We've pretty much washed our hands of covering journalism awards, but this one stood out because it is illustrative of how lackluster the Houston Chronicle's news coverage has become in recent years.
The award of which we speak was handed out to Mike Reed, a reporter for the weekly chain of newspapers in Houston that are known collectively as "The Examiners." (Reed is pictured above, on the left, with his writing coach at her part-time day job.)
He was cited for his coverage of the apparent mess that is "Metro" and all that it entails.
In an e-mail that was issued to by a vice president of the company that owns The Examiners and 60 or so other daily and weekly newspapers in East Texas and Colorado, the below was stated:
One last thing, especially for those who don’t work in Houston. I think it’s appropriate to make sure we understand the purpose behind the top editorial award we give every year: The Tom Jacobs Community Service Award. Tom served as editor of the Pearland and Friendswood Journals before his passing a little more than a year ago (Nov. 12, 2009, to be precise). He was one of the kindest men you’d ever meet, but he had an incredible tone with his pen. He could make readers laugh, and he could make public officials squeamish. He knew how to stand up for his readers, and the priority of his newspapers was always to put the good of the community ahead of any one individual.
You can read more about the winner in the attachment, but I thought it would be nice to include a photo of the inaugural award, given to Mike Reed of the Examiner Newspapers for his incredibly thorough coverage of Houston’s public transportation system. Mike literally stayed three steps ahead of every media outlet, breaking story after story about some of the corruption in Metro’s plan for construction of a light rail through chunks of the Examiner coverage area. The results of Mike’s reporting were far-reaching, to say the least. The chairman and CEO of Metro offered his resignation; the federal government launched an investigation into Metro’s funding application; the state opened an investigation into bond sale practices; the district attorney investigated potential criminal misconduct of Metro officers for not releasing public records; and the new mayor of Houston fired all city appointees on the Metro board. Mike would probably have us tell you he wasn’t the only one reporting on this “circus,” but media across the city gave him credit for leading the way.
Mike is a humble guy, but he should know Tom Jacobs would be proud, as are the rest of us.
Congratulations to Mike and the rest of our winners.
This likely won't come as a surprise to some observors of the media scene in Houston, such as the gang at blogHouston, who have commented previously on Reed's relentless bird doggin' of Metro.