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2 reporters honored in N.Y. for meth series

Drug, alcohol reporting in News earns accolades

Deseret Morning News reporters Dennis Romboy and Lucinda Dillon Kinkead were honored Wednesday for excellence in reporting on drug and alcohol issues.

During a luncheon in New York, the two received awards for their six-part series "Generation Meth," published Nov. 14-21, 2004. The series examined the skyrocketing meth use among Utah's single mothers and the effect on their families and the judicial, child welfare and drug treatment systems.

"It's a well-deserved award to two great reporters whose in-depth series focused on a topic of immense importance to the community," Deseret Morning News Editor John Hughes said.

The seventh annual Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Awards are the first in the nation to recognize excellence in reporting on substance abuse.

"Nancy dedicated her career to seeking more effective solutions to the myriad social problems facing this country," said Mathea Falco, president of Drug Strategies, a national nonprofit research institute that sponsored the award.

"This year's winners demonstrated a remarkable commitment to not only covering substance abuse, but to examining the underlying causes and the larger ramifications of drug abuse and (drunken) driving."

The 28 women featured in Romboy and Kinkead's special report were in various stages of methamphetamine addiction — with children often suffering because of their mothers' choices.

In addition to chronicling the tragedy and triumph of mothers hooked on the drug, the series also exposed the state's inadequate response to the epidemic — particularly, how methamphetamine addiction and meth-related crime are burdening Utah courts, prisons and social services and devastating families.

The luncheon featured former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, MSNBC's Connie Chung and Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker. Other winners included:

Steven Okazaki, HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films and Farallon Films, for "Rehab," a documentary about five young adults going through rehab and their post-treatment experiences.

Megan Lynch of KMOX Radio in St. Louis, Mo., for "Falling Down on Drunk Driving," a 10-part report on Missouri's inadequate response to drunken driving and the impact it has on the state;

The Sentinel and Enterprise in Fitchburg, Mass., for "Decades of Addiction," a yearlong, 10-part series on the growing heroin problem in the town of Fitchburg.

The Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Awards are presented annually to broadcast and print journalists who demonstrate high standards on reporting about substance abuse.


E-mail: astowell@desnews.com