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Franklin wins Malcolm Law Award
May 19, 2005 12:00 am
May 18, 2005
Lebanon Democrat Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin has won the state's highest honor for investigative reporting for the second year in a row.
The Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editor's Contest announced Tuesday Franklin won the 2005 Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting for his series "The Jailhouse Paper Trail."
The series, which ran in 2004, was a detailed examination of over 1,400 use of force reports filed over incidents at the Wilson County Jail.
The reports detailed the use of force against prisoners almost daily at the troubled facility for a period of time. Reports uncovered by the newspaper's investigation also revealed details about key incidents at the jail related to civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions of a group of former jail guards.
The facility was the subject of an 18-month criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice with a handful of former guards still facing federal criminal charges and some already having pleaded guilty.
The probe began with the beating death of one-time inmate Walter Kuntz in 2003.
Franklin won the 2004 Malcolm Law for an expose on the troubled past of a Lebanon woman accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor boy before absconding with the youth to New Mexico.
In addition to Franklin's award, the Associated Press also announced finalists for the eight other reporting and photography categories in the TAPME contest. The Democrat has a finalist in seven of those categories. Winners in these categories will be announced July 15 in a ceremony in Nashville.
Democrat Managing Editor Clint Brewer said the award was a testament to Franklin's abilities as a journalist and the newspaper's commitment to in-depth, substantive reporting.
"This award shows that Brooks is clearly one of the finest journalists this state has ever produced," Brewer said. "Covering the situation at the jail has been difficult and at times tense. Brooks did not back away from the task.
"Our newspaper is committed to quality journalism and providing our readers with the answers and information that are not always easy to obtain. We will continue our mission to make our county's daily newspaper one of the finest small dailies in the country.