Best Reporter (Newspaper Division) St. Louis 2013 - Paul Hampel
Where is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Paul Hampel these days? The answer: everywhere. The watchdog who for years made lunchmeat of lying and hypocritical St. Louis county officials is now covering the Metro East, where he has been all over one of the biggest stories of 2013: the drug scandal inside the St. Clair County courts. At the same time, Hampel remains so plugged in west of the Mississippi that his byline has appeared in the daily's coverage of the corruption allegations plaguing the St. Louis County police board and County Executive Charlie Dooley. Poor Dooley. The county's top pol just can't seem to shake Hampel, whose reporting has also exposed Dooley's egregious patronage hires and manufactured crises — like the time Dooley threatened to close county parks if he didn't get a tax hike. Hampel's other greatest hits include uncovering how Brentwood firefighters accrued hundreds of thousands of dollars in sham overtime, how the St. Louis County tax collector didn't pay her own taxes and how former Florissant mayor Bob Lowery rarely spent any time on the job. Regional government would probably function better without the boobs at the center of Hampel's articles, but then again, it wouldn't be nearly as interesting to read about.