Beryllium probe wins national honor


The Blade has won the 1999 Community Leadership Award from the Inland Press Association for its series on the metal beryllium.

The series, written by Blade senior writer Sam Roe, also won first place for investigative reporting.

Published March 28 through April 2, the series detailed how the U.S. defense establishment and the beryllium industry endangered workers' lives to produce the metal for nuclear bombs and other weapons.

READ MORE: Deadly Alliance series

The series sparked two congressional investigations and had a role in the federal government acknowledging for the first time that it had harmed scores of Cold War weapon workers. The Clinton administration has pledged legislation to compensate victims.

Judges called the beryllium stories a "compelling series of moving articles." Judges at the University of Missouri School of Journalism selected winners for community leadership in four circulation categories. Judges at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication picked winners for investigative reporting, explanatory journalism, and profile writing.

Other top writing awards went to the Denver Post, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The contest was open to members of the Inland Press Association, a 770-member service organization for the newspaper industry, supplying training seminars, financial research, surveys, books, and contests. It is based in Des Plaines, Ill.

Mr. Roe, 39 and a Toledo native, has been with The Blade 13 years, mainly as a special projects reporter.

Block News Alliance's Allan Detrich was the primary photographer on the beryllium series. Blade city editor Dave Murray was project editor.