First place: Michael Barrett, The Gaston Gazette
About this entry: Michael Barrett’s submissions included both investigations of advantages being taken by local politicians and a look at a Gastonia family affected by a Texas flood on the 50th anniversary of the flood, which all lend themselves to showing his ability to masterfully report on whatever topic comes his way.
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Obviously a dogged reporter who is making a difference through his work. Excellent job.
Second place: Julie Sherwood, Daily Messenger
About this entry: Julie Sherwood’s news writing asked important questions about the safety of local drinking water, shed light on a dispute between neighbors over a private road and exposed a lack of financial information for voters in an impending election.
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A real pro. Thorough and well-told stories. The road dispute in particular really sucked me in.
Third place: Aaron Curtis, Daily Messenger
About this entry: Aaron Curtis’ five-part series about area cold cases makes for a wonderful example of crime reporting done right. His investigations are engaging without being overly sensational and also take care to remain sensitive to affected members of the community.
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A fine storyteller. Sensitive treatment of stories that are obviously painful for his sources to discuss.