Meet John Funk, our 2015 Excellence in Journalism Award Winner!

Ohio Environmental Council, October 27, 2015

While most Ohioans can tell you what they paid per gallon of gasoline, they could not quote the cost per unit of electricity they are paying, let alone whether or not that price is fair or competitive, or sourced according to their values of fairness, sustainability, and equity.

Yet, where our electricity comes from, how utilities operate and are regulated by the government, the factors that impact the cost and usage of electricity is so critical to our public health, the environment, the economy, and our consumer rights.

As a business reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, John Funk’s excellent, objective energy coverage has helped to shed light on these critically important issues. His reporting sparks important, big conversation in Ohio and beyond.

His coverage of Ohio Senate Bill 310, the bill that “froze” Ohio’s renewable and energy efficiency standards, and its predecessor, Ohio Senate Bill 58, resonated with statewide and even national audiences.

Funk could have framed the debate around Ohio’s clean energy standards as an environmentalist vs. utility debate. However, he took the time to dig deep into the economic and regulatory issues that surround and impact how, when, and why investments in cleaner resources happen, and for what reasons. Such in-depth reporting is key to the public service of an informed citizenry.

Funk asks tough questions. What are the economic realities of coal vs. natural gas? Is solar energy a practical option? Why is Ohio dragging its feet on the Clean Power Plan? And then he gets to the business of reporting the answers in a way that makes sense for all of us. His work allows Ohioans of all stripes to understand and participate in some of the most critical debates of our time.

That’s why we’re thrilled to present him with our 2015 Excellence in Journalism award!