Tallahassee Democrat wins prime journalism prize for 4th consecutive 12 months for COVID, crime protection

For the fourth consecutive 12 months, the Tallahassee Democrat is taking residence the highest journalism award from the Florida Society.

For the fourth consecutive 12 months, the Tallahassee Democrat is taking residence the highest journalism award from the Florida Society of Information Editors — the Gold Medal — for a venture on the intersection of poverty and youth violence and a heart-wrenching look inside an area hospital’s COVID ward.

The Democrat additionally swept the highest 5 classes in its division with first locations in Breaking Information Reporting, Enterprise Tales, Investigative Reporting, Neighborhood Management and Options Writing.

The Gold Medal acknowledges “meritorious public service by a newspaper by way of distinguished reporting, writing and presentation.” The streak within the Division B class is unprecedented within the greater than a century that the Democrat has been serving the capital metropolis. Additionally uncommon, was a tie for the Gold Medal – each gained by Tallahassee Democrat journalists.

Subscribe right this moment:

Of their inaugural 12 months on the Tallahassee Democrat, breaking information reporter Christopher Cann and Ok-12 reporter Ana Goñi-Lessan gained the gold for his or her empathetic exploration of youth violence during which they chronicled a bunch of teenagers navigating a metropolis the place poverty can forged younger Black males into survival mode. One reader described it as maybe “one of the vital necessary articles I’ve learn” within the paper.

“I can not even think about rising up within the life described right here,” he wrote.

Digital specialist Grace Pateras was additionally given a share of the gold for her work in bringing the story to social media, particularly Instagram to succeed in teenagers on the platform during which they congregate.

“Thanks to DJ Tempo, Quinn Bryant, Markeem Martin, Braxton Gavin, Gabe Graham, DJ Bohler and Jordan for letting us inform their tales,” Goñi-Lessan mentioned. “We could not and would not have written this with out you.”

From left, Markeem Martin, DJ Bohler, Braxton Gavin, DJ Pace and Quinn Bryant joke around in the parking lot of The LIFE Center on Saturday, Dec.  11, 2021.

From left, Markeem Martin, DJ Bohler, Braxton Gavin, DJ Tempo and Quinn Bryant joke round within the car parking zone of The LIFE Middle on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.

Successful her second Gold Medal in two years, photojournalist Alicia Devine was honored for taking readers behind the skinny curtain that separates life from demise within the COVID ward at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. Her work on the peak of the delta variant surge was heralded as uncooked, highly effective and life-saving journalism.

“This was the primary time I watched somebody as they died,” she would later inform USA TODAY, after they chosen her photograph because the picture of the 12 months. “As quickly as I acquired in my automotive I referred to as my editor and sobbed. It is a second I’ll always remember.”

Each tasks exemplify the information group’s dedication to a neighborhood they love, mentioned Editor William Hatfield.

“It truly is an unimaginable group that really places its coronary heart, sweat and generally tears into the work,” Hatfield mentioned. “It is one among my highest honors to name them colleagues.”

The Democrat additionally took a primary place within the Investigative Reporting class for its “Contained in the Maddox Messages” collection that was constructed upon 1000’s of textual content messages obtained by the Democrat.

Reporters Chris Cann and Ana Goñi-Lessan

Reporters Chris Cann and Ana Goñi-Lessan

The messages — between disgraced former Metropolis Commissioner Scott Maddox and quite a few political movers and shakers — laid naked the way during which he performed enterprise behind the scenes throughout his final years in workplace. They revealed how Maddox brokered offers involving metropolis enterprise outdoors the sunshine, used a legally questionable heavy hand within the appointment of high-ranking officers and labored to hustle money from supporters.

“The tales had been the capstone to a corruption case first reported by the Democrat in 2017 and chronicled by its journalists for greater than 5 years,” Hatfield mentioned.

Photojournalist for the Tallahassee Democrat, Alicia Devine.

Photojournalist for the Tallahassee Democrat, Alicia Devine.

A historical past of excellence

Of particular word was a Breaking Information first place win shared by Sports activities Editor Jim Henry, his sports activities colleagues and the late Gerald Ensley eulogizing the demise of a Garnet and Gold legend when former FSU soccer coach Bobby Bowden died.

Hatfield famous that Ensley saved a working record of his awards on his pc. Now, he can add one other to the record.

“Like Bobby Bowden, Gerald was a fixture in Tallahassee houses and was often known as his beloved metropolis’s greatest historian,” Hatfield mentioned. “Even after Gerald handed on, we saved his obituary on Bowden lovingly up to date and delivered it to doorsteps on-line as a closing reward from Gerald to readers.”

