2020 Excellence in Collaboration and Partnerships finalist

Good River

Stories of the Ohio, from 7 newsrooms in the watershed


About the Project

“I’m a resident of the Ohio River watershed.”

You’ve probably heard that … never. And there are 25 million of us who could identify as its residents.

Good River: Stories of the Ohio is a collaborative reporting project by seven newsrooms. Its goal is to draw communities closer to the waters and ecosystem that helped to build our region and sustain it to this very day. The Ohio River provides drinking water for five million people. It’s a thoroughfare of business, supporting jobs and communities. But did you know that it’s also commonly cited as the most polluted river in the United States?

Good River is a series about the environment, economy and culture of the Ohio River watershed. Journalists in seven nonprofit newsrooms – spanning five of the 15 watershed states — worked from May 2019 into early 2020 to produce nonpartisan, informative and striking journalism on the Ohio River watershed.

They shared the beauty of the Ohio River and its watershed, exemplifying all that could be lost if the environmental threats facing it are not addressed. The watershed faces many perils — from industrial polluters and agricultural runoff to weakening of the federal Clean Water Act and climate change.

Journalists used a variety of formats to help make the stories of the Ohio accessible to all people, including narratives, maps, traditional and 360 degree video, audio, GroundSource text messaging and social media.

The watershed isn’t an issue for only those on one side of the aisle. Drinking water quality, livelihoods supported by the river and its tributaries, the health and future of our watershed communities — these should not be partisan issues.

The project launched in November 2019 with a regular publication schedule through early February 2020.

The project was produced with support from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the National Geographic Society.