Photo: FUSION TV

The Livingston Awards for Young Journalists and the University of Michigan today announced the 2018 finalists with FUSION being recognized with finalists in two categories. The Livingston Awards, popularly referred to as the Pulitzer for the Young, honor the best professionals under the age of 35 in traditional and new forms of journalism.

The documentary “O Girls,” produced by Kimberly Brooks and Roberto Daza, was named a finalist in the International Reporting category.

The doc followed Brooks as she documented the personal journey of five girls from The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls’ (OWLAG) inaugural class as they mark new milestones in their lives, including college graduation. Each of the stories showcased in “O Girls” personifies how education can empower young women and girls all over the world to do incredible things. While access to education has enriched the lives of the young women who graduated from the Leadership Academy, the documentary also delves into the challenges that come along with such a life-altering opportunity. In an interview, Winfrey notes that on average many of the girls had experienced six major life traumas before even coming to the Academy – from violence and sexual abuse to dealing with the deaths of several family members. Kimberly Brooks talks with OWLAG graduates Bongeka, Thando, Charmain, Debra and Mpumi about dealing with those traumas at a young age, as well as the personal pressure to succeed afterlife at the Academy and the challenge of balancing their lives in the U.S. with their South African roots.

FUSION’s documentary series “The Naked Truth” was selected as a finalist in the National Reporting category for its report “Wasteland.”

When President Trump chose Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, he tapped a politician renowned for his hostility toward environmental regulation to police the nation’s worst polluters. In a year-long investigation into Pruitt’s stewardship in Oklahoma, FUSION found a state struggling with several environmental disasters. The one-hour documentary, “The Naked Truth: Wasteland,” looks at Oklahoma as a microcosm of what could happen to the United States under the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency. Correspondent Natasha Del Toro takes viewers to Oklahoma to see how Pruitt’s record and cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry affects real people. She peels back the layers on Pruitt’s relationships with the fossil fuel industry and billionaire funders in order to understand what could become the blueprint for our nation’s future.

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Connie Fossi, Laura Juncadella, Kristopher Rios and Daniel Rivero produced the hour and Justine Gubar and Keith Summa served as executive producers.