A Herald-Leader series that explained how a property tax break intended to help farmers was being applied to 10-acre lawns and land pegged for development has won a McClatchy President’s Award.
The judges called the series “an impressive example of identifying an outrageous problem that’s hiding in plain sight.” It prompted a legislative study and changes by the local property valuation administrator.
Herald-Leader reporters Linda Blackford and John Cheves wrote the “Harvesting Tax Breaks” stories, with editing by John Stamper and an interactive map and data compiled by Deedra Lawhead.
The President’s Awards are meant to recognize the best work from among McClatchy’s 30 newsrooms during the prior year. Emphasis is placed on digital accomplishments, innovation and exemplary reporting, writing, photography and videography.
Among the other 10 award winners announced Friday were the staff of The Charlotte Observer, for coverage of a police shooting that led to protests, and the Miami Herald, McClatchy’s Washington Bureau and the company’s video lab, for their collaborative work on the Panama Papers project with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media organizations.
“The President’s Awards confirm what I see every day: That across the country, McClatchy journalists are producing compelling and essential work that makes our communities better,” Craig Forman, McClatchy’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “It’s never an easy time to be a journalist — these days especially — but the reporting honored by these awards is an excellent reminder that our work is more important than ever before.”