Civil Beat took home the evening’s top award Friday at the annual Society of Professional Journalist’s Hawaii Chapter awards dinner, taking first in Public Service Reporting.

The award went to Nick Grube and Patti Epler for “In the Name of the Law,” a five-part series on the lack of transparency in misconduct cases involving the Honolulu Police Department.

The series had an almost immediate impact: Last February, a judge ruled in favor of releasing police misconduct information. And earlier this month, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill that will require police chiefs in Hawaii to tell the Legislature how many officers were suspended or fired in a given year and the status of any disciplinary action.

For the fourth year in a row, Civil Beat was also named the Best Overall News Site in Hawaii.

A pile of SPJ awards that Civil Beat won for journalism commited in 2013

A pile of SPJ awards that went to Civil Beat, snapped during the ceremony on Friday.

Mike Webb/Civil Beat

Civil Beat won five first place awards in all and was recognized as a finalist nine times in SPJ’s 2013 Excellence in Journalism Awards. SPJ names one first place winner and up to two finalists without rank in each category.

The awards were for work done in 2013.

In awarding the Best Overall News Site prize, the judges wrote, “It’s hard to deny CB. Such great, deep reporting nicely presented.”

Its three other first place awards included:

Investigative reporting: “Living Hawaii: Why Is the Price of Paradise so High?” by Kery Murakami, Nathan Eagle and Adrienne LaFrance.

Online feature reporting: “Waikiki’s Venetian Nightmare: Natural Disasters in Paradise?” by Sophie Cocke.

Best multi-media presentation: “Ala Wai Canal: Hawaii’s Biggest Mistake?” by Sophie Cocke.

Other first-place finishers in the SPJ’s All Media Category included:

In best reporting using social media, Chloe Fox of Huffington Post Hawaii for “Lucky We Live in Hawaii: What Hawaii Can Teach Us About Seizing The Day.”

In government reporting, Keoki Kerr of Hawaii News Now for “Hawaii Prison Problems.”

In breaking news reporting, Melissa Tanji, Eileen Chao, Chris Sugidono and Lila Fujimoto of the Maui News for “Tropical Storm Flossie.”

In health reporting, David Thompson, Honolulu Magazine, for “The Doctor is Out.”

In sports reporting, David Thompson, Lance Tominaga and Dave Choo of Honolulu Magazine for “Go Bows — Will We Ever Win Again?”

In arts/entertainment writing, Maureen O’Connell of Hawaii Magazine for “Na Kumu.”

In editorial opinion, Walter Chihara of Lahaina News for “After tough start, Rosenthal enters golden chapter of his life.”

In editorial cartoons, Jon Murakami of Hawaii Business for “Favorite Perks.”

In informational graphics, Kristin Lipman, Hawaii Business, for “Quality of Life.”

In news photography/videography, Matthew Thayer of Maui News, “Heavy rains ran like rivers.”

In feature photography/videograpy, Grant Kaye of Hawaii Magazine for “One Last Look: Volcano.”

In sports photography/videography, Kunio Hayashi, Sonny Ganaden, Elyse Butler, Leigh Morrison and Samuel Lee of Hana Hou! for “Va’a Va’a Va’a Voom!”

In photo/video essay, Johann Meya, Janelle Kalawe and Mary Alice Ka‘iulani Milham of Mana Magazine for “Women of the Water.”

In headline writing, Kunio Hayashi, Sonny Ganaden, Elyse Butler, Leigh Morrison and Samuel Lee of Hana Hou! for “Va’a Va’a Va’a Voom!”

In best special section, Steve Petranik, Stacy Yuen, Beverly Creamer and Kristin Lipman of Hawaii Business for “Quality of Life.”

In Column Writing/Blog News, Teresa Dawson of Environment Hawaii for “Board Talk.”

In Column Writing/Blog Features or Sports, Kathy Collins of Maui News for  “Sharing Manao.”

Civil Beat was also named a finalist in nine categories:

Government reporting: “Hawaii’s Public Records: High Fees Are Keeping Public Information Secret,” by Nathan Eagle.

Editorial cartoon: “I Feel So Much Safer Now,” by John Pritchett.

News photography: “Same Sex Marriage,” by PF Bentley.

Feature photography: “Leaning Hilo — Defending Hawaii,” by PF Bentley.

Online news reporting: “Fo Teach Pidgin o Not to Teach Pidgin — Das da Question,” by Alia Wong.

Online feature reporting: “Making Waves: Tommy Russo is ‘Fighting for Change’ on Maui,” by Nathan Eagle.

Online feature reporting: “Bones in Purgatory: 660 Skeletal Remains Languishing in Church Basement,” by Sophie Cocke.

Column writing: Patti Epler.

Best multimedia presentation: “In the Name of the Law,” by Civil Beat staff.

The awards were judged by the SPJ’s Colorado chapter.

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