Contest Winners

2018: Garret Ellison, MLive and The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press

Garret Ellison, a reporter for MLive and The Grand Rapids Press, was named winner of PNRC’s 2018 Public Notice Journalism Award. Ellison won for a series of stories about an application to pump more groundwater from a local well submitted to Michigan’s state environmental agency by Nestle Waters North America. He is the first reporter in the history of the PNRC contest to be awarded for a story revealing the inadequacy of government website notice.

2017: Amanda Fanger, Reporter & Farmer (Day County, S.D.)

Amanda Fanger, a reporter for Reporter & Farmer, a weekly newspaper in rural Day County, South Dakota, was named winner of the 2017 Public Notice Journalism Award. Fanger won for a story that scratched below the surface of a public notice to reveal a potential embezzlement scheme in one of the small towns within her paper’s coverage area.

2016: Kenneth Little, Greeneville (Tenn.) Sun

Kenneth Little, staff writer for the Greeneville Sun, won the 2016 Public Notice Journalism Prize for coverage of a nursing home in Limestone, Tenn., where Medicare and Medicaid coverage was revoked by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The story followed publication of an official newspaper notice by HHS in the Sun noting “deficiencies” by the hospital.

2015: Jim Lockwood, The Times-Tribune (Scranton Pa.)

Jim Lockwood, staff writer for The Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pa., was named winner of the 2015 Public Notice Journalism Award for a series of stories that deftly incorporated public notice information into his coverage of local government. “His coverage of a proposed new commuter tax was a terrific example of great public notice reporting,” said PNRC President Bradley L. Thompson II. “The city ran the notices, but citizens sued because they believed the action was taken too quickly and without sufficient information to taxpayers. Lockwood’s story referred readers to the dates of the notices so they could check for themselves.”

2014: Mitchell S.D. Daily Republic

The Mitchell (S.D.) Daily Republic was named the first recipient of PNRC’s Public Notice Journalism Award for a series of stories that revealed a secret $175,000 severance package between a local school board and a former superintendent. The paper learned about the agreement after being alerted by a citizen who noted a payment to the former school superintendent listed in the school board’s meeting minutes, which were published as a notice in a local paper.