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Last Updated

07 Mar 2003

Source: Baltimore Sun, March 7, 2003

Three Sun journalists win honors in National Headliner Awards contest

By A Sun Staff Writer

Three Sun journalists have won National Headliner Awards for investigative reporting and column and feature writing in 2002.

Walter F. Roche Jr. of The Sun and Willoughby Mariano of the Orlando Sentinel won first place for investigative reporting for a jointly published three-part series in September that detailed how recruiters have signed up hundreds of Micronesians and Marshall Islanders for low-paying jobs in nursing homes and amusement parks in the United States.

The recruits are often required to sign contracts of up to two years that make them liable for thousands of dollars in damages if they leave the jobs before the contracts expire. Recruiters, working with partners in the Pacific islands, charge fees of up to $5,500 per recruit. As the series noted, some recruiters have tapped federal funds to underwrite their efforts.

Since the series was published, legislation to regulate the recruiters has been proposed in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Susan Reimer won first place for five columns on family issues.

She wrote about how John Walker Lindh, the American member of the Taliban, might have been anyone's child gone astray. She chastised Maryland education officials for canceling so many school events during the sniper shootings. She mourned the death of a high school wrestler who had competed against her son. She admitted experiencing high school angst again now that she has a teen-age daughter.

And she wrote about how the script for the volcanic break-up of television characters Tony and Carmela Soprano had been written in scores of American households.

Gary Dorsey finished third for a body of work in feature writing. His entry was anchored by a two-part series on postal worker Leroy Richmond (case 14), a victim of the anthrax attacks, and the story of the town that raised Trae Cohee, the first Maryland soldier to die in Afghanistan. His other stories were about the musical adventures of author Madison Smartt Bell and a local scientist who solved a 200-year-old mystery about the anatomy of the crocodile.

The awards are sponsored by the Press Club of Atlantic City.