2016 Explanatory Reporting, Medium Newsroom finalist

The Circuit: Tracking America’s Electronic Waste

About the Project

Our special report, ‘The Circuit: Tracking America’s Electronic Waste’ was an on-the-ground investigation that took our two lead producers from Seattle to Boston to Hong Kong, where they established themselves at the front end of a Seattle non-profit’s investigation with MIT into the ultimate destination of America’s toxic, discarded electronics.

Our investigation resulted in a digital video, audio and text report revealing the discovery of GPS responders hidden inside electronics that some old TVs and other devices weren’t being responsibly dismantled in the U.S. as promised by green-recycling organization. Instead, they were being shipped to unlicensed scrapyards overseas, including in Hong Kong, where our reporters traveled to report first hand on the investigation’s findings and the consequences for human health and the environment.

We told this story through digital and broadcast video, audio, text, images, and digital interactives. We also developed a sophisticated social media campaign that used specially selected hashtags, uploadable auto-play video, and connections with affinity groups to engage a broad audience in our coverage of electronic waste.