The State Journal earns 2nd place in General Excellence

Staff members also receive 6 first-place awards at contest

State Journal Staff Report, Published:

LEXINGTON — The State Journal took home the second-place General Excellence award Friday at the annual Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers Contest, sponsored by the Kentucky Press Association.

During the 2013 contest period, The State Journal competed among daily newspapers with circulations between 7,501 and 19,999.

The top prize in the General Excellence category went to the Bowling Green Daily News, and The (Elizabethtown) News-Enterprise came in third.

State Journal staff members received six first-place honors, one second-place award, six third-place awards and four honorable mentions.

“The State Journal’s commitment to community journalism and the hard work of its entire staff is represented by the recognition received at the annual awards dinner,” State Journal editor Dan Liebman said.

“To receive awards in so many different areas — design and layout, news reporting, features, sports, editorials — is a statement about the hard work the staff does each day to report on the happenings in Frankfort and Franklin County.”

Individual winners were:

νDan Liebman, editor: First and third place for best editorial.

νKatheran Wasson, news editor: First place for best business or agribusiness story; first place for best editorial page; third place for best headlines; third place for best business or agribusiness page; honorable mention for best front page.

νRyan Quinn, local government reporter: First place for best investigative story or series.

νDylan Buell, photographer: First place for best feature picture; third place for best general news picture.

νHannah Reel, photographer: Third place for best feature picture; honorable mention for best spot news picture.

νMichelle Sokol, former education reporter: First place for best feature story; honorable mention for best business or agribusiness story.

νEmily Patton, former sports reporter: Second place for best sports story.

νLindsey Erdody, former court reporter: Third place for best feature story; honorable mention for best enterprise or analytical story.

The State Journal was not the only publication in Frankfort to receive awards.

Two writers for Kentucky State University’s Thorobred News took home first-place wins in the university division.

Kendra Farmer won in the Best Column category and Tajh Chappell won for Best Sports Column.

The contest period ran from Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2013.

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  • It is not about getting the last word S_F, IT isn't about me at all!  It is about getting justice for the Monroe family who needlessly lost their beloved son, brother, father and uncle because of local government's abuse of power.  It is about making those local government officials accountable, those who bullied, coerced and then sent Charles Monroe to his death at the hands of those hoodlums in a botched drug sting when he obviously had no idea what he was getting himself into.  It is about this newspaper's refusal to ask even the most basic followup questions to the Sheriff about the many "shady" reasons that this murder occurred, apparently because they do not want to appear to be soft on drugs or somsuchchit.  

    It is about your covering for your boss's dereliction of journalistic duty on this matter, even though you readily admit that "Monroe's death seems shady for many of the reasons you state".  I could not sleep with myself if I did that.  This is exactly what is relevant, so scroll past this!   

  • Wow, it really gets under your skin, don't it, when you don't get the last word? While I admit Monroe's death seems shady for many of the reasons you state, THIS STORY is hardly the place to re-hash that again. And again. And again. Please re-re-repost that in a RELEVANT thread wherein I can scroll past it.

     

  • Oh, I'm on topic all right: "“The State Journal’s commitment to community journalism and the hard work of its entire staff is represented by the recognition received at the annual awards dinner,” State Journal editor Dan Liebman said"  Well, these awards were certainly NOT for excellence in Investigative Reporting...not with what could be one of the top stories in the past 2 years, the death of Charles Monroe, still on the table. For the State Journal to be tooting its own horn for winning awards for "commitment to community journalism" while it ignores the major story of the needless death of Charles Monroe in a botched sting operation that apparently was set up by Sheriff, is unconscionable.  I'd say I am DEAD on topic!

  • Just doin' my part to keep you on topic. :o)

  • steve_fry

    January 27, 2014 1:05PM

    Heck no, you've moved WAYYY past the point of this story. We do a good job, and now we have proof of that. :oP

     

    Your typical copout response!  So there!

  • It wouild be nice to know which stories these were that won the awards. Maybe including all the information will get you First Place next year!

