2022 PUBLICK OCCURRENCES AWARDS
Seven Days: Roaches and Broken Locks, the Bove family as local slum landlords. Lots of research and a strong contrast between the sloppy and uncaring property management biz vs. the family pasta sauce business. It was an important story that told the problems faced by tenants who were disadvantaged because of income or possibly language/cultural barriers. This issue affected a number of people, and the publication took on a prominent local family that seemed to think they were above the law. Well reported and well-written.
The Martha’s Vineyard Times: The Housing Crisis on Martha’s Vineyard. The paper let the affected residents tell their stories along with statistics and other details that really brought the issue home to the readers. Although the package didn’t present any clear solutions to the housing crisis it did spell out, in the words of the people affected by it, how important and stressful the search for affordable housing on the Vineyard can be.
Connecticut Health: While this wasn’t a unique approach to telling the COVID story through the words of a survivor, it was very well done and laid out his near-death experience and the long, cautious path. The publication did a good job with details and photos.
Berkshire Eagle, Project Paycheck: This series had it all – engaging reporting, reader involvement, links to follow, charts, photos, surveys, and more. It makes no pretenses, telling readers up front it will consist of informal dispatches from the writer relayed in a breezy first-person style. It is an inviting and personal look at the decline of jobs in Berkshire County during and after the pandemic. It is filled with interesting quips like this one: “Employers in Berkshire County have more openings than an amateur comedy night.”
Providence Business News, Everybody’s Business: This is a very topical approach to business reporting against a backdrop of national divisiveness over race, immigration, and ethnicity. The one-page stories are well-illustrated and pose the same questions to each subject along with a narrative intro. The paper is to be commended for the diversity in the series, featuring a Native American, a Guatemalan, and a Venezuelan along with Black and Asian American subjects.
The Granite State News Collaborative’s Manchester housing project is an innovative examination of some of the underlying and rarely discussed causes of income inequality and segregation. It was more than thoroughly researched, informative, and well-written with many voices. Lively, nuanced, alert reporting and writing
The Sun-Journal’s exhaustive but not exhausting “Legacy of Pain.” At first, I thought, oh no another opioid screed. But it was superbly written and edited and has many, many voices. A multi-sourced project with real impact.
The Union-Leader’s stories revealing that its former caustic and conservative publisher William Loeb Jr. was a pedophile takes the concept of holding the powerful accountable to a new level. The decision to publish the compelling accounts of Loeb’s stepdaughter and daughter took courage and a deep commitment to journalism’s truth-telling responsibility. Although Loeb has been dead for four decades, these stories further cement his notorious legacy far beyond his racist, antisemitic, and vindictive misuse of the power of the press.
Seven Days’ “The Doctor Won’t See You Now.” By far the most impactful and best-told story. Fascinating reporting on the egregious delays in medical care by a major medical network in Vermont. The reporting appears to have prompted a state investigation. I was glued to the story. The weaving of patient and practitioner stories with data on medical care in Vermont was first-rate. 1) Seven Days – terrific professional response to an everyday occurrence shows a serious health problem for the entire community.
MassLive. This story on the proposed shutdown of the Northampton VA medical center was a good piece of advocacy that probably had a hand in saving the complex from closure. However, the impact was limited to the immediate area and perhaps a few hundred people. Not sure that it gave enough space to the other side, to the reasons for the proposed closure. 2) Northampton VA – using all of its investigative resources, MassLive gets the story that not even public officials knew about.
New London Day – A thoughtful response to a horrendous possibly race-based murder, provides different options to change attitudes Great idea with interesting interviews
Eagle-Tribune – The paper didn’t wait for the slow wheels of justice to bring a suspect back to face the murder charge of more than three decades before, it sent a reporter to the Alabama small town where he had fled after the crime.
The Inquirer and Mirror – PFAS – The Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror mustered its resources to bring readers sustained, balanced and informative reportage of the presence of a class of carcinogenic chemicals on the island. The extensive and enterprising coverage, across varied platforms, fostered public awareness and influenced public policy. The Inquirer and Mirror’s commitment to this story stands as a model of journalism accomplished in service to the community.
Concord Monitor – Shots Fired – The Concord Monitor’s series on “Shots Fired” is well-written, well-laid out, and well-illustrated. It examines in some depth an issue familiar to many communities, police departments, and victims and their families. The piece on the ills suffered by police officers who shoot people suffering mental health crises is especially revelatory, in the main because of its up-close look at a police officer hampered by emotional aftereffects from his shooting and killing of a disturbed man. The final piece offers a glimmer of help and hope in its focus on mobile crisis teams.
Seven Days – Locked Out – Seven Days presents an exhaustive report on Vermont’s struggles with the relatively high cost and the scarcity of housing in that state. The report is well-researched and rife with statistics relevant to Vermont’s housing stock and its residents’ ability to afford housing. The series is enhanced by a laudable use of art to illustrate a topic that could be difficult to adorn.