Herald wins open-access awards for Reardon coverage

The Daily Herald and three members of its news staff have been honored with Key Awards by the Washington Coalition for Open Government for reporting that led to the resignation of Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon in 2013.

The long-running coverage was the work of reporters Scott North and Noah Haglund and City Editor Robert Frank. The awards, presented Sept. 5 in the Herald newsroom, recognize individuals or organizations that have made notable contributions to open government.

The Herald’s reporting “demonstrates the power and the necessity of open access to public records,” said WCOG President Toby Nixon. “The newspaper overcame a number of significant obstacles to get at the truth.”

The Herald team revealed how two key Reardon aides used fictitious identities and created fake companies and online personas to attack political opponents. Among other things, the aides orchestrated a campaign to bombard public officials with records requests while hiding their official positions with the Reardon administration.

Reardon resigned several days after the Herald revealed the aides’ activities. One of the aides, Kevin Hulten, was sentenced in July in Skagit County for tampering with evidence in a criminal investigation related to the scandal.

After Reardon’s depature, The Herald continued pushing for county phone and computer records that Hulten had hidden or attempted to destroy. It ultimately received 40 gigabytes of previously undisclosed computer files.

“This kind of journalism is the most important work we do,” said Neal Pattison, Herald executive editor. “When public officeholders abuse their position and their powers, someone needs to hold them accountable.”

WCOG (www.washingtoncog.org) was founded in 2002 by a group of individuals representing organizations dedicated to the principles of strengthening the state’s open government laws and protecting the public’s access to government at all levels. WCOG membership is open to the public.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Car crashes into Everett apartment, displacing residents

No one was injured in the crash late Friday, according to Everett police.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Most Read