Poaching Ring Coverage Leads To Award For Centralia Reporter

A Southwest Washington outdoor reporter has been honored for his exhaustive coverage of a regional poaching ring.

Jordan Nailon of Lewis County’s The Daily Chronicle was named the winner of the 2018 Dolly Connelly Award For Excellence In Environmental Journalism.


“The Chronicle’s meticulous investigation of one of Washington’s largest poaching rings reflects public service journalism at its best,” said contest judge Peter Baker, according to the paper. “It is a sweeping, hard-nosed series, powerful and infuriating. Like a prosecutor, journalist Jordan Nailon knits together a series that is persuasive and gut-wrenching.”

Since first being uncovered in early 2017, hundreds of illegal hunting charges have been filed in Washington and Oregon against around a dozen men and women primarily from the Kelso, Longview and Woodland areas.

Members of the loose-knit group are accused of wrongfully pursuing bears and bobcats with dogs and killing them, and shooting large numbers of deer on winter range, among other alleged crimes.

Some of the actions occurred in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest of eastern Lewis County and while most of the rest of the Northwest’s outdoor and environmental reporting corps have filed occasional stories on the cases, only The Daily News of Longview has come anywhere close to matching what contest judge David McCumber termed Nailon’s “comprehensive as hell” output.

(See a list of the stories at lower left).

The award is given out annually by the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association and “recognizes initiative, thoroughness and lucid writing about environmental issues and controversies in the Pacific Northwest.”

It is named after the late mother of Seattle PI reporter Joel Connelly. According to the Chronicle, he was gobsmacked “at the size and sophistication of the ring that operated in Western Washington. This was needed reporting, very well done …”

Nailon’s work beat out entries from 14 others from newspapers along the I-5 corridor and as far afield as Bozeman, Klamath Falls and Lewiston.

He will be officially presented with his award this fall. He also will receive $500.

In addition to outdoors, he covers prep sports.

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