The story, which centered on internal emails leaked to Cardona by a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) employee, spurred two U.S senators to send a letter to Norwegian's CEO, Frank Del Rio, demanding that his company "immediately end the dissemination of any misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic."
This marks the second consecutive year the Clarion Awards have recognized a New Times writer for cruise-industry coverage, and the third straight year that the paper has topped the Clarions. In 2020, staff writer Meg O'Connor won the Newspaper Feature Story – Weekly Paper category for "Hands on Deck," which detailed the preponderance of sexual-assault incidents at sea. The year prior, news editor Jessica Lipscomb's story, "Deadly Dreams," which examined the fatal risks of parents cosleeping with infants, won that same category.
The Clarion judges aren't the only journalism arbiters to have noted the significance of Cardona's work, by the way. Her coverage of the NCL scandal also won a Green Eyeshade Award — a regional competition administered by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) that covers the southeastern U.S. — as well as a top prize from the Florida Press Association.
And we're still awaiting final results of the SPJ Florida chapter's Sunshine State Awards, in which Cardona's story is a contender — as is the front-page-design work of Michael Campina, whose photo-illustration (see above) for the story appeared on the cover of our March 19, 2020, print edition.
In that same statewide competition, New Times staff writer Joshua Ceballos is a finalist for Outstanding New Journalist. Winners will be announced on August 7.