“Typically breaking information is intricately deliberate, even over the a long time,” Hatfield continued. “And I do know Jim, who additionally misplaced a pal when the neighborhood misplaced a legend, is so honored to share this, together with the remainder of the sports activities group.”

All instructed, the Democrat gained eight first place, two second place and two third place awards within the FSNE contest and extra awards in different state and regional contests.

The newspaper is a member of the USA TODAY NETWORK – Florida, which includes 19 every day newspapers. In whole, the USA TODAY NETWORK gained 80 awards, together with the 2 gold medals and 27 first place awards. The community’s newspapers additionally gained 24 second place awards and 27 third place awards.

“As at all times, I hope you may help this group’s work by subscribing,” Hatfield mentioned. “We won’t do our jobs with out your help.”

An entire record of awards gained by the Democrat in Division B follows:

2022 Gold Medal Winners

TIE: Contained in the COVID Ward at TMH – Alicia Devine

TIE: Youth Gun Violence within the Capitol Metropolis – Ana Goñi-Lessan, Christopher Cann, Grace Pateras

Breaking Information Reporting

FIRST PLACE: The Dying of a Garnet and Gold Legend Bobby Bowden – Jim Henry, Gerald Ensley (posthumous), and employees

Enterprise Tales

FIRST PLACE: Youth Gun Violence within the Capitol Metropolis – Ana Goñi-Lessan, Christopher Cann, Grace Pateras

Investigative Reporting

FIRST PLACE: Contained in the Maddox Messages – Jeff Burlew, Jeffrey Schweers, Karl Etters

Neighborhood Management

FIRST PLACE: Contained in the COVID Ward at TMH – Alicia Devine

Options of Writing

FIRST PLACE: A Transition to his Genuine Self – Jack Williams

Web page Design

The award-winning cover of the Aug.  9 edition of the Tallahassee Democrat.

The award-winning cowl of the Aug. 9 version of the Tallahassee Democrat.

FIRST PLACE: The Dying of Bobby Bowden – Elora Karim

SECOND PLACE: Maddox Unmasked – Erin Wetzelberger

THIRD PLACE: Well being Care Heroes – Keith Saunders

Featured Images

FIRST PLACE: Life and Dying within the Tallahassee COVID Ward – Alicia Devine

Photograph Story

FIRST PLACE: The Transition of Zak Worms – Alicia Devine

SECOND PLACE: Life and Dying in a Tallahassee COVID ward – Alicia Devine

Editorial Cartoons

THIRD PLACE: Editorial Cartoons – Nathan Archer


Within the prestigious Inexperienced Eyeshade Awards, run by the Society of Skilled Journalists, the Democrat additionally carried out properly.

Competing in opposition to newspapers from across the Southeastern US, the Tallahassee Democrat and Alicia Devine gained the Print Graphics Division for small and enormous newspapers for her work contained in the TMH COVID ward.

As well as, the Democrat gained the next awards:

Deadline Reporting / Small Dailies

Investigative Reporting / Small Dailies

Characteristic Writing / Small Every day

Sports activities Commentary / All Dailies

Featured Images / Newspapers


The Tallahassee Democrat can be a finalist in quite a lot of classes within the Sunshine State Awards, organized by the Florida Society of Skilled Journalists.

  • Barbara A. Petersen Freedom of Info Award: A Lightning Rod Surgeon Basic – Jeffrey Schweers

  • COVID-19 – Characteristic Reporting: Contained in the TMH COVID Ward – Alicia Devine

  • Breaking Information Reporting: The Dying of Bobby Bowden – Jim Henry, Gerald Ensley (posthumous) and Employees

  • Non-Deadline Information Reporting (Small Papers): ‘It is Breaking Them’: Poverty and Youth Gun Violence – Ana Goñi-Lessan and Christopher Cann

  • Editorial Cartooning: The Toons of Nathan Archer – Nathan Archer

  • Beat Reporting – Authorities & Politics: John Kennedy assortment – John Kennedy

  • Beat Reporting – Underrepresented Communities: Black Teenagers in Survival Mode – Ana Goñi-Lessan & Christopher Cann

  • Images Options: Attending the Dying within the COVID Ward – Alicia Devine

  • Artwork/Photograph Illustration: Illuminated Athletes – Alicia Devine

By no means miss a narrative: Subscribe to the Tallahassee Democrat utilizing the hyperlink on the prime of the web page.

This text initially appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Tallahassee Democrat wins prime journalism prize for 4th 12 months in a row

This article was written by Alaska