  • Heck no, you've moved WAYYY past the point of this story. We do a good job, and now we have proof of that. :oP

  • So, what you are saying is that you cannot refute anything that I have said, so you just fall back on your platitudes. A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement, generally directed at quelling social, emotional, or cognitive unease.  So there!

    So there?  Wouldn't you be screaming for my head if the scenario I described was what had happened?  Do you think that the police should get a pass on these CI's that are being killed in botched stings or not?  Why should it be OK if the police do it and not OK if me or you were to do it?  Why is your employer doing a solid for "community journalism" by ignoring this story? 

  • Despite all YOUR screaming, homo, we're doing a good job. So there. :oP

     

  • steve_fry, January 27, 2014 6:28AM

    "It's nice to be recognized for doing a good job. It easily makes up for all the naysayers on here. :o)"

    Come on, S_F, think this thing through with me for a moment.

    If I knew someone who had been accused of a crime, like say he had been accused of molesting a child of a former jilted and scorned girlfriend, and then I used that information to coerce and extort him into committing a more serious and very risky crime against some bad guys who I had a vendetta against, and in the commission of that serious crime this person was killed, that I would be guilty of an accessory to manslaughter and extortion. 

    And lets face it, you and the "bad form" guys would be highly critical of any newspaper that refused to investigate and report on my part in this incident because say I was a respected elected official who they didn't want to appear to be critical of because they agreed with my general policies on messing over bad guys, or that the guy who had been killed was thought of as a lowly, child molesting drug dealer because that is the cover story that I put out there about him.

    Right?  Who would be screaming "bad form" then?

  • How much "class" does the State Journal have by avoiding like the plague a story about the apparent Sheriff's involvement in the killing of Charles Monroe?  The Sheriff and the Prosecutor have not answered questions concerning that involvement or anything else in going on two years.  It seems that The State Journal doesn't want to criticize the Sheriff on anything to do with his drug policies because they think that it will look like blasphemy and that they are soft on drug use, or something!  Where is the moral outrage? 

  • Extremely bad form Homo!!! You could have easily submitted your opinion in letter to the editor. You have NO class!!!

  • It's nice to be recognized for doing a good job. It easily makes up for all the naysayers on here. :o)

  • It is "bad form, old chap", for the State Journal to be tooting its own horn for winning awards for "commitment to community journalism" when it ignores the story of the needless death of Charles Monroe, and the possible involvement of the Sheriff in it.  Who else is going to be able to get to the bottom of this if not the media?  

    My form in bringing this to light is inconsequencial as a man is DEAD here, and those that could be implicated in the circumstances leading up to his death are getting away with it.  The State Journal doesn't want to criticize the Sheriff on anything to do with his drug policy because they think that it will look like they are soft on drug use, or something!  Where is the moral outrage? The Monroe family's "parade" has been "rained on" for going on two years now! Their son, brother, father, fiance' and friend Charles, isn't coming back and his little girls will never see their daddy again.

    These types of murders of confidential informants are happening all over, as Florida payed out $2.6 Million for the wrongful death of 23-year-old informant murdered during what appeared to be a similar sting gone bad.

    January 9, 2012  
    Tallahassee, Florida, city commissioners Friday voted to approve a $2.6 million settlement [3] in the wrongful death suit of a young woman killed in a drug sting when she agreed to be a confidential informant for police after being busted on marijuana and ecstasy charges. The payout comes even as a similar killing is shaking the Detroit area.

    Rachel Hoffman, 23, a recent Florida State University graduate, inhabited student drug circles, but after she was busted and agreed to become a snitch in 2008, Tallahassee police sent her out into an entirely different world. They set up a "buy-bust" sting, giving Hoffman $13,000 in marked bills to buy ecstasy, cocaine, and a gun. Instead of completing the transaction, the two men targeted shot and killed her, stole the money, her credit cards, and her car, and left her body in a ditch. The killers were later caught and are now serving life sentences."

    The city's settlement isn't the only fallout from Hoffman's killing. After her death, her parents lobbied for, and the legislature passed, "Rachel's Law," which mandated reforms to protect informants. Under that law, police who work with informants are also required to get special training, must allow them to talk with an attorney before agreeing to anything, and cannot promise them reduced sentences if they cooperate.  

