Tampa Bay Times journalists picked up several first-place honors in the 2019 Sunshine State Awards, which recognize excellence by Florida news organizations.
Also, the newspaper’s web site picked up a first place for its redesign in the annual competition by the Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Kathleen McGrory, the Times’ deputy investigations editor, was chosen as journalist of the year. Her work with investigative reporter Neil Bedi on “Heartbroken,” which documents a spike in patient deaths at the Heart Institute inside Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, was a finalist for the Gene Miller Award for Investigative Reporting.
Reporter Jack Evans was named outstanding new journalist based on a collection of his work. Adam Playford, the Times’ deputy editor for investigations who oversaw the work on “Heartbroken”, was named editor of the year.
Reporter Zachary T. Sampson and photographer Douglas R. Clifford received a first place for excellence in disaster reporting for their coverage of Hurricane Michael and its aftermath.
Andrew Meacham, the former performing arts critic for the Times, was recognized with a first place for beat reporting for his coverage of the arts. Claire McNeill, now an enterprise reporter for the Times, received a first place in education coverage for “Overlooked and Isolated,” a collection of her work.
Sampson and Mark Puente were named finalists for the James Batten Award for Public Service for their investigations of CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Their stories documented how the public agencies claimed to help people find work who never received their assistance and received millions in tax dollars in the process.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel won first place for both the James Batten and Gene Miller awards for its reporting on the Parkland school shooting.
In addition to its first-place honors, the Times received four second-place awards and five third-place honors.
Times’ affiliates also were recognized. Florida Trend won a first and third place award in the magazine categories; CENTRO Tampa won a second place for Spanish language publications; and PolitiFact received a third place for its PolitiFact Florida website.