From WRAL.com (2/12/09): The News & Observer is the winner of the 2008 Senator Sam award for the support of open government, presented Thursday by the North Carolina bureau of The Associated Press.
The Raleigh newspaper was honored for its coverage of the use of e-mail in the office of former Gov. Mike Easley. The stories exposed the efforts of staff members to skirt the state’s public records laws.
“It also detailed the changing stories and inconsistencies until the governor issued a new policy in the final days of his term,” wrote the judges who selected the paper as the winner. “The work has helped ensure open records for North Carolina’s people.”
The award is named for former North Carolina Sen. Sam J. Ervin. It was presented by Sue Price Johnson, the AP’s chief of bureau for North and South Carolina, at Thursday’s meeting of the North Carolina Press Association. The Charlotte Observer won an honorable mention for its series on workplace injuries in poultry plants.
Also Thursday, Johnson presented awards for writing, editing and outstanding cooperation with AP in North Carolina.
Jimmy Tomlin of the High Point Enterprise won the O. Henry Award for best writing among smaller newspapers for the second straight year.
Richard Stradling of The News & Observer won the Carl Bell award for excellence in editing, and Pam Kelley of The Charlotte Observer won the Thomas Wolfe Award for the best writing among large newspapers.
Brad Norman of the Statesville Record & Landmark won the Walter Spearman award for young writers. The award is named for a longtime journalism professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tom Marine of The Daily Reflector of Greenville won an honorable mention.
The Fayetteville Observer won the 2008 Tim Parker Award for its outstanding cooperation with the AP in North Carolina. The award, given for excellence in sharing of news stories and photos with the AP, is named for a former AP bureau chief. The Asheville Citizen-Times and The Wilson Daily Times were also cited for outstanding cooperation with the news cooperative.