Newspapers honored for journalism excellence
Posted June 26, 2008
NEW YORK (AP) – Investigative journalism which revealed that Mayor
Kwame Kilpatrick and his chief of staff lied under oath in a costly
lawsuit against the city earned Detroit's Free Press a Public Service
Award from the Associated Press Managing Editors Association.
The newspaper's report followed a review of 14,000 text messages
sent to and from the female chief of staff's city-issued pager. Days
later a prosecutor investigated and eventually charged Kilpatrick and
his aide with 12 felonies combined, including perjury, obstruction of
justice and misconduct in office.
The Virgin Islands Daily News of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands,
won the small circulation category for uncovering an ill-conceived fee
that the territory's waste management authority was quietly planning to
impose on every business and individual. It was the newspaper's second
consecutive Public Service award and fifth in 13 years.
In the 40,000 to 150,000 circulation category, The News Journal of
Wilmington, Del., won for a series of stories revealing patient abuse,
rape and assaults, and felons working as doctors and attendants at
Delaware's only mental hospital.
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 five categories. This year's winners were
selected during a meeting of the association's board of directors. The
awards will be presented during the group's annual conference Sept.
8-11 Las Vegas. Directors did not participate in discussions or votes
on their own newspapers' entries.
Judges for the Public Service awards were past APME presidents Karen
Magnuson, editor and vice president of the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat
and Chronicle; David Hawpe, vice president and editorial director of
The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.; and Suki Dardarian, managing
editor of The Seattle Times; current president David Ledford, editor of
The News-Journal; and Lou Ferrara, AP managing editor.
Three finalists were selected for APME's second annual Innovator of
the Year Award: the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for its watchdog team in
print and on the Internet; the Las Vegas Sun for Web innovations,
including a history of Las Vegas; and Florida Today of Melbourne, Fla.,
for a "mission control" approach to print and online coordination. The
winner will be selected by the audience in an interactive presentation
in Las Vegas.
In awards announced Thursday (in order of circulation category – over 150,000, 40,000-150,000, and under 40,000):
■ Over 150,000: The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C., for
shedding "electronic sunshine" on e-mail written by public officials,
which are public records and must be kept.
■ 40,000-150,000: The Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel, which
aggressively fought against back-door dealings of the Knox County
Commission, winning a lawsuit to have commission appointments
■ Under 40,000: The Post-Star of Glens Falls, N.Y., where the
paper and its editorial page editor, Mark Mahoney, have made First
Amendment issues extremely accessible to readers through the
user-friendly "Your Right to Know" blog.
The Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel received the Sweepstakes Award.
In addition to the three category winners, the judges awarded a
First Amendment Citation to The Phoenix New Times for aggressively
investigating and reporting on grand jury subpoenas seeking notes,
tapes and confidential sources from any contact with Sheriff Joe
Arpaio, an investigation which expanded to other citizens.
Judges: Peter Kovacs, managing editor, The Times-Picayune,
New Orleans; Jan Touney, managing editor, Quad City Times, Davenport,
Iowa; Otis Sanford, editor-opinion and editorials, The Commercial
Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.; and David Tomlin, AP associate general counsel.
■ Over 150,000: The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C., for a
four-part series reporting a North Carolina National Guard sergeant's
struggle with a promise he was unable to keep to a local woman – that
he would bring her son back from Iraq alive.
■ 40,000-150,000: Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Ariz., for the
emotional story of locating the family and returning to them the body
of a young Mexican man who died attempting to cross the border.
■ Under 40,000: The Brownsville (Texas) Herald, for "Worlds
Apart" reporting the marked difference between public schools in
Brownsville and those across the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico.
Judges: Hank Klibanoff, managing editor-enterprise, Atlantic
Journal-Constitution; Jill Nevels-Haun, executive editor/director of
content and audience development, The News-Messenger, Fremont, Ohio;
and Mary Rajkumar, AP international desk.
■ Over 150,000: The Oregonian, Portland, Ore., for an
engrossing series of video diaries recounting the final days of a
former Oregonian news researcher dying of lung cancer.
■ 40,000-150,000: The Roanoke (Va.) Times, which looked at
the rapid graying of the region and whether it was prepared for the
swelling ranks of senior citizens.
■ Under 40,000: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, for a
multi-platform collection of coverage of the 2007-08 Kansas Jayhawks
national basketball championship season.
Judges: Carole Tarrant, editor, The Roanoke (Va.) Times;
Maria Lettman, assistant managing editor-Internet, The Record,
Hackensack, N.J.; Ken Chavez, assistant managing editor-interactive
media, The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee; and Shazna Nessa, AP interactive.
• • •
The judges listed finalists or honorable mentions in other categories:
■ Pittsburgh Post Gazette, for revealing a bogus MBA degree awarded to the West Virginia governor's daughter.
■ The New York Times, for stories examining scams taking advantage of senior citizens.
■ The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, for investigating difficulties workers face in the chicken industry.
■ The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C., for investigating how a
simple trash fire ended up consuming a large furniture store and
killing nine firefighters.
■ The Ann Arbor (Mich.) News, for a look at the relationship between academics and athletics at the University of Michigan.
■ Star-News, Wilmington, N.C., for environmental reporting
documenting and analyzing the dangers of contaminants at Camp LeJeune.
■ The Argus, Fremont, Calif., for a four-part series investigating clergy child sex abuse in the Diocese of Oakland.
■ Galveston County (Texas) Daily News, for reporting on the failed
promises of lower prices in deregulation of Texas' electricity markets.
■ The News-Tribune, Tacoma, Wash., for a print and online blog entry
about a group of barflies who decide to deliver four used police cars
and a fully loaded ambulance to a desperate town in central Mexico
3,000 miles away.
■ The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, for deep reporting on the grueling recovery of an 18-year-old girl shot in the face.
■ St. Louis Post-Dispatch, for an intimate look at young recruits who signed up for the Army.
■ The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for reporter Ian
Brown's intimate account of his son and the rare syndrome that afflicts
■ The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, for effectively reporting the Iowa Caucuses in print and online.
■ The Providence (R.I.) Journal, for a multimedia look at the gangs of Providence.
■ Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Ill., which raised questions
whether a sudden increase in brain cancer was the result of coincidence
or something else.
■ The Day, New London, Conn., for a look at the lives of 42 soldiers with ties to Connecticut who had died in Iraq.