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For immediate release
May 1, 2002
Laura Gross
National Geographic:
Barbara Moffet,

NPRŽ and National Geographic Society Win Sigma Delta Chi Award

WASHINGTON--NPR and the National Geographic Society have been awarded the 2001 Sigma Delta Chi Award for investigative radio reporting for Coltan and Eastern Congo's Gorillas.

Coltan and Eastern Congo's Gorillas investigated a disturbing story discovered by NPR's Alex Chadwick during an expedition in northern Congo. While searching for the mysterious Bili ape with a half-dozen of the world's leading primatologists, Chadwick learned of an emerging wildlife crisis in eastern Congo fueled by the country's long stalemated civil war -- and by a technology-driven rush for an obscure ore known as "coltan." Miners were destroying gorilla habitat, and -- more significantly -- shooting the endangered animals for meat.

Chadwick broke the coltan story in the U.S., where other media including The New York Times, Nightline, and several high technology publications, quickly picked it up. Even the TV drama series The West Wing worked a reference to the coltan situation into one of its programs. Prior to the Chadwick report, a UN commission had recommended strategies to curtail the illegal looting of coltan. Following the radio report, the UN issued a second recommendation outlining further steps, and in the U.S., electronics manufacturers put in place an embargo on the mineral from the Congo.

Coltan and Eastern Congo's Gorillas, is a production of Radio Expeditions, a collaboration between NPR and the National Geographic Society. Radio Expeditions produces feature stories for NPR's Morning EditionŽ with Bob Edwards. The general program themes are the natural world and threatened environments, diverse cultures, adventure, and exploration and discovery. With each program, the aim is to achieve a standard of radio presentation equal to the photographic and journalistic accomplishments associated with the National Geographic Society for more than a century.

To hear this award-winning segment, please log onto NPR's Web site at

The award will be presented at a September 2002 Ceremony in Ft. Worth, Tex. to NPR Executive Producer Carolyn Jensen, National Geographic Executive Producer Donald Smith, reporter Alex Chadwick, editor Chris Joyce, and engineer William McQuay.

The Sigma Delta Chi Awards are presented annually for excellence in journalism. In the 2001 contest, 49 winners were named from more than 1,390 entries. The Sigma Delta Chi Awards are sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.

NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of nearly 20 million Americans each week via more than 680 public radio stations. NPR Online at brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.