WILKES-BARRE — A Times Leader reporter who already has won an award this year for investigative reporting about an area attorney who double billed the county for services, has garnered another state award for the stories, as well as two first-place awards for other articles.
Terrie Morgan-Besecker and Bill O’Boyle won a total of four awards in the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors annual writing and photo contests.
Competing against similar newspapers with daily circulations between 30,001 and 75,000, Morgan-Besecker and O’Boyle captured two first-place awards and two second-place awards in three categories.
The entries were judged by editors at AP member newspapers in New York. The awards were announced Thursday.
“I’m very proud of the recognition The Times Leader received with these awards,” said Joseph Butkiewicz, vice president and executive editor of The Times Leader.
O’Boyle won a second-place award for a column he penned about Joseph “Doc” Mattioli, a dentist who founded and owned Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, and who died on Jan. 26, 2012. O’Boyle wrote of a 2010 encounter with Mattioli, in which the racetrack owner wanted to donate to the area’s Wyoming Monument Association to restore the monument after it was struck by lightning. Mattioli and his wife, Rose, ultimately donated $100,000 to complete the restoration.
Morgan-Besecker, a reporter for the past 24 years, won a first-place award for general news reporting for articles she wrote after reviewing hundreds of documents, including requests for reimbursement sought by Wilkes-Barre City Council members for travel-related expenses, meal allowances and other expenses.
She also won first and second place for investigative reporting for a piece on 18,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel unaccounted for from Wilkes-Barre city’s fuel tanks over a seven-month period, and another on an oversight of a special Luzerne County legal services fund that permitted an attorney to double bill the county dozens of times for travel to the county courthouse.
“With three awards, including two for investigative reporting, Terrie Morgan-Besecker clearly has done outstanding work uncovering the lack of oversight in both Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County,” said Butkiewicz. “Her reporting exemplifies the watchdog journalism that has been a part of The Times Leader for decades.”
Morgan-Besecker holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico. She resides in Hanover Township with her husband, Harry, and their daughter, Alison. She has won several awards during her journalism career, including a first-place award in the Keystone Press Awards this year for the attorney billing coverage, and a first place in “spot news” with fellow reporter Ed Lewis for an article about an October 2012 shootout in Wilkes-Barre.
“And Bill O’Boyle’s heartfelt column about the late entrepreneur Doc Mattioli was the culmination of several years of reporting about the dynamic and generous businessman and his wife,” Butkiewicz.
O’Boyle, a native of Plymouth now living in Plains Township, attended Wyoming Valley West High School and Wilkes College. He has worked in the newspaper business for more than 30 years. He worked for the Sunday Independent, Citizens’ Voice, Wyoming Valley Observer and other newspapers before joining The Times Leader in April 2007.
O’Boyle has won several awards throughout his career, including a second-place award in the Keystone Press Awards this year for a personality profile of a woman and her battle with cancer.