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Two Metro Times writers have been cited for journalistic excellence by Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc., a professional trade organization. News editor Curt Guyette and arts editor Lisa M. Collins were both named finalists in the annual Investigative Reporting Contest sponsored by IRE, a prestigious group that helps journalists improve their investigative skills.

IRE named one winner (from Denver’s Westword) and four finalists in the local-circulation weekly category, which garnered 39 entries. No other publication had multiple citations.

Guyette was cited for his January 2003 series titled “Prescription for profit,” which examined how two metro Detroit nonprofit hospitals spiraled into bankruptcy while the man who controlled them reaped millions of dollars through subsidiary for-profit organizations.

Collins was cited for “Dearth & Taxes,” her August 2003 expose of Detroit’s woeful property-tax collection system, which was failing to collect some $60 million annually due to disorganization and poor record-keeping. The story has been credited with helping to convince City of Detroit officials to do what all but one other municipality in Michigan have done for decades — allow the county to collect its property taxes. Collins, a staff writer at the time, has since been named Metro Times arts editor.

“It’s gratifying to see these talented journalists get these citations,” says Metro Times editor Jeremy Voas. “In an age of celebrity gossip and news sound bites, it seems that investigative reporting is becoming almost quaint. It’s costly, labor-intensive and sometimes risky, but it’s essential to informing the community. Our writers often spend months fighting to get documents, examining those documents and conducting interviews before writing complex but important stories like these. We don’t do it to win awards, but a pat on the back from a highly regarded organization such as IRE is nice all the same. To win two citations is acknowledgment of the remarkable work this staff is producing.”

Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com

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