Winning Work: Great Lakes Now recognized for communication excellence by Great Lakes Protection Fund

Winning Work: Great Lakes Now recognized for communication excellence by Great Lakes Protection Fund
October 26, 2020 GLN Editor

Each year, the Great Lakes Protection Fund chooses a theme and looks for innovation and excellence in work around that theme related to the Great Lakes. Then the best individuals and organizations receive the Fund’s Great Lakes Leadership Award.

This year’s theme is communication, and Great Lakes Now is one of the 2020 award winners!

API key not valid. Please pass a valid API key.

In addition, Great Lakes Now’s work was part of another awardee’s recognition. The Institute for Nonprofit News also received a Great Lakes Leadership Award for organizing the multi-outlet project “From Rust to Resilience: What climate change means for Great Lakes cities,” in which Great Lakes Now played a part. Episode 1013 of the Great Lakes Now monthly show included three segments around the project theme, shot in Buffalo, Chicago and on Lake Erie, and an explainer piece featuring some of the journalists involved. Click HERE to watch the program.

API key not valid. Please pass a valid API key.

David Rankin, executive director of the Great Lakes Protection Fund

“Great Lakes Now stands out as the premier digital channel for Great Lakes content,” David Rankin, executive director of the Great Lakes Protection Fund, said in a statement. “Their television shows, live events, news pieces, and educational material connect a broad audience to both challenges in the region and innovative efforts to improve the health of this critical resource. Every time I read a story or watch a segment, I see something new. Their talented team produces fascinating content that demonstrates why the lakes are so vital to us all.”


The Fund was created in 1989 by the governors of the Great Lakes states to help protect and restore the Great Lakes, partially by investing in innovators who are improving the health of the lakes and ensuring a future with clean water.

Great Lakes Now Program Director Sandra Svoboda and Peter Annin, author of “Great Lakes Water Wars,” take a selfie at the 2019 International Association of Great Lakes Research.


Other Great Lakes Protection Fund 2020 Leadership Award winners include:

Great Lakes Now, a Detroit Public Television initiative, won an Emmy for the documentary, “The Forever Chemicals,” which chronicled the costs of PFAS contamination to families and communities in west Michigan.

Great Lakes Now’s 2020 Michigan Emmy

But the core of the Great Lakes Now’s team work is a website – which publishes daily news and feature stories about environmental, political, recreational, cultural, historic and scientific topics and issues – and the monthly show which broadcasts on 28 PBS stations in six states.

“On the show we try to cover a broad range of topics in a way that takes you around the region to see and experience what’s happening in the Great Lakes, putting a face to well-known Great Lakes issues like Asian carp or more unfamiliar ones like meteorites,” said Rob Green, Great Lakes Now supervising producer. “Bringing issues like PFAS and climate change greater attention in the region is what Great Lakes Now is all about, even as we make sure to cover stories of restoration and recovery alongside that.”

Sandy Wynn-Stelt tells her story of living with drinking water contaminated with PFAS as Rob Green films her for Great Lakes Now in 2019. (Photo by Sandra Svoboda)

All the video work is complemented by digital content on the website that also publishes daily news stories. The site, said Great Lakes Now News Director Natasha Blakely, covers a widening range of issues and locations that are connected through the Great Lakes.

“The digital content helps us expand what we’re able to cover on the show and, on its own, brings audiences timely, important and interesting information about the Great Lakes and drinking water,” she said. “Combined with work from our media partners and the collaborations we’ve cultivated, the coverage on the site ensures that important topics, stories and communities don’t get neglected or forgotten.”

In addition to the journalistic work, Great Lakes Now also includes a collection of lesson plans and engagement events, like this year’s watch parties. Find the playlist HERE.

Great Lakes Now contributors include:

Detroit Public Television Staff

Website Contributors: Andrew Blok, Lorraine Boissoneault, John Hartig, Sharon Oosthoek, Brian Owens, James Proffitt, Andrew Reeves, Ian Wendrow, Gary Wilson

Our 2020 Interns: Zalika Aniapam, Alex Brisbey, Sam Cantie, Grace Dempsey, George Elkind, Kathy Johnson, Leah Purkiss, Emily Simroth

Show Videographers, Producers and Editors: Mary Boylan, Doug Clevenger, Danielle Dabney, Marie Gould, Matt Ilas, Zach Irving, John Kelleran, Julie Lei, Shawn Malone, Sandy McPhee, Derek Montgomery, David Ruck, Dan Tyrell, Olive VanAssche, Nicole Zaremba, Free Age Productions

Show Narrators: Nick Austin, Laura Weber-Davis, Drew YoungeDyke

Theme Music Composer: Clint Carpenter

Educational Consultant: Gary Abud

Here’s where they are located. It’s a regional effort:


API key not valid. Please pass a valid API key.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *