Nick Grube, Civil Beat’s full-time Washington, D.C., correspondent, has been named the winner of the 2019 David Lynch Memorial Award for regional reporting on Congress.

The award, for daily reporting on how actions in Congress touch the local community, carries a $1,500 prize and recognition at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s annual dinner, according to a press release announcing the winner. The prize honors the memory of David Lynch, who covered Congress for local newspapers from New England to Alaska.

The judges particularly liked a story, published in September, that chronicled Grube’s trek to the remote Washington state village of Stehekin in search of one of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s most highly paid campaign vendors.

The Supreme Court Washington DC wide Nick Grube1.
Nick Grube has been Civil Beat’s full-time Washington, D.C., correspondent since March 2018. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

His investigation of the Hawaii Democrat’s links to the mysterious consultant was “exactly what a news story should be,” the judges said in the news release. “It tells you something really interesting that you didn’t know. For a regional reporter to break this story about a central figure in the state delegation who is also running for president – wow!’’

Grube’s stories in 2019 ranged from an in-depth look at earmarks to an ongoing series following the return of U.S. Rep. Ed Case to Congress 10 years after he had left the federal office.

Grube is the only full-time Hawaii reporter in the nation’s capital and his work demonstrates why regional reporters are so important. Yet the number of reporters assigned to D.C. bureaus by their hometown news organizations has been dwindling, especially in the face of the coronavirus which is decimating media budgets and leading to widespread layoffs and cutbacks.

The Washington Press Club Foundation’s president, Deirdre Walsh of National Public Radio, said in a statement the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the value of regional reporting, “as Americans look to trusted sources for what their local leaders and congressional representatives are doing to respond.”

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