The Bradenton Herald has been recognized with nine awards, including one of the Florida Press Club’s top honors, in the 2016 FPC Excellence in Journalism Competition.
The club’s prestigious Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting went to Herald law enforcement reporter Jessica De Leon for her coverage of the tragic death of 11-year-old Janiya Thomas. De Leon’s reporting brought dozens of questionable reports to light, exposing a severely flawed system in how abused children are tracked and monitored in our community.
A team of Herald reporters — Amaris Castillo, Kate Irby and De Leon — won the first-place award in breaking news reporting for their coverage of the discovery of Sabine Musil-Buehler’s remains on Anna Maria Island after her killer, William Cumber, took a plea deal.
Business reporter Janelle O’Dea won first place for business reporting for her stories about Slick’s Garage in Palmetto, local connections involving the Panama Papers and Manatee County Economic Development Corp. being misleading about the cost of living in Manatee.
Castillo earned first place for community news reporting with her reports about the struggle to preserve paradise on Anna Maria Island, a tie in the Bradenton Beach mayoral election that was broken with the drawing of cards, and tensions over the dock in Bradenton Beach.
Urban affairs reporter Mark Young won first place in general news for a story about the “power of poop” at Southeastern Guide Dogs, students walking with Manatee’s homeless, and a Palmetto police officer turning his sister’s death into a community triumph.
The “That’s So Florida” first-place award went to Castillo for her story about a former police canine that fought back when it was bitten by an alligator.
Sports reporter Jason Dill won a first-place award for sports feature writing for his stories about Pittsburgh Pirates’ Ron Necciai, Pirates’ pitchers trying out futuristic headwear, and a lacrosse star at IMG Academy. Dill won third place in sports column writing for a variety of his columns.
County reporter Claire Aronson won second place for government news reporting for her coverage of the Bradenton Bridges’ prison transition program and efforts to close it.
“We are extremely proud of our journalists, and are thrilled at this recognition,” Herald Executive Editor Joan Krauter said. “These awards show the breadth of quality coverage that the Herald is committed to: indepth, breaking news, commentary, community news, explanatory and just plain fun stories. Our reporters deserve this important recognition.”
The 65-year-old club distributed awards for journalists’ work Saturday night at its annual convention at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in St. Augustine. The Herald entered in the C circulation category.