Best Reporter, TV/Radio

Austin Jenkins

To give you an idea of what a stellar journalist Austin Jenkins is, consider a story he hustled up last year. Jenkins was thumbing through tort claims from his office in Olympia when he came across the details of a settled lawsuit in which the Washington State Department of Corrections paid $150 to an inmate. The reporter (shared by a number of public-radio stations, including KUOW and KPLU) went down the rabbit hole and hit the jackpot. Long story short, the inmate had spent $50.38 of his own money buying packets of cream cheese, among other fixings, and made a perfect cheesecake in his cell. An officer found it, accused him of pilfering (knowing he worked in the mess), and confiscated the cheesecake. DOC coughed up, and Jenkins got the story. The best stories of the year don’t come with press releases; it takes seasoned, curious reporters like Jenkins to get the goods. No, the poor guy never got a bite of his own cheesecake. CHRIS KORNELIS

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