Denver Post Reporter Wins 2012 Hovey-Harkness Award for Public Service Journalism

Chris Osher has earned a journalism award, presented by Governing, for his investigative series of Colorado's poorly-managed state enterprise zone program that sparked proposed legislative change.
by | February 1, 2012

This year's winner of the ninth annual Hal Hovey-Peter Harkness Award, presented by Governing for outstanding coverage of state and local government, is Chris Osher, reporter for The Denver Post.

Osher has earned the award for his three-part investigative series of Colorado's poorly-managed state enterprise zone program, which was costing the state more than $60 million a year. Osher's reporting, which he says was hindered by a lack of government transparency, prompted state lawmakers to push for legislation to overhaul the program.

In several articles, which Governing founder Peter Harkness called "a tale of what can happen ... if nobody is watching," Osher revealed that companies receiving tax breaks meant to spur economic development had been laying people off. All in all, $75 million in tax credits led to the creation of only 564 jobs.

Osher accepted the award Wednesday at Governing's Outlook in the States and Localities conference in Washington, D.C. He had a piece of advice for the room of public officials and public-sector professionals: Make it easy for reporters to gather information. "Don't make us fight for every scrappy bit of information."

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