I am very happy to see this story I wrote for the Enterprise recognized in the 2021 California News Publishers Association Awards (CNPA). 1st place in Covid-19 Pandemic Reporting!
Some super secret background info: When this article initially came out, we were asked not so nicely by a high-ranking county official to issue a redaction. We didn’t, and the official (coincidentally) resigned a few weeks later.
I won't disclose his name here, but it would be easy to find out if you really want to know.
Here are some screenshots from our correspondence.
A letter to the editor:
In short, the official withdrew his letter to the editor.
Unfortunately with this story, there were follow-up reports on additional deaths. Skilled nursing homes were not equipped to handle Covid-19. Hopefully, this tragedy will be a lesson in preparedness.
In other news, I was recently granted yet another reminder of why local news is SO important in a free society.
One of the first investigative reports I wrote at the Enterprise was a story about a 3-year-old who had drowned in a neighbor's swimming pool in San Andreas. A co-worker of mine actually lived next door to the boy's family and brought to my attention multiple sightings of the boy prior to his death walking barefoot through the neighborhood, climbing over fences and hiding in neighbors' yards. We went and knocked on the doors of neighbors to collect statements, interviewed family members--the whole nine yards.
When writing the story, which I believed documented more than enough evidence to arrest one or more caretakers and launch an investigation into CPS's practices, I was shocked and dismayed to find that the sheriff's office and CPS found nothing during their brief investigations.
The CNPA also recognized that story in 2019 with a 2nd place honor.
I truly believe that our reporting of this case and the public outrage that ensued convinced the DA's office to launch their own investigation.
Three years later, and the boy's grandmother and father (I interviewed both back in 2018) were arrested for child cruelty.
I am looking forward to covering this case as it moves through the court system and seeing how our reporting might influence, hopefully, the deliverance of justice in the case of Clifton, whose death and seemingly forgotten story has haunted me for the last three years.
Rest in peace, little Clifton.