L.A. Times Investigation into Extreme Heat Wins Online Journalism Award

Felisa Benitez, 86, wipes the sweat from her brow
The multi-part investigation which found that California has failed to address the growing threat of heat-related illness and death won first place in the Online Journalism Awards contest for Topical Reporting: Climate Change.
(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Times has received first place in the 2022 Online Journalism Awards (OJAs) competition in the Topical Reporting: Climate Change category for Extreme heat’s deadly toll.

The multi-part investigation by Tony Barboza, Anna M. Phillips, Ruben Vives, Sean Greene, Paul Duginski, Genaro Molina, Madalyn Amato, Alex Wigglesworth and health data analyst Logan A. Arnold, explored the deadly consequences of global warming.

The reaction to the series, which found that California has failed to address the growing threat of heat-related illness and death, was swift. The Los Angeles City Council, the state legislature and the governor’s office announced plans to help residents cope with rising temperatures. On Sept. 9, Gov. Newsom signed a package of legislation aimed at protecting Californians from extreme heat, including establishing a statewide warning system by 2025 and conducting a study on the effects of sizzling temperatures on workers.

“I think the series resonated with readers, and prompted government officials to act, because it revealed that heat waves were far more deadly than anyone was aware, and that poor communities and people of color were bearing the brunt of this climate change crisis,” said California Enterprise Editor Stuart Leavenworth, who edited the package, along with Environment Editor Monte Morin and former Washington Deputy Bureau Chief Laura Wides-Muñoz.


The investigation has received a number of additional awards in the past several months, including the News Leaders Association’s Batten Medal for covering climate change and a Covering Climate Now journalism award.

The OJAs honor excellence in topical reporting, social media engagement and 21 additional categories. Winners were announced during the Online News Association’s annual conference in Los Angeles, Sept. 21-24.

Times Feature Sportswriter David Wharton was a finalist in Sports (large newsroom) for a profile on a minor league baseball club: Meet the Savannah Bananas, who’ve captivated fans and MLB.

See the full list of OJA winners at