Peninsula: PDN receives Blethen honors for reporting

The news staff of the has received a C.B. Blethen Memorial Award for Distinguished Newspaper Reporting.

PDN reporters and photographers were cited for their weeklong coverage of the shooting death of Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy Wally Davis.

Davis, 48, was responding to a complaint Aug. 5, 2000, when a mentally ill man shot and killed him in Port Angeles seconds after he knocked on the man’s door.

Davis was the first law officer in Clallam and Jefferson counties to be killed while on duty.

A popular 20-year law enforcement veteran, Davis was a devout Christian, a writer, a songster and a good-humored cartoonist who liked to poke fun at himself and his fellow officers.

Gov. Gary Locke, hundreds of law officers from around the state and thousands of local residents attended Davis’ memorial service at Port Angeles’ Civic Field.

Deadline reporting

The PDN received the Blethen award — the first in the newspaper’s history — for best deadline reporting by a newspaper with circulation under 50,000.

Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen presented the award Thursday to PDN Executive Editor Rex Wilson during the annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association in Seattle.

PDN Editor and Publisher John Brewer said, “We work to serve our readers, not to win awards. But we are honored that judges recognized the team effort that went into our coverage of the Davis tragedy.”

The PDN was judged on a collection of news articles, commentaries and a special memorial section published Aug. 6-14, 2000.

The collection included coverage of the 25-hour standoff between law officers and Thomas Martin Roberts, the man accused of shooting Davis.

Roberts, who has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity, is now being re-evaluated in a state mental institution near Tacoma. He is scheduled for trial on a charge of aggravated first-degree murder next year.

The judges noted in particular the work of PDN reporters Mark Morey, Gary Jones and Paul Gottlieb.

Gottlieb, now editor of the PDN’s Commentary page, received a first-place award earlier this year from the Pacific Northwest Society of Professional Journalists for his articles on the Davis shooting.

First- and second-place Blethen awards were presented to staff members at 12 other daily newspapers. The awards are named for C.B. Blethen, publisher of The Seattle Times from 1915 until 1941.

Daily newspapers in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Alaska and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia entered the contest.

Prizes were given in five categories, four of which were divided into two circulation categories — newspapers with circulations over 50,000 or more and those with circulations of less than 50,000.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer was first in deadline reporting in the over-50,000 category for its coverage of U.S. Justice Department’s attempt to breakup Microsoft Corp.

The Blethen awards are judged by top news executives from daily newspapers outside the Northwest.

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