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CultureMap Dallas managing editor Claire St. Amant receives Philbin Award for excellence in legal reporting

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Claire St. Amant
Managing editor Claire St. Amant covered the ESD sex scandal for People Newspapers in the summer of 2011. Photo by Kelly Knight

CultureMap Dallas managing editor has had a pretty big day. Today we published her exclusive four-part interview with Parkland whistleblower Dr. Larry Gentilello — a story that hasn’t been told before now. Claire spent five months researching and writing this story. Gentilello had to wait five years to share it.

In related news, our ace investigative reporter was honored today with a Philbin Award for her coverage of the ESD sex scandal, which she wrote about for Preston Hollow People and its blog. The story also ran on the cover of D Magazine in October 2011.

Claire found out about the news on, ironically, the blog where she reported the story.

The Philbin Awards honor excellence in legal reporting that contributes to the public’s understanding of the legal system. The Philbin Awards are given in the following categories: metropolitan or statewide newspaper: feature story; metropolitan or statewide newspaper: spot news; metropolitan or statewide newspaper: series; suburban newspaper: news or feature articles; magazine article(s); television and radio; and electronic media.

Claire won in the category of electronic media. According to a statement from the Dallas Bar Association, “She prepared a unique, real-time blog that kept readers up-to-date on the controversial Episcopal School of Dallas trial.” Claire was the first reporter on the scene for that trial, which eventually was covered by other outlets, including the Dallas Morning News

When selecting the winners, judges considered educational value, accuracy, resourcefulness and “the journalist’s initiative in pursuing the story and the story’s contribution to public debate.” Fellow Philbin Award recipients are Ginger Allen, Lisa Blegen, Jack Douglas, Mike Lozano and Daniel Penz from KTVT/CBS 11, who took home the grand prize for “Deaths at Dawson Jail,” an in-depth report on the medical standards of care at the Dallas jail.

Michael J. Mooney of D Magazine won in the magazine category for “Could You Forgive the Man Who Shot You in the Face,” an article about a Dallas man who went on a revenge killing spree days after 9/11 and one of the survivors who, surprisingly, went on to lobby on behalf of the man’s execution.

The Dallas Bar has been presenting the Philbin Awards annually since 1983. Winners in each category receive a $750 award, which begs the question: Where is Claire taking us to celebrate?

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