Pilot wins investigative reporting awards

Daily Pilot reporter Mike Reicher has placed first and second in the investigative reporting category in a statewide journalism contest for his work on a politician who did not live in a legislative district he sought to represent and a legal flap involving cell phone towers.

The California Newspaper Publishers Assn. (CNPA) notified winners of the 2010 Better Newspapers Contest by mail this week. The Daily Pilot received two notifications for first and second place in the category for Investigative or Enterprising Reporting in its circulation division.

This means that two stories by Reicher took the top spots in the category for newspapers with similar circulation. Which story took first place and which story took second will be formally announced at CNPA's annual banquet April 16 in Los Angeles.

The Daily Pilot was one of 21 newspapers with daily circulations ranging from 25,000 to 100,000 that entered the contest for the Investigative or Enterprise Reporting award. CNPA will also hand out an award in this category in three other circulation divisions, said Terri Vanderveer, the CNPA's contest coordinator in Sacramento.

Reicher wrote the articles on July, 25, 2010, "Cell towers get poor reception," and October 10, 2010, "Nguyen's address in doubt," which earned the recognition.

The cell towers story focused on the proliferation and litigation surrounding small cell transmitters in the area of Crystal Cove State Park and other Orange County areas.

The other piece was on Phu Nguyen, a candidate for the Legislature who apparently began his campaign living outside of the district he intended to represent. Though the candidate registered his campaign at an address before he moved into the district, he later apparently moved in as the campaign progressed.

Nguyen lost the campaign for State Assembly to former Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor.

"Mike's hard work last year reflects the Daily Pilot's ongoing commitment to public-accountability reporting," said Editor John Canalis. "Even though we're one of the smaller dailies in Southern California, Mike and the rest of the staff produce first-rate work every day."

In addition to serving as the paper's special projects reporter, Reicher covers Newport Beach City Hall. Before joining the Daily Pilot, Reicher interned at The New York Times. He returned to Orange County as an editor for the Orange County Local News Network, a former media partner of the Los Angeles Times that folded in 2010. Reicher has a bachelor's degree from UCLA and a master's degree from the City University of New York.

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