Two prestigious national journalism awards have honored work by New Times and its staff writers in recent weeks. An investigation into the misuse of Tasers by Miami-area police departments by Miami New Times' former senior staff writer Michael E. Miller has won a Sigma Delta Chi Award, a national prize handed out by the Society of Professional Journalists to recognize "excellence in journalism."
New Times Broward-Palm Beach staff writer Kyle Swenson, meanwhile, has been named a finalist for the Livingston Awards, the top prize for young journalists in the nation, for a series of stories that helped free three men wrongly incarcerated for decades for a crime they didn't commit.
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The Sigma Delta Chi Awards singled out Miller's work in "Shock and Awe," an investigation that found widespread abuse in how Miami-area police forces routinely use potentially deadly Tasers on the homeless and on suspects in minor offenses such as shoplifting or skateboarding.
The series won in the Non-Deadline Reporting From a Non-Daily Publication category. Miller, who has since left New Times for a gig at the Washington Post, is honored alongside writers from the New York Times, the AP, and Reuters.
Swenson, meanwhile, is one of 18 finalists for the Livingston in the Local Reporting category. The prize honors a piece Swenson wrote for the Cleveland Scene last year. That story followed a piece he'd originally written for the Scene in 2011, focusing on the case of three men who had spent decades in prison — including time on death row — based on the questionable eyewitness testimony of just one child.
The three men were all freed last year after a retrail found they'd been wrongly convicted and the single witness recanted his testimony.