Thursday, April 23, 2015

Scranton daily, Georgia weekly win awards for use of public-notice advertisements in news reporting

Jim Lockwood, staff writer for The Times-Tribune of Scranton, Pa., is the winner of the 2015 Public Notice Journalism award presented by the Public Notice Resource Center, which works to preserve laws requiring the paid publication of government notices in newspapers and encouraged them as sources for news reporting.

"Lockwood is recognized for his deft incorporation of public notice information into his coverage of local government," a PNRC release said. Lockwood also received the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association's 2014 Public Notice award for “persistent use of public notices in his reporting.”

PNRC President Bradley L. Thompson II, chairman and chief executive officer of Detroit Legal News, said Lockwood's “coverage of a proposed new commuter tax was a terrific example. The city ran the notices, but citizens sued because they believed the action was taken too quickly and without sufficient information to the taxpayers. Lockwood’s story referred readers to the dates of the notices so they could check for themselves.”

A second-place award for went to the weekly Monroe County Reporter of Forsyth, Ga., for reporting on a school district’s attempts to acquire property by condemnation over the landowner’s opposition. The district wanted to build an arts center on the site, but abandoned the project in the face of public opposition that began after the school board advertised its condemnation plans.

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