Two News Media Guild members, Rebecca Boone and Randy Herschaft, earned prestigious Gramling awards from The Associated Press last week. Each won a $3,000 Gramling Spirit Award, reflecting “the spirit and passion of everyone at AP,” as the company put it.
Boone, the supervisory correspondent in Boise, Idaho, won for what AP termed her “relentless commitment” to accountability journalism, which spurred her to uncover mismanagement and records falsification at the state’s biggest privately operated prison.
Her years-long series of stories on wrongdoing by the prison’s operator finally pushed Idaho’s legislature to overhaul how inmates are supervised.
She owned the story so well that some newspapers gave her their news tips to follow for her stories. Boone’s work earned her the Idaho Press Club’s First Amendment Award.
Boone, who joined AP 1n 2002, also has led the push by Idaho media groups for
access to public records and boosted AP’s relationship with its Idaho members.
Herschaft, an investigative researcher in New York, is known for uncovering the gems of info that help build great and distinctive stories.
Herschaft was on the AP team that put together the Pulitzer Prize-winning Bridge of No Gun Ri package and has worked with colleagues to produce news on everything from banking scandals to terrorism.
An expert on Freedom of Information law, Herschaft has hunted down an elderly Nazi in Minnesota, plus a veteran depicted in an iconic AP photo from the Vietnam War who had moved to a rural Georgia hamlet.
Herschaft, who joined AP in 1986, was described by one colleague as being able to find old documents that even archive keepers don’t know exist, as well as visuals that others have missed.