Reporting on problems with Medicaid, pandemic food benefits and other state issues facing lower-income Missourians earned The Missouri Independent the media award Thursday during Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s annual “For the Common Good Awards” luncheon in St. Louis.
The award, given for “significant contributions to promoting equal access to justice in our community” recognized the work of reporters Clara Bates and Rebecca Rivas and their stories on issues facing Legal Services clients, a news release stated.
Bates is a Report for America Corps member who has covered social services and poverty for The Independent since July 2022. Rivas is an original staff member of The Independent, and before its launch in 2020, she spent more than a decade reporting for the St. Louis American. Rivas covers criminal justice issues and has focused this year on the new legal marijuana industry.
In the program citation, Legal Services stated that The Independent earned the award for its coverage of issues that included problems with Medicaid, pandemic food benefits, SNAP benefits and homelessness, as well as spotlighting issues of access to justice.
“This annual event is a valued opportunity to show our deep appreciation for the volunteers and civic leaders who demonstrate exceptional dedication to furthering community engagement and foster networking and partnering on behalf of those who are in need of services that Legal Services provides,” said Dan Glazier, executive director and general counsel.
The media award is one of a dozen presented as part of the 42nd edition of the “For the Common Good” program.
Other recipients are:
- Lawrence J. Kettenbach, Jr., chair of the Board Facilities Committee — The Robert Walston Chubb Award for sustained commitment to Legal Services
- Enterprise Holdings, Inc. and Baker McKenzie — The Hon. Richard B. Teitelman Award for volunteer service
- Clair Antoine and the St. Louis Anti-Violence Project (STLAVP) — The Melton M. Lewis Equal Justice Award
- Orthodontic Centers of Missouri — The Melton M. Lewis Equal Justice Award
- St. Joseph Housing Initiative — The Eddie Mae Binion Community Service Award
- Julia Chaney-Faughn — The F. Wm. McCalpin Pro Bono Award
- Jeffery T. McPherson — The F. Wm. McCalpin Pro Bono Award
- Rose Tanner — The Hon. John R. Essner Young Lawyer Award
- Ebony Sheckles — The Hon. John R. Essner Young Lawyer Award
- National Health Law Program — The Gerald R. Ortbals Law Practice Award
- Mayor Gary Johnson —The Rory Ellinger Legislator Award