Best Palm Beach Post Writer (2005)
Many old-timers in the newspaper business will some day find themselves in the back corner of the features department typing up TV listings. But in the cutthroat world of newspapering, Mary McLachlin is much more than a survivor. She spent 17 years as the Palm Beach Post's number-one reporter before retiring in February. Since the paper started keeping its articles in an electronic library in December 1994, McLachlin has written 938 articles, and of those, about a third landed on page 1A. Even as she prepared to pack it up, she covered hurricanes, Scripps, and Rush Limbaugh's drug case and even penned a dogged series of articles exposing health problems at the county jail. "She has been the go-to person in our newsroom," Post Editor John Bartosek says. McLachlin had a natural attention to detail, Bartosek says, often describing not just the facts but the way people spoke, dressed, walked, and otherwise were. In one of her last articles, McLachlin landed a scoop on a story that exposed the half-million-dollar buyout of a shamed blood bank official. It was a nice crowning to a class career.