Winners Announced for the 21th Annual Sunshine State Awards

Winners Announced for the 21th Annual Sunshine State Awards

Congratulations, Winners!

Sunshine-State-Awards-BlueThe Miami Herald WLRN-Miami Herald News took home 24 Sunshine State Awards on Saturday, Aug. 15 at the annual Sunshine State Awards, held at the Koubek Center in Miami. Other big winners include The Palm Beach Post, The Tampa Bay Times, and Sarasota Herald Tribune.

SPJ Florida partnered with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ South Florida chapter to include Spanish-language awards for the second time. In those awards, El Nuevo Herald led the pack, followed closely by WLTV-TV.

Among the highest honors awarded was The James Batten Award for Public Service, given to Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch at The Miami Herald for their work, Innocents Lost.

"The Miami Herald’s ‘Innocents Lost,’ an investigation of the state’s chronic failure to protect children from abuse, was simply stunning. It was exhaustively reported and expertly written, with compelling photos and graphics," the judges noted. "Reporters were relentless, even after the state tried to keep much of the information secret following the Herald’s publication of the findings. The investigation prompted state lawmakers to put the rights of children ahead of their parents — watchdog journalism at its absolute best."

The Gene Miller Award for Investigative Reporting was given to Julie Brown at The Miami Herald for Cruel and Unusual: a detailed look at the deadly abuse inside Florida’s prisons.

Judges noted about the piece: Compelling writing. Detailed reporting. Makes the reader care about unlikable victims. Terrific work.

Mike Deeson from WTSP-TV took home the Journalist of the Year. "We found this to be an extraordinary collection of stories that highlight the investigative skills and dogged reporting skills that Mr. Deeson used to uncover and identify the abuses of power in the community," the judges said. "The results of his efforts continue to prove that the role of journalism is not dead. His work should be applauded as a fine example of what would be expected of your Journalist of the Year."

See the full list of winners.