Winners of first Gannett Foundation Award for Digital Innovation in Watchdog Journalism announced
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Posted by: Laura Sellers-Earl
The Chicago Tribune and the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune are winners of the first Gannett Foundation Award for Digital Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, administered by the Associated Press Managing Editors.
The award recognizes papers that creatively use digital tools in the role of being a community's watchdog.
Each winning paper will receive $2,500 from the Gannett Foundation and will be recognized at the APME conference Oct. 20-22 at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"We are thrilled to offer the Gannett Foundation Award for Digital Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, and we are extremely appreciative to Gannett for making the award possible,” said APME President Otis Sanford, Editor/Opinion and Editorials of The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn.
"Gannett and APME have enjoyed a longstanding association, and this prize confirms the value that both Gannett and APME have for news organizations that are doing exceptional work though innovative techniques to hold authorities accountable in their communities,” he said.
The Chicago Tribune won the award for papers over 75,000 with work produced by its News Apps Team – Brian Boyer, Joe Germuska, Christopher Groskopf and Ryan Mark – which was formed to create new ways to tell watchdog stories online.
"Whether it was accounting for aldermanic expenses, missing headstones or nursing home safety, the News Apps Team … was helping the public understand and explore important topics," wrote George Papajohn, the Tribune’s associate managing editor/investigations.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune won the award for papers under 75,000 for its flipping fraud investigation by reporters Michael Braga, Chris Davis and Matthew Doig that examined a decade's worth of Florida real estate sales.
"The stories were married with an interactive Web presentation that allowed readers to drill down to every suspicious Florida transaction the reporters found," wrote Mike Connelly, executive editor of the Sarasota newspaper.
In the under 75,000 division, the APME judges honored the Statesman Journal of Salem, Ore., with an honorable mention for its work on several watchdog projects.