Monday, March 13, 2017

Rural S.D. reporter wins 2017 Public Notice Journalism Award and a $500 prize

Amanda Fanger
A rural South Dakota reporter was named winner of the 2017 Public Notice Journalism Award, reports the Public Notice Research Center. Amanda Fanger of Reporter & Farmer, a weekly newspaper in rural Day County, "won for a story that scratched below the surface of a public notice to reveal a potential embezzlement scheme in one of the small towns within her paper’s coverage area."

Fanger, who will receive a $500 award, earns a free trip to Washington, D.C, where she will be honored Thursday at a National Newspaper Association dinner at the National Press Club, reports PNRC. For her story she "followed up on an obscure reference to 'employee dishonesty' in the minutes of a town board meeting that were published in March 2016 as a public notice in Reporter & Farmer. She discovered that a recent legislative audit of the finances of Grenville, S.D., had concluded that the town’s former financial officer might have embezzled as much as $72,000. Digging a little deeper, Fanger learned the same person was being prosecuted for using a stolen credit card."

John Suhr, co-publisher for Reporter & Farmer, told PNRC, “No newspaper, no matter how big, can make it to every public meeting in its coverage area. It is because of public notices, however, that we are able to see their actions and follow up to help explain to the taxpayers what their board is doing.” 

Jim Lockwood of The Scranton Times-Tribune in Pennsylvania won second place and Victor Parkins of The Milan Mirror-Exchange in Tennessee won third place. Lockwood won the award in 2015. (Read more)

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