First place: Staff, The Register-Mail

About this entry: “Over a period of years, The Register-Mail in Galesburg, Illinois, (population 32,000) watched as the dropping of charges in domestic violence cases became routine. It appeared the system wasn’t working, so the newsroom put its full force into assessing how well the justice system was working with regard to domestic violence cases.” — Tom Martin, editor

Read online: A Register-Mail special report on domestic violence

Follow Register-Mail on Twitter @Galesburg

This project, from start to finish, was a fantastic piece of public service journalism on something that so many families face but no one usually writes about. Your efforts, with the database, led to your community looking for ways to help these families in a more systematic way. Great work.

Second place: Adam Benson, The Norwich Bulletin

About this entry: “Soon after a man was arrested in a murder case, we found out he should have been deported to his native Haiti six months before. Through a series of stories following his legal case and the politics behind him being allowed to stay in the U.S., our reporting put pressure on the highest levels of government — to the point where the director of Homeland Security announced in January an investigation into the case would be opened.” — Jim Konrad

Read online: Lawmakers: Federal probe opened in accused Norwich killer’s deportation case

Follow Adam on Twitter @dreamoperator12

Fantastic work on an amazing story about how a violent crime never would have occurred if certain government agencies had just done their job. This work on the Haitian man showed how a newspaper, any size, can drive change and in this case, make this community safer.