At an awards ceremony held in Chapel Hill earlier this evening, the North Carolina Press Association announced the winners of its 2012 News, Editorial & Photojournalism Contest — and Mountain Xpress was one of them. This year, the Xpress news team took home three awards in the following categories: Investigative Reporting, News Feature Writing and Best Multimedia Project.
“I am very proud of the news staff, who do a lot with few resources, and who are very dedicated to what they do, very dedicated to their work,” says Xpress News Editor Margaret Williams.
The North Carolina Press Association gives these awards out each year, and papers enter in one of two contests (Daily Newspaper Edition or Community Newspaper Edition). The contest is done this way so that newspapers compete against comparable publications (by circulation numbers, publication type, etc.).
The award-winning work from Xpress is as follows:
2nd place, Investigative Reporting
In “Unprecedented: Sitel Workers Mount Historic Union Organizing Drive”, senior news reporter David Forbes conducted a months-long investigation about the union-organizing drive at the Asheville Sitel call center. He talked to numerous employees, current and former, about their working conditions. As part of this investigation, Forbes tried various means to get Sitel’s side of the story, including dozens of phone calls to different divisions of the company. His attempts were unsuccessful but, after much editorial deliberation, the story went to press. Following the article’s publication, Sitel responded and changed its labor policy.
2nd place, News Feature Writing
In “Truth trackers: APD’s cold-case sleuths defy the odds”, staff reporter Caitlin Byrd explored the unique challenges faced by the Asheville Police Department’s cold case unit — a unit which consists of two detectives who, at press time, had 24 local unsolved cases on their desks. Weaving together facts, case narratives and interviews with the detectives, Byrd shares what keeps these sleuths going despite the fact that less than 1 percent of cold cases ever get solved.
3rd place, Best Multimedia Project
In “Storify: Statehouse Candidates Face Off at the CIBO Luncheon” , Xpress staffers Caitlin Byrd, Max Cooper, David Forbes and Jake Frankel told the story of a CIBO luncheon debate with multimedia rather than with a straightforward article. Through tweets, text, video and photos, the team covered what happened when Buncombe County candidates running for seats in N.C. House districts 115 and 116 faced off at a Sept. 27 forum organized by the Council of Independent Business Owners.