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Winners of 2003 SPJ Excellence in Journalism Awards
May 27, 2004
Associated Press

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. -- An investigation into the practice of maintaining secret files in the state's courts won The Hartford Courant one of the top prizes in the Society of Professional Journalists' annual Excellence in Journalism Awards on Thursday.

The group's annual First Amendment recognized the Courant for helping to end the practice of making more files secret, SPJ said. "This is a perfect example of how the media can bring about better public policy," judges said in making the award.

The Courant also was presented the Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award for its investigation into Gov. John G. Rowland that has led to state and federal investigations and a legislative impeachment inquiry.

"This is more than just a public service; it is clearly a wonderful example of the watchdog function of the press," wrote the judges.

The Theodore Driscoll Investigative Award went to Louis Porter and Peter Davenport of the Stamford Advocate for their series on the cleanliness of the water in Long Island Sound.

"They did a thorough job of explaining the many issues involved with the waterway," said the judges. "The series looks at issues we would not have considered. "

The awards were judged by journalists from Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota.

Other winners included:


First Place
Andy Thibault, Connecticut Law Tribune

My Magic Spring Water from Natural Sources
King Pellegriono's Secret Government
Our Condos, Our Town

The Judges said:  The Connecticut Law Tribune chooses the words in these headlines carefully. They tell the reader something -- and they're intriguing.


First Place
Andy Thibault, Connecticut Law Tribune

War on Immigrants Continues Unabated

Second place
Andy Thibault, Connecticut Law Tribune

Town Hides Cost of Civil Rights Violations

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