Al Nakkula Award for Police Reporting

Al NakkulaThe award, sponsored by the Journalism department at the College of Media, Communication and Information and the Denver Press Club, honors the late Al Nakkula, a 46-year veteran of the Rocky Mountain News whose tenacity made him a legendary police reporter.  

The award is for work produced by a reporter or reporting team in print and/or online platforms in the United States in 2016. Entries should take the form of a story or series about one topic and/or event. Sorry, this award is not for broadcast work.

The first-place prize is $2,000. The winner will be invited to speak to classes at the University of Colorado College of Media, Communication and Information and to accept the award at the Denver Press Club's Damon Runyon dinner on March 31, 2017. The second-place finisher will receive a certificate of merit. 

How to Enter

Entries will be accepted beginning Jan. 3, 2017 to midnight (Mountain time) on Feb. 12, 2017.

The entry fee is $85.

Enter now!

2016 Winners
The winners of the 2016 Al Nakkula Award for Police Reporting are Ken Armstrong of The Marshall Project and T. Christian Miller of ProPublica. They won for their story, "An Unbelievable Story of Rape," jointly published on Dec. 15, 2015. The story is a compelling narrative that details how dogged police work by investigators in Colorado captured a serial rapist and led to the exoneration of a Washington woman who had been wrongfully prosecuted for false reporting of a rape that actually happened. Read more »


Year Name(s) Story News Organization
2015 Brad Heath “Fugitives Next Door” USA TODAY
2014 Reporter Megan O’Matz and Database Editor John Maines “Cops, Cash, Cocaine” South Florida Sun Sentinel
2013 Ryan Gabrielson “Broken Shield” Center for Investigative Reporting’s California Watch
2012 Gina Barton “Both Sides of the Law” The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
2011 Cris Barrish   The News Journal
2010 Mark Puente   The Plain Dealer
2009 Karyn Spencer   Omaha World-Herald
2008 Jonathan Schuppe   The Newark Star-Ledger
2007 Robert Rogers   The Sun
2006 John Diedrich   Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Related Stories
2005 Amber Hunt Martin   Detroit Free Press
2004 Del Quentin Wilber   Baltimore Sun
2003 Stacy Finz   San Francisco Chronicle
2002 Stephanie Warsmith   Akron Beacon Journal
2001 Brigid O’Malley   Naples Daily News
2000 Tom Searls   Charleston Gazette
1999 Sean Gardiner   The Florida Times-Union.
1998 Mark Truby   The Huntington Herald-Dispatch
1997 Andy Furillo   The Sacramento Bee
1996 Pamela Hill   Northwest Arkansas Times
1995 Melvin Claxton   Virgin Islands Daily News
1994 William Hermann   The Arizona Republic
1993 J.D. Mullane   Bucks County Courier Times
1992 Scott Bowles   The Detroit News
1991 Diana K. Sugg   The Sacramento Bee