Best Herald Writer (2007)

David Ovalle

Working the cops beat in Miami-Dade is an inherently sensational experience with no lack of dramatic narratives, but David Ovalle has found a way of lingering after the rest of the media circus has taken down its tents. His assailants and victims are people Herald readers remember. To cover the story of Maria Pacheco, an illegal immigrant whose baby was found dead in a portable toilet at a South Miami-Dade plant nursery, Ovalle vividly described the destitute Guatemalan town that she had left. He related to readers the misery of Edward Quetel, who held his wife Chermaine as she died of gunshot wounds, murdered by an unknown assailant while both were working a shift as Metrorail guards. There was the pigeon trapper whose business once landed him on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, years before he became a crack cocaine addict, and then a murder victim. And then there were occasional moments of dark humor: the college student armed with an AK-47 who was shot in the buttocks by confused police as he chased a burglar. Or "Man Shot, Drives through Fence into Rabbit Cage," in which Ovalle concluded that "It was unclear if any bunnies were also victims in the crash." In sum, his byline is a seal of quality, and — did we mention that he apparently possesses unfailing energyç — it is in the paper pretty much every day.

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