Bucks County Courier honored with G. Richard Dew Award

  • Sep 19, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

CONTACT:

Jacquelynn Lehman

Email: jacquelynnl@mansimedia.com

Phone: (717) 703-3071

 

Bucks County Courier Times honored with G. Richard Dew Award

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 19, 2017 – The Bucks County Courier Times, Levittown, is the recipient of the 2017 Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation’s G. Richard Dew Award.

The G. Richard Dew Award is the PNA Foundation’s most prestigious honor for outstanding journalism. The award was established in memory of G. Richard Dew, former general manager of the PNA (then PNPA) and former executive director of the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors. This award recognizes an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to its community or state through an article or series of articles.

Recipients of this award are honored for work that improves the quality of community life, enhances the public’s understanding of the role of news media and exemplifies journalistic responsiveness to matters of public interest. The Bucks County Courier Times is the 2017 winner of this award for its “Unwell Water” series. This project required two years of investigative coverage and hundreds of stories detailing the leaking of chemicals from area military bases into an underground aquifer, exposing tens of thousands of residents to unsafe drinking water.

Two facts led to the series. An EPA spreadsheet showed unusually high readings of a mysterious chemical called PFOS in Warminster, Bucks County. A Pennsylvania Department of Health report detailed the third highest number of bladder cancer cases per capita in the country in the same community. Spearheaded by reporters Kyle Bagenstose and Jenny Wagner, the series forced the U.S. military into grudging admissions of truth, galvanized local and national politicians and advocates to action, led to the closure of at least 22 public drinking-water wells and informed the entire community about the presence and probable source of harmful chemicals.

A judge wrote, “This sprawling series took two seemingly tiny facts from two seemingly disparate spreadsheets and produced hundreds of stories over several years. All a result of old-fashioned reporting and modern data-sifting by Bagenstose and Wagner. I am in awe of the quality of the reporting, writing and editing; its evenhandedness, lack of sensationalism and fairness, along with its insistence on cutting through the resistance to find truths; the commitment of the newspaper to provide the times and resources required; and the responsiveness both of the newspaper to its community and of the community to its newspaper.”

The G. Richard Dew Award will be presented Nov. 3, 2017, during the PNA Annual Convention at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Philadelphia, Pa.   

About PNA Foundation:

The PNA Foundation is an independent, non-profit corporation organized as a public foundation. Its mission is to provide training and resources to PNA members, to develop the next generation of readers and journalists, and to educate the public on the importance of the First Amendment and the role of a free press.

About PNA:

The PNA, founded in 1925, is the nonprofit trade association for print and digital news media in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Its mission is to advance the business interests of Pennsylvania news media organizations and to promote a free and independent press. It has more than 300 newspaper and media-related members, including daily, weekly, and college newspapers and online publications.

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