The Dorchester Reporter has won the first place award in the category of “spot news” reporting for the calendar year 2013 in a competition sponsored by the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA). The citation was announced on Saturday night at NENPA’s annual Better Newspaper Competition gala at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. The newspaper was also recognized for its coverage of last year’s state Senate special election.
In recommending the Reporter for the top award, NENPA judges pointed to the newspaper’s coverage of events related to last April’s marathon bombing and its aftermath : “The staff of the Dorchester Reporter produced an outstanding package that reflected both the broad significance of the Boston Marathon bombing and the jolt of pain to a community grappling with the death of one of their own, an 8-year-old boy. The paper’s reporting of the stunning events cut through the ‘fog of war’… that enveloped the region. Their work shows why the world needs journalists.”
Reporter publisher and editor Bill Forry accepted the “spot news” award on behalf of the newspaper’s staff at the awards dinner.
“This award is shared by our entire news team who pitched in to help cover the unprecedented events of last April,” he said. “Particularly in times of crisis, it’s important that news outlets – both large and small – step up to provide timely, accurate information that helps inform the community and, in some way, brings solace to those most directly impacted.”
Gintautas Dumcius, the Reporter’s news editor, and Michael Jonas, who worked in a freelance capacity as the paper’s ombudsman  during last year’s state Senate election campaign , were honored as finalists in the association’s election coverage category. The two were singled out for their efforts in providing fair and transparent coverage of the First Suffolk race in which Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry – who is married to Bill Forry – was a candidate.
“The Reporter is to be commended for its decision to create [the ombudsman position],” the NENPA judges wrote. “[Dumcius and Jonas] offered a balanced take and placed events in proper perspective in a way the newspaper itself could not.”