Date: April 20, 2015
Contact: Breyana Franklin
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Watchdog.org’s Virginia bureau built upon last year’s successes to take home four first-place awards and three second-place awards in the Virginia Press Association’s 2014 News/Editorial and Advertising Contest.
Investigative reporter Kathryn Watson earned four first-place awards in the categories of in-depth or investigative reporting; education writing; health, science and environmental writing; and public safety writing. She also took home a second-place award for government writing.
Virginia bureau chief and national correspondent Kenric Ward earned two second-place awards in the categories of health, science and environmental writing; and in-depth or investigative reporting.
“It’s an honor to receive this recognition, but it’s even more of an honor to get to tell stories that matter,” said Watson. “Whether it’s the Navy veteran dad who can work again because of a story I wrote, or watching Congress end federal funding for automatic license plate readers after many stories like mine were published, it’s a privilege to tell meaningful stories that make a difference in people’s lives.”
Watson’s winter 2014 investigative series revealed serious flaws in accountability and auditing capabilities for welfare dollars in Virginia, and her stories on local police use of automatic license plate readers gained attention from coast to coast.
Ward’s reporting on a new gas pipeline coming to Virginia raised important questions about eminent domain and property rights, and his stories on duplicate voters in Virginia spurred other stories and editorials across the commonwealth.
“Watchdog’s in-depth and investigative reporting is flipping the narrative in Virginia. ‘News’ isn’t about propping up the political and bureaucratic status-quo, it’s about exposing the waste of tax dollars and the abuse of taxpayers,” said bureau chief Kenric Ward. “We’re pleased that the judges honored this distinction in bestowing these awards.”