Upon arriving in Los Angeles last week to accept a Global Media Award for Excellence in Population Reporting from the Population Institute (PI) —the New Security Beat won the “Best Online Commentary” award—I was greeted by a massive gift basket from PI. The rest of the week was equally bountiful, full of interesting people and vibrant exchanges of ideas.
After a dinner for the award-winners and PI and Population Media Center (PMC) board members and staff on Monday night, we spent most of Tuesday at a conference sponsored by PMC designed to help Hollywood writers and producers incorporate climate change and other serious environmental issues into their work. After Dr. Howard Frumkin of the Centers for Disease Control and Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn (Ret.) outlined the health and security impacts of climate change, various industry insiders—from “CSI” and Fox, for instance—shared how they have managed to include climate change impacts in their jokes, dialogue, and storylines without sacrificing entertainment value. It was truly fascinating, and I encourage you to read more about it in another New Security Beat post.
Paul Ehrlich, who is Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University, was the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony on Tuesday night, and he discussed the connections between population and environment in his trademark candid manner. “As long as you keep the population and consumption growing, you are, in the technical term, screwed,” he said. Bill Ryerson, president of both PI and PMC, and former CNN anchor Carol Lin presented the awards:
Best Combined Media Effort: DZMM Radio, Philippines
Best Editorial Cartoonist: Don Wright (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, 1966 and 1980)
On Wednesday afternoon, several of us award-winners gave presentations on our winning projects at the UCLA School of Public Health to an audience of students, professors, and PI and PMC staff.
Population remains an underreported issue, but as challenges like climate change, food shortages, water scarcity, and lack of youth opportunity in the Middle East rise to the top of the international agenda, a growing number of journalists seem to be incorporating demographic angles into their stories. Thanks go to PI for calling attention to some of these important contributions.
Photo: The New Security Beat‘s Global Media Award for “Best Online Commentary.” Courtesy of Dave Hawxhurst and the Wilson Center.