Platts Editor Wins Society of Professional Journalists' 2012 Public Service Award

Brian Hansen to Receive Sigma Delta Chi Medal at National Press Club Ceremony

Apr 23, 2013, 13:59 ET from Platts

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Platts Inside Energy Managing Editor Brian Hansen was today named the winner of one of journalism's most prestigious honors – the Society of Professional Journalists' (SPJ) Sigma Delta Chi award for public service in newsletter journalism – for his 2012 enterprise reporting about conflicts between private landowners and the oil and gas companies that drill on their properties.

In selecting Hansen for its award, the SPJ recognized his documentation of how landmen, who work on behalf of oil and gas companies, sometimes negotiate leasing agreements that allegedly deprive poor, elderly or unsophisticated landowners of their fair share of drilling royalties.

"Brian's commitment to quality journalism embodies what Platts is all about, and having that commitment honored by the Society of Professional Journalists is welcome praise and inspiring," said Dan Tanz, vice president of Platts, founded by journalist Warren Platt in 1909 and now a leading energy, petrochemicals and metals information provider.

The award-winning coverage  — which took nearly a month to complete — proved difficult to report because landowners, oil and gas companies and local officials were reticent to discuss issues clouded by pending litigation. Hansen had to piece together some accounts using court records and other information.  

In the article "Sometimes, Oil and Gas Leasing Can Get Ugly," published in Platts' Inside Energy and Gas Daily in September 2012, Hansen detailed the case of a North Dakota landowner who alleged that an oil and gas company misrepresented its intentions and ability to drill a sufficient number of wells on her valuable Bakken Shale property, causing her severe financial and legal hardship.  A sidebar to the piece looked at the vagaries of oil and gas leases, illustrating how some Louisiana landowners benefited to the tune of $152 million due to a technical stipulation in their contract, while some Pennsylvania residents saw little financial gain because of the unfavorable terms of their agreements.

"It's an honor to be recognized for work I put a lot of time into and to be in the esteemed company of past winners," said Hansen, who works in the Washington, D.C. offices of Platts.

Hansen, a nine-year veteran of Platts, will receive the Sigma Delta Chi medal at the SPJ awards banquet on June 21 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

"We're proud of Brian and of this award for outstanding journalism," said Bill Loveless, Hansen's manager and host of Platts Energy Week, an all-energy news and talk program airing in Washington, Houston, other energy-producing areas and online. "It recognizes his dedication to analytical reporting that probes deeply, explains well and shows savvy for the markets that Platts covers."

The national award dates back to 1932 and currently commemorates excellence in print, television, radio and online journalism graphics and research. Other news organizations recognized in recent years with Sigma Delta Chi awards include the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

This is not Hansen's first SPJ award. He was the recipient of SPJ's Colorado Political Reporting top honors for his reporting in 1998 and was bestowed third place for the SPJ's 1998 Award for Science and Environmental Reporting. An accomplished journalist, he has numerous writing honors, including the Scripps Howard Foundation Award for public service reporting in 1999 for a series of articles that raised questions about a major initiative at the University of Colorado, which prompted the school's president to resign. Hansen was also part of a team of journalists who won the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award for Legal Affairs Reporting in 2002 for their coverage of how U.S. civil liberties were impacted by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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