AP's Jake Pearson wins top award from New York Press Club

AP News
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Posted: Apr 27, 2015 5:24 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A series of reports by The Associated Press on Rikers Island jail inmate deaths that exposed brutality, neglect and mismanagement in the city's biggest lockup has won the top prize in the New York Press Club Awards.

Reporter Jake Pearson was awarded the Gold Keyboard for his yearlong series, which began with exclusives on the deaths of two mentally ill inmates. One of those inmates was left alone for hours in a cell that sweltered to more than 100 degrees because of a malfunctioning heater.

A series of reports about other inmate deaths followed, spotlighting questionable medical care and suicides that might have been prevented but for missteps including the improper distribution of medication.

The AP won six other awards Monday: Alberto Arce won in the continuing coverage category, for stories on violence in Central America; Jocelyn Noveck won in the entertainment news category for a piece called "Meditations on the Movies"; Krista Larson garnered a feature reporting prize for "Chaos in West Africa"; J.M. Hirsch won in the food writing category, and Beth Harpaz won in the humor and special event reporting categories.

Other winning outlets included The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Newsday, ESPN, The New York Times and WCBS radio.

The awards will be presented June 8.