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People & Places

Staff Pick

Best Local Journalist 

Jeremy Kohler, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

If not for Jeremy Kohler, we wouldn’t have known about the plight of the Rosh Hashanah honey bees, those innocent insects whose only fault was living six inches too close to Mark McCloskey. As most of the country knows, Mark McCloskey is one half of the infamous St. Louis gun couple whose combined reactions to a moving crowd of protesters featured haphazard firearm safety and literal “get out of my neighborhood” attitude. Kohler, meanwhile, is a veteran reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who usually takes on heavy topics of corruption and jail deaths in St. Louis County. The McCloskeys weren’t corrupt government officials, but they were — as revealed by Kohler’s interviews with neighbors, lawsuits, depositions and, yes, the rabbi of a local synagogue — “a couple who have for years, nearly constantly, sued other people and ordered people off their property.” The story described the couple’s “long history of not backing down,” though Mark McCloskey featured heavily. He has challenged a neighbor at gunpoint for walking on his property; he destroyed a beehive whose honey was intended for harvest by the nearby Jewish congregation.(Kohler graciously credits his colleague, reporter Joel Currier, with unearthing the beehive savagery.) The couple lived in a literal castle and had evicted tenants as COVID-19 was spiking in May. Kohler’s reporting revealed more about the couple than the viral photos ever could, and in that context of their long history of entitlement, their reaction to protesters appearing near their mansion on June 28 is hardly surprising. It was the story of what happens when two people, who had lived lives of taking what they wanted, were confronted with something they couldn’t control: another group of people who wouldn’t back down. — Danny Wicentowski

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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