Uncovering malfeasance in local government, including preferential police handling of a retired state trooper’s mysterious car accident, earned The Eagle-Tribune top honors in the Best of CNHI journalism competition for 2012.
Judges named The Eagle-Tribune “Newspaper of the Year” in the contest’s largest circulation category, an honor the newspaper staff last won in 2008.
The Eagle-Tribune also won the Public Service award for Reporter Shawn Regan’s coverage of a former state trooper who struck and snapped a utility pole, drove from the scene with his air bags deployed, and was later found sitting by the side of the road in his SUV and smelling of alcohol. He was not arrested at the scene nor charged in the case until the paper disclosed the preferential treatment, which eventually led to disciplinary action against four police officers.
“This is an honor for our entire staff and I’m very proud of them. I think the judges recognized and honored us for what we do best: our watchdog reporting and our vigorous coverage of local news,” said Editor Al White. “These never go of style, and they’re the reason we have a bigger audience than ever across our multiple platforms, from social media to the web and our print editions.”
CNHI (Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.), an Alabama-based media company, is a leading publisher of community newspapers, websites and niche publications in the United States. CNHI serves more than 130 communities in 23 states.
The annual Best of CNHI recognizes the individual and collective works of the company’s journalists.
The judges, a panel of six veteran editors, said The Eagle-Tribune stood out among the group’s larger dailies “for coverage of political corruption, aggressive reporting of breaking news in print and online, and dogged pursuit of police attempts to cover up for one of their own.”