Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Express reporting team garners high honors in national contest


Gregory Foley, left, and Greg Stahl have been recognized for the second consecutive year by the National Newspaper Association for their investigative news reporting. Photo by Willy Cook

Idaho Mountain Express reporters Gregory Foley and Greg Stahl for the second year in a row have received high honors in the nation's foremost newspaper contest for their collaborative work on a series of news articles.

In the 2005 National Newspaper Association "Better Newspaper Contest," Foley and Stahl garnered second place in the category for "Best Investigative or In-depth Series" among large, non-daily newspapers nationwide.

The NNA award recognized a series titled "Building Bonanza" as the second best series of news stories produced in 2004 by any non-daily newspaper with a circulation of 10,000 or more.

The 13-piece series published over three consecutive weeks featured three primary stories and 10 "sidebar" stories. It focused on the quickening pace of construction in Blaine County and analyzed how growth is impacting the lives of county residents.

Express reporter Matt Furber wrote one of the 10 sidebar stories. Express photographers Willy Cook, David Seelig and Chris Pilaro contributed numerous photographs.

"Fast-paced growth is a phenomenon that communities across the country—especially resort communities—are struggling to manage," Foley said. "It's critical for newspapers and journalists to ask some key questions and bring the issues and debates into the public eye."

Stahl agreed.

"In the six years I have lived here, the rapid pace of growth is one of the most consistent threads of everyday life. It ties together a myriad of issues, including city and county politics, ski resort dynamics, transportation and housing. Name a local issue making headlines, and odds are good that it's growth related."

NNA judges said the series provided "a comprehensive look at what's right under our nose but sometimes unseen."

Foley is the assistant editor of the Mountain Express. Stahl served as the newspaper's environment and politics reporter for approximately six years until the end of July, when he departed for a nine-month leave of absence to pursue a fellowship in environmental journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Foley and Stahl will accept the award this fall, after the National Newspaper Association's annual convention, held this year in Milwaukee.

The Brooklyn Paper in New York took first place in the category and the Ellsworth American in Ellsworth, Maine, took third.

Last year, Foley and Stahl earned first place in the NNA Better Newspaper Contest's category of "Best Investigative or In-depth Series" among large non-dailies. That award was given for their work on a series called "Redefining Wilderness" published in 2003, which presented an in-depth look at Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson's proposal to establish new wilderness in the Boulder-White Cloud mountains while permanently taking some lands out of consideration for wilderness designation.

Both series can be read on the Idaho Mountain Express Web site, accessed by visiting www.sunvalleycentral.com.




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