Three deserts and the fourth estate

 

Perusing a new water book in Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena last June, I found myself reading various passages (sample above) that were strikingly similar to descriptions from a series that I reported and wrote for the Las Vegas Sun in 2008. There was no right response and there were plenty of wrong ones. The story of which wrong ones I chose, along with some notes on intellectual property law as it applies to a steadily vanishing population of original reporters, is in today's Los Angeles Review of Books. Click on the comparison copy and maps to be taken to LARB. Map source: US Geological Survey.

 

 …

“Quenching Las Vegas’s Thirst” wins Best of the West Award

The Las Vegas Sun series “Quenching Las Vegas’s Thirst,” has won first place for Environmental and Natural Resources Reporting in the 2009 Best of the West Awards. From the announcement:

“Emily Green’s series on water was smartly conceived, deeply reported and compellingly written. Water itself isn’t a new subject; the fact of water scarcity and the political battles it causes have been reported extensively elsewhere. But Green’s series brought the issue home. Her series’ structure — profiling five figures — reinforced a key collective insight of the stories: that the state of water in and around Las Vegas is largely a function of the personalities who, over decades, made water-policy decisions.

Green avoided easy preaching, instead telling the tale of a desert metropolis’ water fight in all its moral complexity, which made for much more interesting reading. And yet she uncovered plenty of disturbing facts — particularly, in …