Metro-East News

BND wins McClatchy President's Award for Journalism

Belleville News-Democrat reporters Beth Hundsdorfer and George Pawlaczyk won a McClatchy President's Award on Monday for their story "Sometime In the Night."

The story was about the death of 2-month-old Matthew Elkins, who died on a filthy mattress on a cold January night surrounded by his parents and siblings inside a trash-filled house in New Douglas, Illinois.

"It's an extraordinary piece of long-form journalism. Nuanced. Deeply unsettling. It avoids any kind of easy answers to some really complicated human questions," said McClatchy's Vice President for News Tim Grieve during a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas.

"Beth and George continue to produce extraordinary local journalism for BND readers. 'Sometime in the Night' is the latest. It is a powerful, sensitive, nuanced narrative that affected thousands of readers around the country. We are also proud that they won McClatchy's highest honor for the third year in a row," said Jeffry Couch, editor and general manager of the News-Democrat.

This is the third consecutive year and fourth time the reporters have won the award.

Last year, the team won for their reporting on former East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton. Through what the judges called “dogged” and “impressive” reporting, Hundsdorfer and Pawlaczyk “uncovered that Hamilton misused thousands of dollars in government money meant to help the poor.”

The team also won for their "Violation of Trust" series in 2015.