OCJ Reporter Susan Tebben, left, interviews an activist during a protest at the Statehouse. Photo by David DeWitt, OCJ.
In the “Ohio’s Best Journalism Contest” from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Ohio Capital Journal won five awards, including three first place finishes and two in second place. The contest covered stories and editorial from 2021.
In digital media categories, OCJ Reporter Susan Tebben took home two first-place awards, one for best education issues reporting and one for best government/political reporting. Tebben also nabbed a second-place finish for best news story.
OCJ Reporter Jake Zuckerman won first place for best investigative reporting, and OCJ Editor David DeWitt won second place for best editorial/criticism writing.
We are incredibly honored and grateful for this recognition from our fellow journalists. We are also incredibly grateful for the support we receive from our readers and Ohioans across the state.
Below we will share the award-winning entries.
Best Investigative Reporting – First Place – Jake Zuckerman
Stories produced within eight days of the Jan. 6 raid on the U.S. Capitol: They include interviews with an Ohio woman who led her paramilitary unit into the building and an Ohio man who kicked in a Capitol window. A third uncovers how a state school board member organized a bus trip to ferry Ohioans to the rally.
Best Government/Political Reporting – First Place – Susan Tebben
Ohio government has been in turmoil amid the pandemic, attacks on democracy, and redistricting. One Ohio lawmaker called to charge Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine with terrorism over pandemic public health measures. An Ohio Board of Education member speaks on participating in the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally that led to the raid on the U.S. Capitol. And redistricting turned into a mess in 2021 despite Ohio Constitutional reforms passed by voters.
Best Education Issues Reporting – First Place – Susan Tebben
Public education under attack: This series of stories highlights various attacks on public education, from a state school board member accusing the Ohio superintendent of education of being paid by Bill Gates, to the movement to ban race-based focuses in Ohio schools, to investigative reporting showing very few actual complaints about divisive race-based focuses in education.
Best News Story Series – Second Place – Susan Tebben
Three separate stories covering the developments in Ohio gerrymandering: Ohio Republicans on the redistricting commission passing gerrymandered maps; the Senate President defending that gerrymandering, and testimony about redistricting gathered in committee.
Best Editorial/Criticism Writing – Second Place – David DeWitt
Gerrymandering pushes politicians to extremes, denies voters their voice, opens the door to corruption, radicalizes political discourse, kills compromise, and disintegrates democracy. Gerrymandering poisons everything. Nevertheless, Ohio’s Republican leaders have been playing political games with redistricting and cheating voters by gerrymandering their way to undue power. OCJ Editor David DeWitt takes them to task for this anti-democratic, unpatriotic attack.
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