NC Health News takes home 17 NC Press Association awards

NC Health News takes home 17 NC Press Association awards

Staff report

North Carolina Health News won 17 awards Thursday night during the North Carolina Press Association’s annual awards ceremony, including two general excellence nods.

The press association honored work published from March 2022 to March 2023. The journalism recognized by the judges ranged from dogged, investigative and accountability reporting to feature, beat, lede and headline writing, as well as graphics.

The total means NC Health News won the most awards in the online-only publication category. Five of those awards were first-place nods, in addition to a second place in the prestigious General Excellence award for newspaper websites competition and second place for General Excellence for online publications.

Clarissa Donnelly-DeRoven, who covered Medicaid and rural health, won five awards for education reporting and feature writing — one first place, three second places and one third place.

NC Health News was judged among its 17 peers in the online-only category.

“It’s so gratifying to work with such a talented and versatile team of reporters,” said NC Health News Editor Rose Hoban. “Their passion for the topic and their professionalism has made NC Health News into required reading for thousands around the state weekly.”

Two of the second place awards went to work that NC Health News did in partnership with other news organizations.

Taylor Knopf teamed up with KFF Health News reporter Aneri Pattani to look into some controversial practices at a highly regarded substance use treatment program in Durham. The story explored larger questions around how North Carolina officials will spend millions of dollars in opioid settlement funds that will pour into the state over the next nearly two decades. 

For several years now, NC Health News has used generous financial support from North Carolina Sea Grant through the Community Collaborative Research Program to partner with Narrative Arts/Coastal Youth Media to work with teens from coastal North Carolina to help them lend their voices to climate change issues. Their essays and podcasts in the special section recognized by the Press Association this year focused on how climate change is affecting North Carolina’s coastal communities, with a focus on the Outer Banks.

Judges noted that the young cadre’s work was “such a strong grouping of stories, especially considering they are written and recorded by youth editors… Great content, presented really well.”

Hoban and Anne Blythe, who taught the students, wanted to note the young correspondents who were part of the project: Emmy Benton, Daisy Morales Bravo, London Halloran, Whitney Salazar-Gutierrez and Jakub Skultety.

Editor Rose Hoban holds up both General Excellence awards at the NC Press Association celebration. Credit: Steve Tell

“We heard this year from one of the students from one of our previous projects who’s gone on to journalism school,” Hoban said. “If these young people are the future of journalism, we’ll be in good hands.” 

The work recognized by the Press Association includes the following:

First place prizes went to:

Second place awards went to:

  • Anne Blythe, Rose Hoban and Sarah Sloan, media producer at Narrative Arts/Coastal Youth Media, for the special section, Youth climate stories: Outer Banks edition.
  • Rachel Crumpler for her profile feature Carrying precious cargo
  • Rachel Crumpler and Clarissa Donnelly-DeRoven for news feature writing on communities struggling with maternity care. Read the stories here and here.
  • Clarissa Donnelly-DeRoven for education reporting on how Schools struggle to retain special ed teachers.
  • Clarissa Donnelly-DeRoven for beat feature reporting as she compared care for those with complex behavioral needs. Read the stories here and here.
  • Taylor Knopf for investigative reporting in Seeking help and getting handcuffed, a deep dive into the state’s overuse of involuntary commitments for people in mental health crises.
  • Taylor Knopf and Aneri Pattani, a Kaiser Health News reporter, for news enterprise reporting in their stories looking into the tension building around funding for opioid treatment. Read the stories here, here and here.
  • Taylor Knopf for investigative reporting in Seeking help and getting handcuffed.

The third place awards went to:

  • Clarissa Donnelly-DeRoven for education reporting on the Edgecombe County HOPE program, which takes a “trauma-informed” approach to help address generational poverty and racism.
  • Jennifer Fernandez in the illustration/photo illustration/print or interactive graphics category for Period Poverty.
  • Rose Hoban for beat news reporting on how nurses are navigating a rocky health care system in the wake of the pandemic. Read the stories here, here and here.

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