Public Service Award

About the award:

Recipients of the Alaska Press Club Public Service Award marshal resources above and beyond what is expected. The mere existence of a publication or a program is not sufficient grounds for nomination.

Anyone may nominate a journalist or newsroom for their service to the public. Individuals may nominate themselves or their newsrooms.

Deadline for nominations is March 15, 2019.

Please email a letter, up to 250 words in length, explaining the purpose of the reporting and the result. Supporting materials may also be provided. The work described in nominations may have been entered in the Alaska Press Club Contest as well. Email nominations to alaskapressclubinfo@gmail.com.

There is no contest entry fee associated with this nomination process.

 

Past Award Winners:

2018 – Kyle Hopkins of the Anchorage Daily News

Judges’ Comments: Kyle’s investigative piece “From Criminal to Cop and Back Again in Alaska’s Most Vulnerable Villages,” shed a light on sexual abuse and crimes committed in rural Alaska by public officials. Kyle continued to report about abuse in rural villages across the state and wrote several follow-up pieces, including one about Nome officer who was rehired onto the force after punching a homeless woman and gaps in VPSO training.

The Alaska Press Club would like to recognize Kyle Hopkins’ efforts to uncover the truth and go above and beyond his duties as a journalist to tell the stories of survivors of abuse in rural Alaska.

There were several strong, deserving nominations for the Public Service Award this year. We recommend that two honorable mentions be given.

The first is to radio reporter Teresa Cotsirilos, a reporter for KYUK radio in Bethel, who chronicled the saga of an overburdened Village Police Officer in the rural community of Mountain Village. Her series followed Officer Anna Bill through efforts at rural justice and suicide prevention, and culminated in a conversation with Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan about challenges facing those in law enforcement positions in rural communities.

The second honorable mention we recommend is to columnist Charles Wohlforth, whose work for the  depicting major problems in mental health treatment rocked the state’s system and the struggling Alaska Psychiatric Institute. In the course of Wohlforth’s reporting on issues at API and other facilities, the state saw the resignations and departures of several top health officials who were responsible for oversight of the institutions where problems had been brought to light.

 

2017 – Alaska Public Media’s Anne Hillman and The Solutions Desk.

Here’s what the contest judge said of the team:

Anne Hillman and the Solutions Desk of Alaska Public Media are the winners of the Public Service Award.

Their work was consistently innovative, imaginative and going where other reporters – and the public – will not go. For example their forum in the Spring Creek Prison (Seward) “Community in Unity,” which gave voice to the voiceless: Prisoners in one of Alaska’s toughest prisons.The prisoners in the piece are working for what they call restorative justice. Justice for both victims and offenders, begun behind bars, something unheard of in everyday media – or the courts.

For most of Alaska, prisoners are alive only in newspaper clippings or on television in prison garb. They are dangerous cliches, shadows. “Community in Unity” made them present with a story to tell – a story of hope.

Hillman and Solutions had several Alaska Public Media “Talk of Alaska” justice shows that were impressive because of the difficulty of the material.  “Succeeding After Prison” for example. Many listeners no doubt believe that is impossible;  the show demonstrated that returning to society, for some people, is within reach.

Hillman and Solutions created healthcare pieces that bring the complexity of healthcare right into the living room. Particularly mental health. The Talk of Alaska show “Preventing Suicide With Strength and Resilience” is an example.

Gene Roberts, the legendary editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, said “Make the reader see.” Hillman and the Solutions Desk do that. They understand how to tell difficult stories and tell them well.