Empire reporter wins national award

When you’re the underdog, victory tastes that much sweeter. Just ask Empire reporter Melissa Griffiths, who will return to Juneau next week carrying some extra hardware in her carry-on bag.


Griffiths took home the award for Outstanding Newspaper Article during the 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards held in Los Angeles Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Griffiths was nominated for her 2013 series “LGBTQ in the Capital,” along with nominees from the Associated Press, New York Times, San Antonio Express-News and the Los Angeles Times.

“Feels absolutely unreal, but I won!” Griffiths said in an Instagram post. “We won, Juneau!”

Griffiths explored the issues and experiences of the LGBTQ community in Alaska’s capital city with a multi-part series that ran during the span of a week last April.

“All of us at the Empire couldn’t be prouder of Melissa,” Empire Managing Editor Charles L. Westmoreland said. “All of us who work with Melissa know of her gift for telling people’s stories, and today the rest of world knows it too.” 

When Griffiths returns to Juneau she will do so as a full-time reporter, leaving behind her duties as Neighbors editor. Westmoreland said the transition has been in the works for more than a month and the newspaper was waiting for Griffiths to return from her trip, win or lose, before making the switch official.

“It became pretty clear a while ago that what Melissa does, the kinds of stories she writes, should be on the front page,” he said. “She’s grown since coming to the Empire a few years ago, and our newspaper and the community will benefit from her being able to focus on writing full time.”

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives.

This story is developing. Read Monday’s Juneau Empire for more.


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