CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Charleston Gazette series, "The Shape We're In," has won the Association of Health Care Journalists' 2012 top award for public health reporting, AHCJ announced last week.
The award honors the yearlong effort of Kate Long, reporter, with a support team of design editor Kyle Slagle, multimedia producer Douglas Imbrogno and project editor Dawn Miller.
Fayette County native Long created the wide-ranging series to stir public concern about West Virginia's alarming rates of childhood obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases and to highlight West Virginians who are finding ways to lower those numbers.
The ACHJ presents the public health award to one large-circulation news organization and one smaller-circulation organization. Second- and third-place winners for the small-circulation award went to Mother Jones magazine and Bloomberg Markets. The Boston Globe won the large-circulation award.
Judges wrote that, "Long's use of historical data, expert interviews, and individual successes seemed to have had a real impact on her community and her state."
In 2012, "The Shape We're In" received awards from the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership, and The State Health Education Council of West Virginia, for raising public concern and sparking action.
Long says she was inspired by the "sustained outrage" model advocated by late Gazette Publisher W.E. "Ned" Chilton III.
The ACHJ awards will be presented at the organization's annual conference in Boston in March.