COLUMBUS — The Blade won the First Amendment Award given by the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors on Sunday for the newspaper’s pursuit of freedom of information to obtain a police-created map of gang territory in Toledo last year.
The Blade’s request for a copy of the city’s map that shows gang boundaries was denied, prompting a lawsuit by the newspaper and a months-long court battle.
Additionally, Blade reporter Taylor Dungjen, who spoke about the project at the awards ceremony, and photographer Amy Voigt who worked on the series “Battle Lines: Gangs of Toledo,” were awarded first place in the best enterprise reporting category for newspapers with a daily circulation of more than 75,000.
After the police and city administrators refused to make the city’s map public, The Blade created one, using information from gang members and Toledo police sources.
The gang series, which has received awards from other news organizations, has sparked a series of community forums on the causes of racism and remedies for gangs and gang violence.
The first place investigative reporting award was given to Kris Turner for the series “Deals Gone Bad,” which outlined the state’s costly investments in failed solar-power firms.
Mr. Turner was awarded third place under best explanatory reporting for his “Going to Pot” story.
First place also was awarded to Tom Fisher for best illustration for his “Monster Hits.” Blade artist Jeff Bastings was awarded third in the same category for his “Portrait of a Pointer.”
Jeff Gerritt was awarded second in best editorial writer category.
David Briggs received second under the sports enterprise category for “Gay Track Star Finds Support.”
Ms. Voigt was awarded second in best breaking news photo for “Student Standoff.”
The Blade was awarded second for best community service for “Changing Minds, Changing Lives,” a forum that addresses poverty and racism after The Blade’s gang series ran.
The Blade took second for best front page layout.
Elisa Tomaszewski won third for best headline.
Jeremy Wadsworth was awarded third as best photographer.
The Blade’s managing editor, Dave Murray, was elected to a two-year term as an at-large director of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors association, representing newspapers from all circulation divisions.
On the board representing small-market TV stations was Tony Geftos, reporter/anchor for WTVG, Channel 13.
Additionally, WTVG was honored for general excellence and several other awards for broadcast writing, photography, coverage, breaking news coverage, and other categories.
The Ohio AP Media Editors Hall of Fame inaugural class inducted Chrys Peterson, retired anchor at WTOL-TV and Joe Hallett, a former Blade reporter and retired political reporter for the Columbus Dispatch.