Times Reporters' Land-Swap Series Wins Blethen Award

The Seattle Times and The Great Falls Tribune won first-place awards for investigative reporting in the 24th annual C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards announced yesterday.

The awards were presented by Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen during the annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association (PNNA) in Portland.

The contest is judged by top news executives from daily newspapers outside the PNNA region, which includes Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Alaska and British Columbia.

The Times won the investigative reporting award for newspapers in the over-50,000-circulation category for its series "Trading Away the West," about government land swaps and big business. Reporters Deborah Nelson, Jim Simon, Eric Nalder and Danny Westneat contributed to the series.

Carol Bradley of The Great Falls Tribune won in the under-50,000-circulation category.

Other winners in the over-50,000-circulation category included The Oregonian, deadline reporting; Erin Hoover Barnett, The Oregonian, feature writing; The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, coverage of diversity; and Richard Read, The Oregonian, enterprise reporting.

In the under-50,000-circulation category, first-place awards went to the Skagit Valley Herald for deadline reporting; Tanya Kerstiens of The Bellingham Herald for feature writing; Tom Roeder of The (Centralia) Chronicle for enterprise reporting; Carol Bradley of The Great Falls Tribune for investigative reporting; and Wendy Harris of the Yakima Herald-Republic for coverage of diversity.

First place in the Debby Lowman competition for consumer-affairs reporting went to Jane Hadley of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for stories on mailbox thefts.

The awards are named for C.B. Blethen, publisher of The Times from 1915 until 1941.