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Leader corruption coverage wins national award

February 19. 2013 2:55AM

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Four members of The staff won a prestigious national award for excellence in journalism for continuing coverage of the Luzerne County corruption scandal.


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Terrie Morgan-Besecker, Jennifer Learn-Andes, Jerry Lynott and Gary Visgaitis earned the 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Investigative Reporting for newspapers of 50,000 and below circulation for their reporting, writing and graphic illustrations, the Society of Professional Journalists announced Monday.
“We’re very proud to have the work of The Times Leader recognized with this prestigious award. Winning for Investigative Reporting reflects the talent of our hardworking reporters and creative graphic artist,” said Joe Butkiewicz, vice president and executive editor of The Times Leader.
“The investigation of corruption in Luzerne County was an unprecedented news story in 2009. The Times Leader committed the resources we felt were necessary,” he said.
The awards recognize outstanding work published or broadcast. Entries included dozens of articles and several illustrations published throughout 2009.
The stories and illustrations, published between Jan. 31, 2009, and Nov. 31, 2009, included “Dealer a guest at judges’ condo,” “Growing crisis,” “The $2.6 million money trail,” “Crime of punishment?” “How juvie scandal was uncovered” and “Bringing justice to them all.”
Dave Janoski of The Citizens’ Voice, project editor for the competing Wilkes-Barre paper, won the national award for excellence in editorial writing.
“It’s a proud achievement for Dave and the newspaper,” said Larry Holeva, managing editor for the Voice. “He and our staff chased this kids-for-cash scandal aggressively for the better part of two years. We took an aggressive editorial position … and the recognition is an honor.”
The winners were chosen from more than 1,300 entries in categories covering print, radio, television and online journalism.
The awards will be presented in October at the SPJ national convention in Las Vegas.

Jen Marckini, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7210.

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