"As part of his reporting, Duhigg reviewed hundreds of scientific papers and spoke with dozens of researchers. He filed more than 500 Freedom of Information Act requests, built his own database, and ran thousands of queries to search for patterns in the data."That's worth some sort of FOI award as well!
Apart from this recognition, the Toxic Waters series has received The Scripps Howard National Journalism Award, the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Medal, the National Academies’ reporting award, the investigative reporting award from the Society of Environmental Journalists, the 2009 Science in Society Journalism Award, as well as recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Deadline Awards, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the Loeb Awards, and the John B. Oakes Awards at Columbia University.
I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has had success or failure in seeking access to data held in databases under Australian freedom of information laws.