‘Miami Herald,’ ‘Orlando Sentinel’ Score at Sunshine State Awards

By: E&P Staff

The South Florida Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists named El Nuevo Herald the top Spanish-language newspaper in Florida this weekend at this year’s Sunshine State Awards.

The Miami Herald’s sister paper received the award Saturday at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel near Hollywood. The judges wrote that El Nuevo Herald “looks and reads like a complete newspaper” and that they were particularly impressed by its Viernes weekend guide section: “El Nuevo is clearly ahead of other Spanish-language newspapers in South Florida.’”

“To be recognized as the leading Spanish-language paper in Florida is an immense honor and a testament to our staff,” El Nuevo Herald Executive Editor Manny Garcia said in a statement. “Our journalists always put our readers first, and you see it in our coverage, whether in Latin America, locally or in our many specialty sections like Viernes.”

Meanwhile, a team of reporters from the Miami Herald took top honors for the series “Public Piggy Banks,” which revealed how local politicians used personal chauffeurs and took first-class junkets around the world and exposed how city leaders concealed critical financial information. The stories prompted a recall campaign of the county’s mayor, pay cuts and other reforms including a federal securities investigation.

The investigation won both the James K. Batten Award for Distinguished Public Service and the Gene Miller Award for Investigative Reporting. Also receiving the Batten Award were the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for “Trust Betrayed,” which exposed badly needed reforms in screening procedures for caregivers; and The Orlando Sentinel, whose “Florida’s Blood Centers” showed how a non-profit blood bank became a thriving industry, rewarding its executives and board members. 

The Orlando Sentinel also won for Editorials, Deadline News Reporting, Non-Deadline Business Reporting, Civil Law Reporting, State & Federal Political/Government Reporting, Education Reporting, Sports Reporting, Consumer Reporting, and Special Publication/Section for its Football preview.

The Gene Miller Award also was awarded to Ron Hurtibise of The Daytona Beach News-Journal for “Beating the DUI Rap,” an analysis revealing that nearly half of all DUI cases in Volusia County are dropped or reduced to reckless driving, and two-thirds of defendants who hire private attorneys are given a second chance.

The Orlando Sentinel and the Miami Herald tied for the most first-place honors in this year’s competition, with each claiming nine of the 73 awards. The Naples Daily News (seven first-place awards), Miami New Times (six) and The Daytona Beach News-Journal (five) rounded out the top five finishers. The complete list of competition results is available here.

The event sponsors of the 2010 Sunshine State Awards were Shutts & Bowen LLP and the Palm Beach Post. The Society of Professional Journalists is the oldest and largest professional journalism organization in the country, having celebrated its centennial last year.

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