Monterey Herald education reporter Claudia Meléndez Salinas wins the April DFMie for Northern California for her reporting on a sexual harassment case involving the man who was about to be picked as school superintendent.
I chose the first because it exemplified watchdog journalism, provided the text of the lawsuit in the original story (using our digital assets) and brought hundreds of community members to the next board of education meeting.
The research performed by Melendez allowed her readership to engage, powerfully and meaningfully, in the hiring process of an administrator in the district. The story is a reminder of the research journalists should be conducting each day, and a reminder that no story is routine.
I was a big fan of the live blog of the school board meeting that was linked in the first article of this series. It gave citizens who couldn’t be at the meeting in person an easy way to follow along for updates, and it looks to me as if some pretty compelling photos were even posted to the blog while the meeting was still ongoing. Those pictures really gave a good look at the attitude that was in the meeting. As someone who has reported from a number of school board meetings, this type of turnout or passion from a crowd is pretty rare, so the community was definitely invested in this story.
The “related links” section also gave readers (including myself) an easy, convenient way to catch up on past stories and also check up on any future updates. Additionally, I really appreciated the links to other sources that provided more information on Guevara’s background. In today’s more connected world, I don’t think news organizations can operate in a bubble. Readers always appreciate the opportunity to consume more information.
Getting that information out over the web and in the paper was key to the results of the superintendent applicant withdrawing from the hiring process. This informative entry had a positive impact to the community.