Ten newspapers, including the Deseret News, have been named finalists in the Associated Press Managing Editors association's 25th annual Public Service Awards competition.
The 10 finalists were chosen from newspapers of more than 50,000 daily circulation. The association also chose as finalists an additional nine newspapers with less than 50,000 circulation.One winner in each category will be announced during the annual APME convention in Indianapolis on Oct. 27.
Rich Archbold, immediate past president of APME and chairman of the judging panel, said the judges were impressed with the high quality of entries in the silver anniversary year of the competition.
"Public service journalism is alive and well based on what the judges saw during the days of judging," said Archbold, managing editor of the Press-Telegram of Long Beach, Calif. "We had a difficult time in selecting the finalists because of the overall excellence of the entries."
The finalists in the over-50,000 circulation category are:
- The Deseret News for disclosing the U.S. government had secretly bombarded Utah for dec-ades with much more nerve gas, germ warfare, nuclear fallout and other radioactive dust than residents ever imagined.
- The Plain Dealer of Cleveland for revealing that managers of a public investment pool had secretly pursued a risky strategy of borrowing against $700 million in assets to raise money.
- Dayton (Ohio) Daily News for its series "Prisoners on the Payroll," a comprehensive report that detailed how the United States Armed Forces continue to pay some military prisoners, including seven murderers, 58 rapists and 164 child molesters.
- Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for "Profits from Pain," a five-part series disclosing chronic abuses in a costly welfare program, including inadequate medical services, widespread HMO enrollment fraud and rampant profit-taking by HMO promoters.
- The Kansas City (Mo.) Star for "KCPD Green," an investigation that revealed the Kansas City Police Department had stockpiled as much as $9 million a year for high-ranking officers to use for whatever they needed with little or no governmental oversight.
- The Miami Herald for its series "Crime and No Punishment," which showed that Miami suffers more crime and metes out less punishment than any other big city in America.
- The Times Picayune of New Orleans for its series "Stacking the Deck: The Birth of Louisiana Gambling." An eight-month investigation of Louisiana's unregulated gambling industry revealed that the governor and his allies intervened in the decisions of public agencies that were supposed to be independent, influencing everything from video poker license applications to riverboat licenses.
- The Orange County Register of Santa Ana, Calif., for exposing fertility fraud at the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center. Acting on a tip that a fertility doctor had taken eggs from unsuspecting women, fertilized them and transferred the embryos to other women, the newspaper started a groundbreaking investigation that has resulted in legislative action.
- The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., for its project "Wasteland," a comprehensive documentation of how billions of dollars have been wasted in the name of cleaning up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, America's largest nuclear waste dump.
- Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald-Journal for its series "Secrets of the Chamber," which detailed how the New York State Legislature spends taxpayers' money.