|Al Smith, for whom the award was named, and Stevie Lowery|
"The newspaper helps people open their minds," she said. "I think it’s what I love the most about my job. At my small community newspaper, I have written stories about the first gay couple to legally adopt in our community, the first gay couple to legally marry in our county, and this year reporter Emily LaForme wrote about an amazingly brave transgender teenager – a story that will undoubtedly win awards. But, it’s not about the awards. That’s not why we do what we do. . . . We write these stories to educate people – to help them understand, to open their eyes, their minds, and their hearts."