Niagara Gazette — As the hometown newspaper, the Niagara Gazette takes its share of shots from critics in the community.
From time to time, our staff reminds everyone that this newspaper is still capable of doing some pretty good work.
A couple of years ago, I couldn't have been more proud to learn that our own Nick Mattera (now living in Las Vegas), was named rookie-of-the-year reporter by the New York State Associated Press.
This year, I'm equally proud to tell everyone that the Niagara Gazette has earned two more top AP prizes — one for news coverage and another for photography.
Reporter Rick Pfeiffer earned a first place award in the Continuing Coverage category for his work on the inner workings of the SPCA of Niagara.
While he's not often credited in local media circles, Rick wrote the first two stories alluding to potential trouble inside the local SPCA. It wasn't long before other media outlets started to pick up on the story that eventually led to sweeping changes inside the organization following a scathing review of internal operations by the Erie County SPCA.
Today, there's a new director and a new board running the Lockport Road animal shelter.
The organization is moving in a different, and hopefully better, direction.
There's no doubt, Rick's work played a role in the changes.
He also showed a good deal of dedication on this one.
Rick reported on and wrote those first two stories on the SPCA of Niagara on the weekend leading into New Year's Day. He turned some strong tips into a pair of strong stories and did so when he should have been enjoying some time off.
He did a good job overall of sticking with the various twists and turns of the story as it continued through much of the first part of this year.