SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — McClatchy (OTC: MNIQQ) today announced the winners of the annual President’s Awards that recognizes the best work from journalists across the company’s 30 local newsrooms.  This year’s awards spotlighted high-impact, investigative and accountability journalism that revealed local government corruption, the failure of the nation’s foster care system, overcrowding and violence in a local jail and the injustice of an underfunded and understaffed public defenders system in Missouri. 

The McClatchy President’s Awards, now in their 20th year, recognize the best work of 2019 by journalists company-wide.

«Congratulations to this year’s winners, whose efforts have provided vital information to our communities, held the powerful to account and given voice to the powerless,» said Craig Forman, President and Chief Executive Officer, McClatchy. «Your work represents the highest expression of our mission and clearly demonstrates the value and necessity of strong, independent, local journalism.»

Recognizing the distinguished panel of award judges, Forman said, «We are very grateful to our judges this year, who devoted their time and energy to review the submissions while also dealing with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.»

«These entries are a great tribute to local journalism,» said Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, The New York Times, and a President’s Award judge.  «They were inspiring to read.»

The panel of judges who reviewed nominations included Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, The New York Times; Richard Gingras, Vice President, News, Google; Raju Narisetti, Global Publishing Director Elect, McKinsey & Company; Jennifer Preston, Vice President, Journalism, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Laura Zornosa, Journalism/International Studies Major, Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism; and Cynthia DuBose, Senior Editor for Special Projects, McClatchy. 

The winners were announced at a virtual awards ceremony held via livestream. During the awards, Kristin Roberts, VP of News commented, «The winners of this year’s President’s Awards truly represent the extraordinary level of journalism being produced across our newsrooms. There has never been a more challenging time to be a journalist, and I want to express my deep gratitude to our winners and to everyone in our newsrooms who, every day, are delivering on our mission of essential local journalism in the communities we serve.»

Here is the complete list of this year’s President’s Award winners. The list includes judges’ comments and links to the winning stories.

The (Raleigh) News & Observer
Andrew Carter, Reporter and Jessica Koscielniak, Video Journalist 
When a Hero Came Home | Riley Howell/UNC-Charlotte shooting
«A poignant multi-layered profile of a family’s grief at the loss of a loved one who died attempting to stop an all-too-common incident of mass shooting. ‘When a Hero Comes Home’ goes beyond the moment, beyond the ephemeral media spotlight, beyond the simple idealization of a hero to present the pride and pain of a family accepting that Riley Howell did what he would expect of others and thus what he himself would have to do.» Richard Gingras, Vice President, News, Google

The Kansas City Star 
Laura Bauer, Judy L. Thomas and Eric Adler, Reporters
Shelly Yang and Reshma Kirpalani, Video Journalists
Neil Nakahodo, Motion Graphics
Throwaway Kids | The grave failures of the foster care system
«A year-long investigation that examined and exposed what, exactly, happens to children across the country after they age out of the foster care system. Taking community engagement to the next level, the Star reached out to nearly 6,000 inmates in 12 different states to compile a powerful image of the systemic pipeline that shuttles children from foster care into prison. This series is a must-read for every American.» Laura Zornosa, Journalism/International Studies Major, Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism

Miami Herald 
Emily Michot and Brittany Peterson, Video Journalists
Julie Brown, Jessica Koscielniak, Producers
Sohail Al-Jamea, Motion Graphics
Perversion of Justice  | A Miami Herald investigation and video documentary
«This video documentary gives a platform to the voices of the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, the multi-millionaire and serial pedophile first investigated by the Herald last year. While that series also won a President’s Award in 2019, this year’s subsequent mini-doc focuses on the women who had been shut out of the court process – a masterpiece of empathetic reporting and investigative prowess.» Laura Zornosa, Journalism/International Studies Major, Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism 

The Sacramento Bee
Ryan Sabalow, Phillip Reese, Dale Kasler, Sr. Writers, Alyssa Hodenfield, Visuals and Nathaniel Levine, Visuals Editor
Destined to Burn 
«A constructive look at the California paradox of living in an idyllic slice of heaven that will inevitably become a searing spot of hell. Destined to Burn is both a pragmatic examination of how California might prepare for its environmental challenges and an enigmatic look at our apparent acceptance of probable destruction.»  Richard Gingras, Vice President, News, Google

