elliott, legendary journalist, author and former editor-in-chief of Newsweek. Elliott was a leading figure in the field of journalism who became one of the earliest practitioners of “civic journalism”—the deliberate focusing of the journalistic enterprise on urgent issues of public policy.

Previous winners of the prize are: Reuters team (2014), Bloomberg News team (2013), April Rabkin, Fast Company (2012), Keith Bradsher of The New York Times (2010), International Herald Tribune team (2009), Shai Oster of The Wall Street Journal (2008), Evan Osnos of the Chicago Tribune (2007), Barbara Demick of the Los Angeles Times and Matthew McAllester of Newsday (2006), Philip P. Pan of The Washington Post (2005), John Pomfret of The Washington Post (2004) and Elisabeth Rosenthal of The New York Times (2003).

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