Editor's Corner

Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Over the past weekend the Alaska Press Club announced its annual media awards and we're proud of how we came out both individually and as a newsroom. One reporter won a first place, one editor got another first, and the newsroom as a whole won in one category and placed second in another. Several other reporters received second- and third-place awards.

Kristan Hutchison won first place in investigative reporting for her articles about aviation safety in Alaska. City Editor Ed Schoenfeld took a first for best columnist. The newsroom also took a second-place for Best Section with its ``Celebrate 2000'' series. And Charles Bingham, who's now a sports writer with us, won a first-place for best reporting on education while writing for the Bering Strait Record.

But the one we're most happy about was the first-place award for best comprehensive coverage. ``Between Worlds'' was a 64-page report on how the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act reshaped the lives of Alaska Natives. Empire reporters Cathy Brown, Svend Holst and Lori Thomson worked on the series, which also included reporters from our sister publications, the Peninsula Clarion and the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

These reporters, along with countless editors, spent nearly a year on this project. But this was without a doubt a team effort, as other reporters and editors pitched in to cover the reporters' normal duties while they were on this assignment. This was a Herculean task for such a small newspaper, but it's what newspapers do best. We're proud not only of the reporters involved in the project, but everyone else in the newsroom who stepped up to the plate and covered multiple beats while the series progressed.

This series took a lot of time, effort and money, but we believe the result is the best documentation on the impact of ANCSA there is. We still have copies available and would be more than willing to share them with school groups and other interested parties. The act is one of the more significant impacts on this state and affects a large minority segment. It is part of our history. If you haven't already seen it, drop by and pick up a copy. You can also access it through juneauempire.com.

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