The Wichita Eagle
Chance Swaim, Jonathan Shorman, Reporters, Dion Lefler, Sr. Journalist and Jaime Green, Visuals Editor 
Special treatment 
«This is as simple, elegant and hard-hitting as it gets. A reporter substituting on a beat finds governmental corruption. Classic, hard-hitting, hard-nosed, old-fashioned  investigative reporting finds the mayor gave hundreds of millions of dollars in business to his friends.» Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, The New York Times

Lexington Herald-Leader 
John Cheves, Reporter and Patrick Gleason, Motion Graphics 
Caged 
«This was a beautifully-written, crystal-clear story that let the outrages and the victims speak for themselves. It had deep historical perspective and was open about its mission — to provoke reform of a system that has been in crisis for years. This is classic big, ambitious public service journalism.» Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, The New York Times

The San Luis Obispo Tribune 
Monica Vaughan, Writer, Cassandra Garibay, Reporter, David Middlecamp, Photographer, Stephanie Finucane, Associate Editor Opinion Page and Ashley Ladin, Reporter (Intern)
Air Quality on or Near Nipomo Mesa  
«This is quintessential high impact journalism that brings to life a serious, silent hazard, one that a community has lived with — indeed even enjoyed using — for decades, without understanding the deadly effects on their air quality. From the crowdsourcing of community example and data analysis, to the compelling storytelling and ‘news you can use,’ and, ultimately, to its concrete positive impact, this is what powerful local journalism is all about.» Raju Narisetti, Global Publishing Director Elect, McKinsey & Company

McClatchy DC Bureau
Tara Copp, Ben Wieder, Shirsho Dasgupta, Reporters, Reshma Kirpalani, Video Journalist and Meta Viers, Producer 
Patrick Gleason, Motion Graphics 
Stricken | Why are so many Iraq, Afghanistan war veterans getting cancer? 
«This package demonstrates what happens when a team of journalists work tirelessly to build a data-driven investigation and multi-media content package. The investigation intricately threaded detailed, heart wrenching stories of veterans battling cancer with deeply-reported data. It’s no surprise that after Stricken published, dozens of emails from veterans and their families poured in asking that McClatchy keep digging.» Cynthia DuBose, Senior Editor, Audience Growth + Loyalty 

The Charlotte Observer
Ames Alexander, Gavin Off, David Raynor, Reporter and John Simmons, Photographer
Patrick Gleason, Motion Graphics 
Dismissed 
«Dismissed stands out for the thoroughness of its data-informed journalism that doesn’t stop at the more common ‘guns don’t kill people, people do’ storytelling. It provides a very compelling, well-told story on what enables serial, gun-related crimes to occur in a community, and the continued culpability of a legal system that is failing Mecklenburg’s residents.» Raju Narisetti, Global Publishing Director Elect, McKinsey & Company

The Kansas City Star 
Dave Helling, Opinion Writer and Katie Moore, Reporter
Defenseless  
«A seething look at Missouri’s underfunded and understaffed public defender system. This series spotlights lives changed forever as a result of a long-ignored problem. Defenseless is a prime example of shoe-leather reporting at its best. For six months, a reporter and opinion columnist traveled across the state interviewing public defenders, prosecutors, judges and defendants in more than two dozen counties. The series ran in seven parts: five news stories, bookended by a column and an editorial calling for the state to fund and fix the public defender’s office. Perhaps the most powerful part of this series, the reaction it ignited throughout the state — lawmakers promised urgency in solving the problem and readers lauded the series via a full-page ‘thank you’ advertisement in The Star.» Cynthia DuBose, Senior Editor, Audience Growth + Loyalty, McClatchy 

About McClatchy
McClatchy operates 30 media companies in 14 states, providing each of its communities with strong independent local journalism in the public interest and advertising services in a wide array of digital and print formats. McClatchy publishes iconic local brands including the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star, The Sacramento Bee, The Charlotte Observer, The (Raleigh) News & Observer, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. McClatchy is headquartered in Sacramento, Calif. #ReadLocal

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