An investigative series of stories by the staff at the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers on the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) from December 2011 was selected as the winner of a prestigious Florida Press Club 2012 Excellence in Journalism Competition award.
The team won the Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth reporting in the B circulation class. The staff finished third for the Frances DeVore Award for Public Service for the investigation. The Public Service Award was one circulation class.
The staff created a special website to highlight the investigation. The website includes news, opinion, photos and videos, interactive maps and more on the investigation.
Florida Inland Navigation District officials have changed their meeting and travel expense practices at least partly in response to the series.
The investigation included disclosures that FIND spent $459 for a hotel room in Washington, D.C., during a district official’s lobbying trip and $254 per room for district officials attending a commission meeting in Miami. The 12-county district typically holds commission meetings in a hotel in a different county each month.
FIND officials will book monthly meetings at less expensive venues, tighten up on travel expenses and improve public notification about community events and the construction of sediment processing facilities, said David Roach, the district’s executive director, in a memo responding to the stories.
Congratulations to all who took part.