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2014 Gavel Award Winners

Mario Sandoval Mario Sandoval
Joe Augustine Joe Augustine

Joe Augustine and Mario Sandoval are winners of the Texas Gavel Award in the Broadcast, Non-Metro category for “Trapped,” which highlights delays in immigration courts and the effects of the government’s decision to reprioritize cases.

Augustine spent three years covering immigration and border issues while reporting at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley. Originally from Kenosha, Wisconsin, he graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa in 2009. Augustine worked as a political and general assignment reporter in Des Moines, Iowa, before moving to South Texas in 2011. He is currently a reporter at KSTP in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Sandoval started his career as a photojournalist in Denver, Colorado, in 2005 with Univision Channel 50. In 2010, he relocated to South Texas and worked for Univision Channel 48, covering border issues and violence in Mexico. In 2011, he started working for KRGV, where he continues to work as a photojournalist and special projects editor. 

The video for “Trapped” is currently unavailable. Read the story here.

KLRU-TV and Villita Media
“Admissions on Trial”
Lynn BoswellLynn Boswell

Lynn Boswell won the Texas Gavel Award in the Broadcast, Major Metro category for “Admissions on Trial: Seven Decades of Race and Higher Education,” an in-depth look at how colleges and universities decide which students to admit and reject and the courts’ role in answering whether race has a place in the decision. Boswell is an independent documentary filmmaker with a long career in broadcast journalism. Her company, Villita Media, is based in Austin. She began her work as a local news producer, then moved to New York to produce long-form projects for NBC News. In eight years there, she covered many law-related stories as well as major breaking news events including the attacks on 9/11, the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and the Oklahoma City bombings. After returning to Austin, she spent nine seasons as the series producer of KLRU-TV’s Texas Monthly Talks and Overheard with Evan Smith. Her independent projects include work for museums and the creation of a collection of historic images for a large hotel. She also volunteers as a mentor to high school students for PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs project. Her work has won many awards, including a News & Documentary Emmy nomination for Best Historical Program, a Sigma Delta Chi Award, and multiple ABA Gavel Awards and Lone Star Emmys.

Watch “Admissions on Trial

The Texas Tribune
“Trouble in Mind”
Lynn BoswellBrandi Grissom

Brandi Grissom won the Texas Gavel Award in the Online category for “Trouble in Mind,” a six-part series examining the intersections of the Texas mental health and criminal justice systems and the developing jurisprudence around brain science. Grissom is a founding member of The Texas Tribune staff and worked most recently as managing editor, where she led the Tribune’s coverage of criminal justice issues. Her many awards include a 2013 Texas Gavel Award for “Errors in Judgment,” a series on prosecutorial errors and their role in wrongful criminal convictions. In August 2014, the Los Angeles Times announced Grissom would be joining its staff as enterprise editor.

Read “Trouble in Mind

Dallas Observer
"Burning Injustice"

Brantley HargroveBrantley Hargrove

Brantley Hargrove won the Texas Gavel Award in the Print, Major Metro category for “Burning Injustice,” a story about a woman’s fight to clear her name after a disputed murder conviction and the state’s efforts to deal with arson convictions involving “junk science.” Hargrove is a freelance journalist in Dallas who has written for D Magazine, Texas Monthly, and The New York Times. He is currently working on a book, “THE STORM,” for Simon & Schuster.

Read “Burning Injustice

Corpus Christi Caller-Times
"Death of Innocence"

Michelle Villarreal LeschperMichelle Villarreal

Michelle Villarreal Leschper won in the Print, Non-Metro category for “Death of Innocence,” which highlights the difficulties involving the release of information to the public and media in crimes involving juveniles and gag orders, specifically a case involving the killing of an 88-year-old woman by a pair of teenagers. The Texas Associated Press Managing Editors recently honored Villarreal Leschper in its 2014 excellence in craft contest, including first place in Community Service and Team Effort in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times’ yearlong Cost of Diabetes initiative, and second place in the Freedom of Information category for her work with the juvenile case. A Corpus Christi native and former court reporter for the Caller-Times, she now works as a public information officer and spokeswoman for the city. She has a master’s degree in English with a focus on Rhetoric and Composition, and Borderlands from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Houston.

Read “Death of Innocence

News coverage

2014 Texas Gavel Awards winners announced, July 23, 2014, Houston Chronicle

Former Caller-Times reporter receives Texas Gavel Award, July 23, 2014, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

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