The Baltimore Banner wins five top prizes, 48 total awards in regional reporting contest

Published 5/5/2023 5:00 p.m. EDT, Updated 5/8/2023 1:03 p.m. EDT

The Baltimore Banner Sign is affixed to the Power Plant Building in downtown Baltimore.

The Baltimore Banner won 48 reporting awards this week from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, including five “Best of Show” awards that recognize the top overall entry among all the nominees in a category.

Investigative reporter Brenna Smith won two “Best of Show” honors for a deeply reported story that followed one woman in her search for justice after nearly $3,000 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits were stolen from her. Smith later turned the story into part of an episode of the radio show “This American Life.” The story won the top prize in the Public Service and News-Driven Multimedia Storytelling categories.

Enterprise reporter Tim Prudente’s feature on one of the world’s preeminent Bach pianists, Agi Jambor, and her century-old Steinway that now sits quiet, won the top award for Arts and Entertainment Reporting. Photojournalist Kaitlin Newman won in the General News Photo category for photos of an event held by Baltimore Ceasefire 365 activists, and columnist Leslie Gray Streeter won the Local Column: Critical Thinking category with her piece on squeegee workers.

The contest, which recognizes print and online work completed in 2022 by outlets across the region, featured more than 1,400 submissions across 85 categories this year. Entries were judged by the Louisiana Press Association.

The Banner also won division-wide first and second place awards for its education reporting, state and local government reporting, religion reporting, investigative reporting and social media reporting, among others.

Since The Banner was not eligible to submit entries as an organization because the site has not been publishing for an entire year, individual journalists submitted their work for consideration.

Here are the divisional winners:

