NCBA Media and the Law Awards Presented
The 2023 North Carolina Bar Association Media and the Law Awards were presented on Thursday, August 24, at the annual Editorial and Advertising Awards Ceremony of the North Carolina Press Association (NCPA).
The awards ceremony, held at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, was the featured event of the NCPA’s 150th Anniversary. NCBA President Patti Ramseur presented the Media and the Law Awards. Additional special awards were presented prior to the presentation of the NCPA’s annual awards.
The Media and the Law awards program was established by the NCBA in 1989, at which time Cliff Barnes served as communications director. Judging is conducted by our Communications Committee based on accurate, informative coverage of law-related issues which fosters greater public understanding of the legal system and the role of lawyers in society. R. Lee Robertson Jr. of Charlotte currently serves as chair of the Communications Committee.
The awards are contested in four categories: best community newspaper article, best daily newspaper article, best online article, and best series.
The Media and the Law Award for Best Community Newspaper Article was presented to Kyle Perrotti of the Smoky Mountain News for “Justice Delayed: When the Levee Breaks.” The article, as described in its subtitle, examined how the pandemic, a surging population, and a striking lack of resources is steering Western North Carolina toward a judicial crisis.
The Media and the Law Award for Best Daily Newspaper Article was presented to Michael Gordon of The Charlotte Observer for the second consecutive year. This year’s winning article, published under the headline of “Tax errors took everything from a disabled Charlotte woman and left her sleeping in a parking deck,” chronicled the plight of a legally blind and partially paralyzed Charlotte woman who lost her home, according to court records, “due to years of back taxes she unknowingly owed to Mecklenburg County.”
Rana Cash, executive editor of The Charlotte Observer, accepted the award for Best Daily Newspaper Article on behalf of Michael Gordon, who just recently retired.
The Media and the Law Award for Best Online Article was presented to Sarah Nagem of the Border Belt Independent, for “As North Carolina courts work through backlog, some counties don’t have enough lawyers.” The article examined the post-pandemic dilemma playing out across North Carolina, and especially in rural counties, wherein there are not enough lawyers who are willing to represent indigent defendants.
The Media and the Law Award for Best Series was presented to Holly Kays of the Smoky Mountain News for “Silent No More: Native communities call for end to crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women.” “Understanding the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis,” Kays wrote, “often referred to in shorthand as MMIW, requires a journey back in time through a relationship as violent and tumultuous as any abusive romantic entanglement – the relationship between Native American tribes and the United States government.”