Report for America celebrates the best in local journalism with 4th annual Local News Awards

Bethany Baker, Salt Lake Tribune, won first place in the Feature Photo category of Report for America’s Local News Awards. Baker captured this photo of children during an annular solar eclipse viewing party at Snow College in Richfield, Utah, on Oct. 14, 2023.

Report for America presented awards to journalists in nearly a dozen categories, named a Mentor of the Year, and recognized newsrooms for their sustainability efforts at its fourth annual “Local News Awards” ceremony, held virtually, on May 22.

More than 200 entries, from nearly 120 journalists, were submitted this year. They showcased a wide swath of compelling local reporting from across the country and different mediums, including writing, audio, video, and photojournalism.

“Each year, the Report for America Local News Awards get tougher for our judges. The journalism produced in each category is top-notch, and it shows in the selected winners,” said Jason Blakeney, a Report for America regional manager who coordinated the awards. “As we refine our program, we continue to attract emerging journalists who are among the most talented in the country, and that never shines through more than when we present these awards.”

Theo Greenly, who does regional reporting of the Eastern Aleutian Islands for KUCB in Alaska, was among the evening’s multiple winners. His chronicling of Alaska’s Orthodox Bishop making his first visit to the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands took first place in the Audio (under 5 minutes) category. Greenly also received the Service Project of the Year award for partnering with local schools to teach students how to record audio using their iPads and how to conduct interviews. His outreach didn’t end there; he also met with community leaders and organized several multimedia training sessions that were open to anyone in the community who was interested in learning audio recording. Overall, Greenly traveled to three different Islands and worked with over 75 people, most of whom were teens. 

Gabriella Paul, WUSF, took top honors in the Enterprise or Investigative Reporting (Multiple Story) category for her series on Tampa’s growing eviction crisis. The Salt Lake Tribune’s Bethany Baker grabbed first place in the Feature News Photo category and second place in the Video category. Alex Driehaus, Valley News, captured top honors for Photo Story and second place for Feature News Photo.

Other first-place winners were Rose Lundy, The Maine Monitor, for Enterprise or Investigative Reporting (Single Story); Michaela Towfighi, Concord Monitor, for Feature Reporting; Torsheta Jackson, Mississippi Free Press, for Solutions-Based Reporting; Charlie Wolfson, PublicSource, for Breaking News Reporting; Lucy Grindon, North Country Public Radio, for Audio (more than 5 minutes); and Cami Koons, Flatland KC, for Video. 

Stella Dawson, editor-at-large at 100Reporters, was honored as the Mentor of the Year for her work with Kayla Benjamin, a corps member who covers climate change & environmental justice for the Washington Informer. 

She has “been an amazing resource. Her kindness, dedication, honesty, and wisdom are unmatched,” Benjamin said of Dawson, who draws upon a career that includes having been the global editor at Reuters, where she worked for 28 years covering international economics and finance.

New this year was the presentation of the first Newsroom Sustainability Awards to The Current, a nonprofit digital-only newsroom that covers coastal Georgia; and The Richland Source, an online for-profit community news organization that serves North Central Ohio. Both have done a phenomenal job cultivating major donors, creating relationships, and building long-term, ongoing support for their corps members.

The top three entries in each category received cash prizes. Please join us in congratulating all of the 2024 Report for America Local News Awards recipients for their reporting and commitment to local journalism as a national service.

Breaking News Reporting

1st: Charlie Wolfson, PublicSource 

“Suburban ticket splitting spelled defeat for Dugan, nearly derailed Innamorato”

2nd: Sofi Zeman, Uvalde Leader-News 

“Prado’s Robb report exonerates all UPD responders”

3rd: Nikolai Mather, WHQR

“Holly Ridge orders Holly Plaza tenants to move out for mold testing”

Enterprise or Investigative (Single Story) Reporting

1st: Rose Lundy, The Maine Monitor 

“Maine Rarely Sanctions Residential Care Facilities Even After Severe Abuse or Neglect Incidents”

2nd: Rachel Hellman, Seven Days 

“Taking Refuge: Transgender Newcomers Find Safety, Services and Community in Vermont”

3rd: Bobby Brier, NJ Spotlight News

“Seeing therapy as stigma stops construction workers from seeking help they need”

Solutions-Based Reporting

1st: Torsheta Jackson, Mississippi Free Press

Alternate-Route Education Programs Target Mississippi’s Teacher Shortage

2nd: Alaina Bookman,

Birmingham students form club, talk solutions after classmates’ deaths

3rd: Bri Hatch, WYPR

Suspensions are increasing in Baltimore City schools. Is that a solution, or another problem?

Feature Reporting

1st: Michaela Towfighi, Concord Monitor

Concord homeowners fell behind on their taxes. The city auctioned their homes off

2nd: Madeline Heim, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Mississippi River is central to America’s story. Why doesn’t it get more love?

3rd: Delaney Dryfoos, The Lens

Marathon proves why it was the last refinery built in the U.S.

Enterprise or Investigative (Multiple Story) Reporting

1st: Gabriella Paul, WUSF

Three-day notice: Tampa Bay’s growing eviction crisis

2nd: Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Documented

Asylum Seeker Families Don’t Know They’re Working with a Convicted Child Sex Offender

3. Danielle DuClos, Green Bay Press Gazette

A teacher, a sexual abuse allegation and a botched investigation: ‘4 lives altered forever’ by David Villareal in Green Bay School District

Audio (Shorter than 5 minutes)

1st: Theo Greenly, KUCB

Alaska Orthodox Bishop makes first visits to Aleutians and Pribilofs

2nd: Ari Snider, Maine Public

Lewiston shooting rattles Somali community, who came here seeking safety

3rd: Lucy Grindon, North Country Public Radio

At a hardware store in Canton, workers took a load off to watch totality on the roof

Audio (5 minutes or longer)

1st: Lucy Grindon, North Country Public Radio 

Drag queen story hour divided an Adirondack community. The library was a casualty

2nd: Amy Diaz, WFDD 

‘It was a lot more than I expected’: Lengthy hiring process makes school bus driver vacancies hard to fill

3rd: Michael Livingston, Interlochen Public Radio 

Rock Rehab


1st: Cami Koons, Kansas City PBS – Flatland

Making a New Meat Market | Harvesting Change

2nd: Bethany Baker, The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah horse sanctuary joins fight to end horse slaughter pipeline to foreign markets

3rd: Avery Martinez, KVIA

‘Too good for this world’ – Family remembers Angelica Mata, a soldier lost to suicide

Feature Photo

1st: Bethany Baker, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Solar eclipse”

2nd: Alex Driehaus, Valley News 

“Climate change impacts harvests”

Photo Story

1st: Alex Driehaus, Valley News 

“The Closing of La Salette”

2nd: Jarrette Werk,

“Wading Out”

3rd: Emily Kenny, Spectrum Networks

“Officer Remembered”

About Report for America

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities across the United States and its territories. By creating a new, sustainable model for journalism, Report for America provides people with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and restore trust in the media. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.