Best Sun-Sentinel Writers Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2003 - Sally Kestin and Megan O´Matz
The category this year would better be titled Best Reporters. Kestin and O´Matz do kids better than anybody in the country. The Sentinel´s finest story this year came on August 11, when Kestin and O´Matz, along with Diana Marrero, located nine kids whom the state Department of Children and Families couldn´t find. One of the families was listed in the phone book. Just three days after the story was published, DCF chief Kathleen Kearney resigned in disgrace. (There was, of course, the little matter of Rilya Wilson, who vanished long ago, to give the story zing.) Then, in November, the Sentinel filed a lawsuit that eventually forced the state to release a list of missing kids. And in January, despite DCF stonewalling, our top-rated pair of journalists learned the agency wasn´t following its own rules about quickly notifying cops when kids disappeared. The pair´s dogged street reporting and political savvy, as well as their ability to win support from their bosses, deserves praise. Let´s hope they don´t run off any time soon.