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The Society of Professional Journalists awarded the Key Biscayne Independent first place for hyperlocal reporting in the Sunshine State awards Friday night.  

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The annual award in the newspaper category was for a series of articles last year about the Key Biscayne municipal elections, the costliest in the island’s history. The stories featured a mix of unprecedented dark money, attack ads, and robust debates about the future direction of the island. The award recognized the work of Tony Winton, the Independent’s editor in chief. 

“To be honored for our election coverage is deeply gratifying, but this work would not have been possible without the support of our editorial team and a community that values local journalism. To our readers and supporters, this award honors you as well,” Winton said in a statement.

Tony Winton, editor in chief of the Key Biscayne Indepedent, as part of a panel of reporters at the mayoral primary debate, August 9, 2022. (KBI Photo/Theo Miller)

The Society of Professional Journalists awards are made in a system where the Florida chapter swaps with its sister SPJ chapters across the country to judge each other’s contests. This ensures that there is no bias or conflict of interest, the organization said. The awards were presented in a ceremony in Fort Lauderdale Friday night.

The KBI’s entry was for a collection of articles submitted along with a summary of the organization’s video streamed debates and other election coverage.

You can read the entries submitted here:
Dark money in Key Biscayne? Election complaints target negative ads in mayoral race

Far-right group tied to Michael Flynn attacks KB candidate with misleading drug arrest claim

Landlord group funds “no” campaign on ballot issues – but why?

John Pacenti, the Independent’s executive editor, also won recognition in the contest for work while reporting for  WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach last year. A report looking at the actions of police after a fatal shooting in Coconut Creek earned third place in the television investigative reporting category.  

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