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The Independent wins 14 journalism awards in annual Missouri Press contest • Missouri Independent

The Missouri Independent took home 14 awards on Saturday — including five first prizes — in the annual Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper competition.

The awards were presented at the association’s annual convention in Lake Ozark. The Independent competed in the Dailies Class 2 category.

A months-long, multi-story collaboration between The Independent and The Documenting COVID-19 Project won first place for ‘best COVID-19 coverage’.

For “Best Health Story”, The Independent’s Tessa Weinberg and Documenting COVID-19’s Betsy Ladyzhets won first place for state coverage lackluster response to lethal thrust of delta variant in the summer of 2021.

Deputy Editor Rudi Keller won second place for ‘Best Health Story’ for his reporting on inaccuracies in condition reports on COVID deaths and infections.

Editor-in-chief Jason Hancock won first place for “Best Breaking News” for his report on Gov. Mike Parson’s attempt to prosecute a reporter for exposing a flaw in a state website that put the social security numbers of thousands of public school teachers at risk of exposure.

Keller won first place for “the story of history” with his look at the case of George Deskin in 1913, and how a court ruling that his chewing gum dispenser constituted illegal gambling reflects the arguments surrounding the so-called gray market video game devices proliferating in the state today.

Rebecca Rivas won first place for ‘Best Video’ for her look at the last day of the Good Samaritan Care Clinic in Mountain View, Missouri.

She also won second place for “Multimedia Reporting” for a two-part collaboration with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. The project, “Why police reform failsfollowed a group of Ferguson activists who decided that the key to transforming public safety is changing who has political power over the police department.

Allison Kite won second place for “Best Rural Life or Farming Coverage” for a series of articles on locals struggle against concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFO. His CAFO feature also received third place for “best story about rural life or farming”.

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Weinberg won second place in ‘Best Government Coverage’ for her series of stories about the state’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Independent also won four honorable mentions: Keller for “best news or reporting series”; Hancock for “better news”; Kite and Weinberg for “best health story”; and “best headline writing”.

In addition to the 14 Missouri Press Association awards, The Independent was also honored on Saturday as “heroes of the sunfor its work covering state government since its launch in October 2020.

This honor was bestowed by the Missouri Sunshine Coalition, a nonprofit volunteer group committed to the free flow of government information.

Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson