On April 13, the State Bar of Michigan presented Wade H. McCree Jr. Awards for the Advancement of Justice to reporters at the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame banquet in East Lansing. The McCree Awards are given each year to reporters who have worked to foster greater public understanding of the inherent values of the legal and judicial system.
The first McCree Award went to WXYZ-TV’s investigative journalism team, including Ross Jones, Randy Lundquist, Ann Mullen, Ramon Rosario, and Johnny Sartin.Their series of reports called “Guilty and Gone” looked into the serious problem of felons in Wayne County running and hiding for years after being arrested and convicted of violent crimes. Over one 120-day stretch during the WXYZ investigation, judges continued the bond of 77 guilty men and women, who skipped their sentencing dates and remained free. As the result of their investigation, one judge is facing disciplinary charges before the Michigan Supreme Court, and legislators from Wayne County are pushing for changes to state law to keep violent offenders from escaping their prison sentences.
The second McCree Award went to Detroit Free Press Reporter Jim Schaefer, for an experimental live blog project that ran during the entire six months of the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial. The blog utilized a variety of multimedia tools to not only inform readers of what was happening live as it happened all day, each day during the trial, but also created a community of hundreds of concerned citizens. On a regular basis, the blog had up to 18,000 unique daily visitors. On verdict day, the blog got more than four million page views from desktop computers, the mobile website, and through the Free Press mobile apps. That day, over 674,000 unique visitors learned of the verdict through the blog.
The third McCree Award went to a team of MLive Media Group journalists, including John Barnes, Fritz Klug, Scott Levin, John Agar and Gus Burns, who put together a series that analyzed 10 years of serious crime and police manpower reports, and discovered something unexpected. Even as police ranks dwindled across the state, Michigan’s people had never been safer. The analysis covered more than 500 departments and 2.3 million reported crimes in Michigan.
Posted by Samantha Meinke