  • General News Story, first place: Adam Willis, “Young Baltimore parents feel immediate effects from guaranteed income.”
  • General News Story, second place: Dylan Segelbaum, “‘It means everything:’ How the Juvenile Restoration Act has provided a second chance for people sentenced as children to prison in Maryland.”
  • Continuing Coverage, first place: Adam Willis, Emily Sullivan, Sophie Kasakove, Ben Conarck, Penelope Blackwell, Coverage of E. coli contamination.
  • Continuing Coverage, second place: Liz Bowie, Hallie Miller, “The Maryland kids with complex needs that aren’t being met.”
  • Feature Story: Profile, first place: Tim Prudente, “Longest living Jane Doe: A Baltimore woman’s decades-long search to find her identity.”
  • Feature Story: Profile, second place: Alissa Zhu, “Behind the plexiglass: A corner store witnesses generations of love and loss in West Baltimore.”
  • Business Reporting, first place: Sophie Kasakove, “Real estate firm lures in homeowners with quick cash. But some say there’s a ‘predatory’ 40-year catch.”
  • Business Reporting, second place: Alissa Zhu, Krishna Sharma, “We went shopping in a food desert where there is little access to healthy food. Here’s what we found.”
  • News-driven Multimedia Storytelling, first place: Brenna Smith, “One woman’s quest for justice after almost $3,000 of benefits were stolen.”
  • News-driven Multimedia Storytelling, second place: Ben Conarck, Ryan Little, “Baltimore teenagers are being shot at an alarming rate this year.”
  • State Government, first place: Brenda Wintrode, “How government red tape is keeping food benefits from hungry Marylanders.”
  • State Government, second place: Dylan Segelbaum, “‘It means everything:’ How the Juvenile Restoration Act has provided a second chance for people sentenced as children to prison in Maryland.”
  • Public Service, first place: Brenna Smith, “One woman’s quest for justice after almost $3,000 of benefits were stolen.”
  • Public Service, second place: Hallie Miller, Better Baltimore.
  • Features-driven Multimedia Storytelling, first place: Ryan Little, Ben Conarck, “Proposed Baltimore police districts would lump more violent crime into the most violent districts, analysis shows.”
  • Features-driven Multimedia Storytelling, second place: Brenna Smith, “One woman’s quest for justice after almost $3,000 of benefits were stolen.”
  • Medical/Science Reporting, first place: Christina Tkacik, “Baltimore scientists are changing the face of aquaculture. Are farm-raised blue crabs next?”
  • Medical/Science Reporting, second place: Jessica Calefati, “Henrietta Lacks’ stolen cells changed medicine forever. Can her family’s lawsuit deliver justice?”
  • Education Reporting, first place: Pamela Wood, Liz Bowie, “Wes Moore says his Baltimore education business was a success. The reality is much more complicated.”
  • Education Reporting, second place: Christina Tkacik, “Cheeseburgers, ‘emoji fries’ and fruit: Inside Baltimore City’s school lunch program.”
  • Investigative Reporting, first place: Julie Scharper, “When a ‘predator’ holds the keys: How a ranger accused of rape ran a state park without scrutiny.”
  • Investigative Reporting, second place: Hallie Miller, “The Baltimore nonprofit that stopped paying rent.”
  • Wild Card: Local election coverage, first place: Adam Willis, “Slew of Republicans vie for Baltimore County exec, while Olszewski waits.”
  • Wild Card: Local election coverage, second place: Nick Thieme, “Precinct-level election results: Maryland Gubernatorial primary.”
  • Growth & Land Use Reporting, first place: Hallie Miller, Ryan Little, “Baltimore’s biggest math problem: Why the city’s vacant housing crisis isn’t getting better.”
  • Growth & Land Use Reporting, second place: Taylor DeVille, “Baltimore County bill would exempt waterfront businesses from Maryland environmental rules.”
  • Local Government, first place: Hallie Miller, Sophie Kasakove, Adam Willis, “Baltimore promised hotels for homeless housing. There’s little progress as winter arrives again.”
  • Local Government, second place: Taylor DeVille, “Baltimore County often fails to meet state open records requirements.”
  • Feature Story: Non-Profile, first place: John-John Williams IV, “‘Lunch is served’: The best Latin meals in Baltimore may be the ones served before restaurants open their doors for dinner.”
  • Feature Story: Non-Profile, second place: Julie Scharper, “Sexual healing: Jocelyn Broadwick reclaims vintage smut.”
  • Religion Reporting, first place: Julie Scharper, “Five years after ‘The Keepers,’ abuse survivors still hoping for justice, transparency.”
  • General News Photo, first place: Kaitlin Newman, Baltimore Ceasefire 365.
  • General Social Media Reporting, first place: Krishna Sharma, Baltimore pistachio tide.
  • Breaking News-Social Media, first place: Krishna Sharma, Baltimore E. coli breaking news.
  • General Social Media Reporting, second place: Krishna Sharma, Alissa Zhu, Baltimore food desert video.
  • Local Column: Feature or Humor, first place: Pamela Wood, “Reporter’s notebook: When candidates for Maryland governor aren’t campaigning, here’s what they do for fun.”
  • Local Column: Feature or Humor, second place: Leslie Gray Streeter, “‘Respect For Marriage Act’ isn’t just about same-sex unions. It’s about my interracial one, too.”
  • Local Column: Critical Thinking, first place: Leslie Gray Streeter, “Squeegee workers: Neighborhood nephews, nuisances or nefarious? Maybe it starts in how you look at them.”
  • Best Use of Interactive Media, first place: Nick Thieme, “What the Baltimore Now poll tells us about how city residents share opinions.”
  • Best Use of Interactive Media, second place: Nick Thieme, “Maryland precinct-level election results: How did your precinct vote for governor?”
  • Environmental Reporting, first place: Sophie Kasakove, Adam Willis, “E. coli contamination highlights challenges in updating Baltimore’s aging water system.”
  • Breaking News, first place: Taylor DeVille, Kristen Griffith, “Mount Airy couple denied bail after husband arrested with ‘destructive device’ at Baltimore County school.”
  • Arts/Entertainment Reporting, first place: Tim Prudente, “Famed Baltimore pianist lives on in a grand Steinway. If only there was someone to play it.”
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