Express-News wins community service prize

SA Express News logoThe San Antonio Express-News has built a reputation for solid journalism and community involvement since their first edition in 1865.  That mission continues today, almost 150 years later.

The Texas Associated Press Managing Editors awarded the Express-News first place in community service at the organization’s convention April 5-6 at South Padre Island for the newspaper’s in-depth coverage of sexual assaults in the military.

In the same contest, the Headliners Foundation of Texas also awarded investigative reporter Karisa King a Star Reporter of the Year Award for her work in “Twice Betrayed,” a seven-month project that revealed pervasive and long-standing problems of sex assaults in the military in which offenders are rarely punished or let go from duty. It focused on victims who reported the incidents but often faced retaliation and discharges on questionable claims that they had mental disorders.

Express-News art director Adrian Alvarez also won a Star Designer of the Year Award for his page designs of “Twice Betrayed” and other news stories.

“Series like ‘Twice Betrayed’ exemplify our commitment to public interest journalism,” Express-News Editor Mike Leary said. “We’re proud of receiving recognition for the fine work our staff does.”

The series let many victims tell their stories publicly for the first time and sparked a national debate about the military’s handling of sexual assault cases.

King, who won the Star Reporter Award in 2007 while at the Express-News, now works for the Chicago Tribune.

The newspaper’s community service prize was for its broad coverage of sexual assault cases at Lackland AFB, where training instructors were accused of victimizing trainees.  The winners were King, military writer Sig Christenson, projects editor David Sheppard, photographer Lisa Krantz and director of photography Luis Rios.

The Express-News also won third place in the Team Effort Award for “Twice Betrayed” and an honorable mention for online newspaper of the year.

In addition, Jason Buch, who covers border security issues, won first place in specialty reporting for his writing on money laundering in Mexican drug cartels.

Express-News staff writers Michelle Casady, David Rauf and John Tedesco shared in the first-place award for Class AAAA breaking news report of the year, which was awarded to the Houston Chronicle. Casady and Tedesco also took third place in deadline writing.

Additional Express-News staffers also winning awards in the contest are:

  • John MacCormack won third place and Jennifer Hiller took honorable mention in feature series.
  • O. Ricardo Pimentel won second place in editorial writing.
  • Buck Harvey won second place, and Mike Finger took third place in sports column writing.
  • Patrick Danner and Valentino Lucio combined for a second-place finish in business reporting.
  • Kin Man Hui won second place in sports photography.
  • Lisa Krantz and staff won third place, and Bob Owen won honorable mention in photojournalism. Owen also won honorable mention in the Star Photojournalist of the Year category.
  • The Express-News photo staff won third place and honorable mention in best photo gallery.

Each year, the Express-News competes against other newspapers across the state with Sunday circulations of 125,000 or more, a list that includes the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and the Austin-American Statesman.

Also at the convention, Diana R. Fuentes, Express-News editor of community publications, took office as the new president of the Texas APME organization.

The Express-News award-winning journalists tell the stories that matter to San Antonio, from in-depth local and enterprise reports to investigative articles.

Plans for the Express-News’ 150th anniversary celebration next year will be announced as the date draws closer.