The Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press, which seems to be an incubator for new ideas at Gannett, won APME's first Innovator of the Year award for its "culture of innovation." This is the paper that has mobile journalists armed with laptops, audio recorders and wireless Web connections out patrolling neighborhoods for "hyperlocal" news. The paper also earned a lot of buzz (on this blog and elsewhere) for its crowdsourced story on sewer problems.
I like the idea of both these things -- allowing community members to get involved with investigating a story and unleashing reporters from their desks. But, man, it seems Fort Myers is getting a lot of traction from one story a year ago and a lot of ribbon-cutting stories. (Have you heard of other crowdsourcing success stories? Know of any people who admit to being devoted readers of hyperlocal news?)
Am I being too cynical?
(Oh, the other finalists for the APME award: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle. The AJC was nominated for its newsroom overhaul. The D&C got the nod for its RocDocs, which gives online users access to data, maps and investigative reports assembled by the newspaper.