Gulf Coast newspapers receive President's Award; other honors in APME contests
July 27, 2006
NEW YORK (AP) – The Times-Picayune of New Orleans and The Sun Herald
of south Mississippi will receive President's Awards for Public Service
from the Associated Press Managing Editors association for continuing
to publish and provide essential information to their communities as
they dealt with the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.
It is the first time a president's award has been made in APME's
newspaper contests. Previously a handful have been awarded to AP staff.
APME President Suki Dardarian, deputy managing editor of The Seattle
Times, said she decided to award the special recognition because of the
extraordinary commitment the newspapers made.
"In the most dire of times, these two newsrooms moved in to serve
their communities with vision, urgency and passion," she said. "Since
the storm, they have served as watchdog and town hall – and heart and
soul – of their readers. Their work is a powerful and inspiring
reminder of the value of true community service journalism."
An association of editors at 1,500 AP member newspapers in the U.S.
and the Canadian Press in Canada, APME recognizes journalism excellence
with annual awards in four categories. This year's winners were
selected during a meeting of the association's board of directors that
concluded Monday in New York. The awards will be presented during the
APME conference Oct. 25-28 in New
Orleans. Directors did not participate in discussions or votes on their
own newspapers' entries.
APME awards will be presented in these categories, in order of circulation (over 150,000,
40,000-150,000, and under 40,000):
— The Los Angeles Times, for an investigation
exposing horrific abuses by professional conservators of the elderly
they are hired to protect.
— The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, for stories showing gross mismanagement of a $50 million investment by the state into rare coins.
— The Merced (Calif.) Sun-Star, for dogged pursuit of a district attorney accused of committing numerous abuses.
— The South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Fort
Lauderdale, Fla., for expansive, ongoing efforts to uncover how the
Federal Emergency Management Agency gives millions of dollars in
disaster relief to ineligible recipients.
— The State of Columbia, S.C., for its efforts to
inform taxpayers about a powerful legislator's public funding of a pet
project with virtually no oversight.
— The Galveston County (Texas) Daily News, for
pushing a state land office to comply with requests for information
casting doubts about the success of a highly touted state energy
A First Amendment Sweepstakes Award will be announced at the APME conference.
— The Star Tribune of Minneapolis for a deeply
personal look at how an entire community in Mexico relies on
contributions from its residents working in Minnesota.
— The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., for a
stories demonstrating the economic ties between the state of Washington
and China and suggesting future development.
— The Greeley (Colo.) Tribune, for "North to
Colorado," a multi-layered look at how immigrants from Mexico are
changing the face of Colorado.
— The Dallas Morning News and dallasnews.com, for a print and online package "South by Southwest," a film and music event.
— The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., and www.lohud.com, for coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament.
— Culpeper (Va.) Star Exponent and starexponent.com, for a package on Allie Thompson, a black man killed by a lynch mob in 1918.
In addition to the awards, APME judges give First Amendment citations to these newspapers for freedom of information efforts:
— The Seattle Times and The Miami Herald for
exposing legal system secrecy in which local judges routinely and
arbitrarily sealed lawsuits from public scrutiny.
— The Sun of Lowell, Mass., for broad efforts to ensure public access to government and quasi-government information.
— The Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y., which made new law through efforts to get court records.
— The Eagle of Bryan-College Station, Texas,
which requested and obtained e-mail files that brought into question a
little-known attorney's relationship with a judge and his appointment
of her to a juvenile justice program.
The judges listed finalists or honorable mentions in other contest categories:
— Wall Street Journal, for an investigation reporting that stock options often are rigged in favor of company executives.
— The Tennesseean, Nashville, Tenn., for
overcoming secrecy and hidden documents to report on the criminal
backgrounds of many state troopers.
— USA Today, for a package of stories examining fire risks facing the elderly.
— The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, for an investigation into hazards faced by migrant farm workers in fields treated with chemicals.
— The Dallas Morning News, for exposing corruption in the Dallas school district's technology department.
— The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., for a
report on the diseases, dangers and lack of medical care of Delaware's
prisons and the failure of the state to do anything about it.
— The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind., for an
investigation into questionable activities at a foundation formed to
aid local children.
— The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette, for a series
revealing the rising death toll from use of the drug methadone and
government's failure to warn the public.
— Post Register, Idaho Falls, Idaho, for finding
that civil and criminal court files dealing with pedophile Boy Scout
leaders were disappearing from courthouse computers.
— Greeley (Colo.) Tribune, for a series of
stories "Saving our Schools" aimed at improving the local school
district's performance scores.
— The Denver Post, which visited several east
African nations to observe and write about non-traditional partnerships
to save lives amid the poverty.
— The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, which wrote
about a Des Moines doctor's obsession with improving conditions in a
small part of the impoverished African country of Mali and included a
look at U.S. trade, foreign aid and humanitarian policies.
— Florida Today of Melbourne, Fla., for a look at many international aspects of the busy cruise ship hub of Port Canaveral.
— The Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel, for a look at local immigration from the brutally repressive regime of Myanmar.
— San Jose Mercury News and mercurynews.com, for its package, Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice.
— Houston Chronicle, for coverage of Ken Lay's and Jeff Skilling's Enron trials.
— The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., and Delawareonline.com, for "Losing Stephen: The Anguish of a Soldier's Mother."
— The Day, New London, Conn., for "Shape Up for Summer Challenge."