Wichita Eagle, Lawrence Times win Burton W. Marvin Award

LAWRENCE — Journalists from The Wichita Eagle and The Lawrence Times are recipients of the 2022 Burton W. Marvin Kansas News Enterprise Award from the William Allen White Foundation Board of Trustees. The awards were presented in conjunction with the Kansas Press Association’s awards on Oct. 1 in Newton, Kansas. This year, the judges wanted to award stories in larger and smaller markets.

Eagle reporters Michael Stavola and Chance Swaim won for their series, “Unresponsive: Crisis at Sedgwick County EMS,” which detailed problems with the county’s emergency management system, including staffing shortages and dangerously slow response times. 

Judges from the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications commented, “The Eagle’s reporting leveraged government data and interviews with more than 50 stakeholders to document a rapid and devastating decline in what had been one of the Midwest’s best emergency medical systems. Meticulous, thoughtful, community-focused journalism by Michael Stavola and Chance Swaim makes clear how inept leadership and government cronyism created and prolonged the crisis. The Eagle’s stories led directly to the ouster of EMS management. This is investigative reporting and community journalism at their finest, and the Greater Wichita community is safer as a result.” 

The Lawrence Times reporter Conner Mitchell also won for the story, “Who killed Nick Rice?” Mitchell shed light on long-unanswered questions about the 1970 shooting death of an 18-year-old University of Kansas student during a "Summer of Rage" protest on the edge of campus.

Judges commented, “The 10-part series compellingly recounts a death for which no one was ever held accountable by collating details from hundreds of pages of recently released law enforcement records, newspaper archives and contemporary interviews. This re-examination of a 52-year-old cold case assembles the fullest account ever written of the Lawrence police force's role that fateful night. Mitchell applies investigative journalism and riveting storytelling to subtly force the community to face unsettling truths that have resonance today.”

The Burton W. Marvin award is given by the William Allen White Foundation to a publication or broadcast produced by a Kansas journalist or team of journalists demonstrating enterprise in developing and producing significant news stories. The award is named for the former dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications at the University of Kansas and the first director of the William Allen White Foundation.

This is the first year the Burton W. Marvin award has been announced in conjunction with the Kansas Press Association’s annual awards. Previously, the award has been given during William Allen White Day events; however, it had not been awarded in recent years due to the pandemic.