DeGette wins nod for ‘Best of Statehouse’ online news series

TCI’s own Cara DeGette snagged an honorable mention “Cappie” award for best online in-depth statehouse reporting at the annual Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors conference last weekend in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. It was a bold choice for an organization that admits its struggles with “shrinking capitol news bureaus and economic hard times for media outlets across the country” since our series took on one of their own.

Long time readers may recall a bit of a kerfluffle earlier this year when a group of self-appointed journalists established the Colorado Capitol Press Association as gatekeepers to thwart the online barbarians — and anyone else not deemed a “journalist” — from storming the statehouse news corps.

CCPA was founded by the Pueblo Chieftain’s Denver Bureau Chief Charles Ashby who also serves on the ACRE board, the national trade group for reporters covering state and local governments that confers the annual “Cappie” awards.

DeGette’s honorable mention-winning entry consisted of a series of investigative and feature stories on CCPA, its purpose and dangers to free speech.

In ‘Real’ Colorado Journalists Wear Purple, she explored the First Amendment aspects of limiting journalistic access to lawmakers in an era of dwindling media attention to state politics and growing public attention to government accountability.

In Proving Journalism Creds Inspires One Word: Demeaning, she examined the risks of “playing journalism cop.”

DeGette further considered the historic tensions of new media and more traditional outlets in Gene Amole: The Subtle Snub That Spoke Volumes.

The entire series can be read here.

Ultimately, with the guidance of the national and state professional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists, Colorado Press Association and other media experts, Speaker Andrew Romanoff disbanded the organization following the 2008 legislative session. [Note: According to the Colorado House majority communications office, CCPA has not been disbanded.]

Many congratulations to Cara for the worthy national accolades on her fine reporting.