Mark Puente, crime reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has won the 20th annual Al Nakkula Award for Police Reporting administered by the University of Colorado School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Puente's three-month investigation uncovered decades of corruption by Cuyahoga County Sheriff Gerald McFaul,who resigned and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
Puente, 40, is a former long-haul truck driver who moved his family from Cleveland to the University of North Carolina to start college at the age of 30. He studied political science and then turned to journalism. Second place in the context went to John Diedrich of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Diedrich, 38, who won first place in the Nakkula contest in 2006, wrote about the dual life of a man who served as a deacon in his grandfather's church while he ran a cocaine selling crew and dispatched prostitutes throughout the Midwest. The judges award special recognition to Jeremy Kohler of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,Tony Rizzo of the Kansas City Star, and Jordan Smith of the Austin Chronicle.