News Reporting Grand Prize
From APME: "From the moment out-of-state militia members seized a wildlife refuge in rural eastern Oregon, the OregonLive.com staff owned this story. Despite competition from national news outlets, OregonLive was the go-to source during the 41-day standoff and subsequent shooting, providing constant updates on all platforms. The coverage kept people at the center of the story and provided unbiased context that helped readers understand the motivations of those involved. The staff also conveyed an understanding of the economic and cultural history of the region – reporting that helped readers far from the action relate to the dynamics that fueled both the refuge takeover and the local backlash. The digital engagement was impressive. The staff used video, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to connect readers in real time with breaking news, updates and features. The animated video of the shooting provided important information about a controversial event. The coverage was all the more impressive because of the sheer logistical challenges involved: The refuge was five hours from the newsroom in Portland, was miles from the nearest town and was in a place so remote that cell service was rarely available. OregonLive, fresh off a round of layoffs, also had to rotate staff in and out of the region as the drama played out for nearly a month-and-a-half."