Best Reporter (Newspaper Division) - 2008
Carolyn P. Smith
Since 2005 Carolyn Smith has covered crime in the seedy parts of St. Clair and Madison counties for the Belleville News-Democrat. This has to rank as one of the most depressing, frightening and, to put it mildly, lively beats on the planet. In the past year alone, when gunmen opened fire on a moving ambulance in East St. Louis, wounding an EMT inside, Smith was there. When the owner of a popular east-side restaurant chain was arrested on charges of running a cocaine-distribution ring and leading police on a high-speed chase, Smith was there. When an East St. Louis police detective was found passed out drunk at the wheel, Smith was there. And if cops and courts weren't enough, Smith is a frequent contributor to the BND's obituary section. Those are two dirty jobs. Smith does them well.