    Maybe our state could pass Charles Monroe's Law, which would set up similar protections from the Drug War tactics used by the police where they make a deal with civilians who have been arrested for some relatively minor charge, and use it as leverage to coerce them into getting involved in these very dangerous drug stings. Instead of using undercover agents to do it, which is their job, they transfer all of the risk to these untrained and unarmed people who really don't know what they have gotten involved in.  To this date, the Sheriff and the FPD still employ this dangerous (to the confidential informant) tactic in their War on Some Drugs.  

    How much worse "form" can you get?

  • Yeah that's true, but you used for the purpose of raining on the S-J's parade.  Bad form old chap.

  • Yeah, n4s, the murder of Charles Monroe and implications of the Sheriff's involvement in it are soooo funny!  Wah, Wah, Wahhhhh.

  • What does the Homer say? wah wah wah wah wah wah wah.

  • Well, these awards were certainly NOT for excellence in Investigative Reporting...not with the death of Charles Monroe still on the table.  Monroe was an apparent confidential informant for the Sheriff who was murdered nearly 2 years ago in Walmart's parking lot under very suspicious and unexplained circumstances during a drug sting gone bad.  The case has yet to go to trial (to the dismay of Judge Shepherd) and NONE of the questions that the Monroe family asked about why Monroe's body lay on the side of the road while all of the Sheriff's horses and all the Sheriff's men ran off to Owenton after his murderers, even though they do not acknowledge that their office had anything to do with setting up Monroe to make a drug deal.

    The Sheriff and prosecutor refused to reveal anything substantive about their deal with Monroe at the time of the incident, May 2012, or thereafter, claiming that it was an "ongoing investigation". Well, it no longer is an ongoing investigation.  The SJ newspaper has neglected to ask for answers to the questions that were asked by them or the family....why is that?  Everyone seems to be pretending that it never even happened.  But we have this dead man who left a loving family and two daughters and they deserve answers.  


    Based on the limited facts that were released at the time of the incident, we can make several logical deductions. The Sheriff's Office apparently made a deal with Mr. Monroe, who had obviously been previously arrested (his mug mug shot printed in SJ) for some relatively minor charge, and then used it as leverage to coerce him into getting involved as a confidential informant in this very dangerous drug sting in which he was killed.  This is a very common practice in police investigations of drug related cases and there is little reason to believe that it was not the case here.

    Apparently, the Sheriff's Office used Mr. Monroe to set up a drug transaction with 3 known drug dealers from Owenton, KY, when something unexpected happened like the hoodlums may have found out that he was wired and thus a confidential informant.  They killed Mr. Monroe by strangulation (gangland style) in their car and drove to the I-64E on-ramp where they dumped his stripped body beside the road to the horror of his friend who was following their car as it sped out of the Walmart parking lot. Mr. Monroe's body laid on the side of the on-ramp until the next morning even though it was reported to the Sheriff as it happened by that "family friend".  All 3 of the banditos were in custody by the next morning even though they were from out of town...apparently because the Sheriff knew who they were and was observing from afar as the whole thing went down.


    How do we know that Charles Monroe was a CI for the Sheriff's Office? Well, that is an elementary deduction, because if Charles wasn't there after being coerced into making a deal with the Sheriff to do the sting, and if the Sheriff wasn't close by watching this whole thing go down, how did the Sheriff's Office even know that these bad guys had committed a crime?  If they didn't know that they had committed a crime, then why did the Sheriff's Office race off en masse to Owenton that night in hot pursuit to arrest these guys when the Sheriff said in this newspaper that he did not even know about the call reporting a body being dumped until the next morning?  They hadn't even bothered to look at Monroe's body where it had been tossed out of the car on I-64, so how did the Sheriff even know that a crime had been committed?  It is the only possible scenario that makes any sense...

    It appears that the Sheriff's Office knows a whole lot more about this incident than they are letting on, and that our award winning newspaper is willing to investigate why.  We are "fortunate" indeed!
     
     
     

  • We are fortunate to have a local newspaper with such outstanding talent.  Congratulations to all!