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Washington Post, Birmingham News among newspaper award winners
Washington Post, Birmingham News among newspaper award winners

Aug. 3, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) – The Washington Post's exposure of poor conditions, lax management and inadequate medical treatment of wounded veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center is the recipient of a 2007 Associated Press Managing Editors Award for Public Service.

The Birmingham (Ala.) News received the Public Service award in the 40,000-150,000 daily circulation category for an 18-month investigation finding that Alabama's system of community colleges lines the pockets of officials and others.

The Virgin Islands Daily News of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, won the small circulation category for hard-hitting accounts of corruption, incompetence and indifference in the islands' Police Department's Major Crimes Unit.

APME, an association of editors at 1,500 AP member newspapers in the U.S. and the Canadian Press in Canada, 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 ended Monday in New York. The awards will be presented during the group's annual conference Oct. 3-6 in Washington, D.C. Directors did not participate in discussions or votes on their own newspapers' entries.

Judges for the Public Service awards were past APME presidents Stuart Wilk, Deanna Sands and Suki Dardarian, managing editor of The Seattle Times; current president Karen Magnuson, editor and vice president of the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle; and Kristin Gazlay, AP deputy managing editor.

The public service award was one of two won by the Post in the 2007 journalism excellence competition. The newspaper's online division also won top honors in the Online category for its package "Being a Black Man."

In awards announced Friday (in order of circulation category – over 150,000, 40,000-150,000, and under 40,000):

► FIRST AMENDMENT:

■ San Francisco Chronicle, which stood with two of its reporters and refused to give up sources who provided information in an investigation of big-name athletes' use of banned drugs.

■ The Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y., which won a court case to unseal records of a half-billion-dollar a year program designed to provide tax breaks for new and expanding businesses.

■ The Record Searchlight of Redding, Calif., which won a two-and-a-half year battle to bring to light an investigative report on harassment and bullying by the superintendent and principal of a small high school district.

A First Amendment Sweepstakes Award will be announced at the APME conference.

Judges: Peter Kovacs, managing editor, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans; Carole Tarrant, editor, The Roanoke (Va.) Times; Hollis Towns, executive editor, The Cincinnati Enquirer; Otis Sanford, editor-opinion and editorials, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.; and David Tomlin, AP associate general counsel.

► INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE:

■ The Dallas Morning News, which used the story of a local woman to explore the problem of sexual exploitation of illegal immigrant children.

■ The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C., which used the story of a local man losing the use of his limbs to report how desperate Americans are flying to China for stem cell implants by Chinese doctors who bypass clinical trials and report miraculous cures.

■ No winner in the under 40,000 circulation.

Judges: Tom Eblen, managing editor, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader; Ken Chavez, assistant managing editor-interactive media, The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee; Karen Peterson, managing editor, The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash.; and Steven Komarow, AP senior deputy international editor.

► ONLINE CONVERGENCE:

■ The Washington Post and washingtonpost.com, for a series of poignant and provocative stories on being a black man.

■ The Roanoke (Va.) Times and roanoke.com, for coverage of the Virginia Tech campus shootings.

■ The Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World and ljworld.com, for looking at the lasting damage mining left on Kansas.

Judges: Donna Reed, vice president for news-publishing division, Media General Inc., Richmond, Va.; Troy Turner, editor, The Daily Times, Farmington, N.M.; Chrys Wu, CBS Television Stations Digital Media Group, representing the Online News Association; and Erin Hanafy, AP multimedia editor.

 In addition to the awards, APME judges gave First Amendment citations to these newspapers for freedom of information efforts:

■ The Miami Herald, for fighting courthouse secrecy after discovering more than 400 cases had been taken off the Broward County public docket, some involving divorces of the prominent and powerful.

■ The Dallas Morning News, which battled the Texas legislature's practice of passing laws without a recorded vote.

■ The Times Union, Albany, N.Y., for attacking secrecy in earmark spending by lawmakers in New York state.

■ The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa., which sued to see the expense reports of the state agency that gives college loans to students.

■ The Advocate of Baton Rouge, La., which fought back when FEMA refused to let a reporter interview residents at one of the FEMA trailer parks that still house thousands of residents in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

 


 

The judges listed finalists or honorable mentions in other categories:

► PUBLIC SERVICE:

Over 150,000:

■ The Seattle Times, for revealing how judges were illegally sealing records in hundreds of civil cases, providing cover for malpractice by doctors, lawyers and the police.

■ The Miami Herald, for reporting on Miami's working poor families trapped in decrepit housing and low-wage jobs even as the city flourishes with posh hotels and hip nightclubs.

■ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for exposing the suspicious deaths or physical and sexual abuse of patients in Georgia's state mental hospitals.

■ The Boston Globe, for exposing the unsavory business of debt collection.

■ Los Angeles Times, for exposing corporate practices by U-Haul International that increased the risks of accidents and breakdowns to drivers renting equipment over-due for safety checks.

■ The Sun of Baltimore, for documenting a 19th-century system of "ground rents" that increasingly is resulting in the loss of private property, often by the poor and elderly.

40,000-150,000:

■ The Honolulu Advertiser, for a five-part series finding that the growing ranks of homeless along one of Oahu's scenic beaches were many who simply couldn't afford the island's high housing prices.

■ The Record, Hackensack, N.J., for an investigation finding that despite assurances to the contrary, the public was significantly underwriting a private company's plans for a major development of the Meadowlands.

■ The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., for a report on crime and unsafe conditions within six high-rise apartments of the Wilmington Housing Authority.

■ The News-Democrat, Belleville, Ill., for an investigation into botched cases in the state's child abuse reporting system.

■ The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., for uncovering an unusually high rate of cancer among residents of a small neighborhood of Selinsgrove, Pa., following the deaths of young alumni of nearby Susquehanna University.

■ The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C., for documenting potentially catastrophic problems with the state's aging fleet of school buses.

Under 40,000:

■ The Daily News, Galveston, Texas, for stories finding that five years into Texas' deregulation of its electricity market, the experiment in free-market economics hasn't lived up to its promises.

■ The Enterprise, Brockton, Mass., for doggedly researching drug use and overdoses by local youths, coverage that led to several steps to better educate young people, health care providers and state agencies.

■ The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, Calif., for its investigation into the widespread prevalance of methampheamine abuse in San Luis Obispo County.

■ Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, for its investigation into lax security at 37 schools, reporting that led to the state taking steps to make schools more secure.

► INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE:

Over 150,000:

■ The Boston Globe, for documenting how President Bush, through a series of little-noticed executive orders, undercut promises that his "faith-based initiative" would maintain separation between church and state through foreign aid contracts, many of which went to Christian groups.

■ The Arizona Republic, for reporting little-covered topics illustrating the connections between Arizona and Mexico.

► APME ONLINE CONVERGENCE:

Over 150,000:

■ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and ajc.com, for coverage of the fatal crash of a bus carrying Bluffton University's baseball team.

40,000-150,000:

■ The Bakersfield Californian and bakersfield.com, for blogs and other coverage of the murder trial of a man accused of killing his wife, three children and his wife's mother.

Under 40,000:

■ Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier and tricities.com, for a tourism package involving the entire staff that incorporated local history and culture.

■ The Post Star and poststar.com, Glens Falls, N.Y., for an investigative follow-up to a highway accident.

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