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Home > Publications > Quill > Winner: Bob Dyer, Akron Beacon Journal


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Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Winner: Bob Dyer, Akron Beacon Journal

Jim Poyser

Hundreds of local schoolkids apparently weren’t paying attention when their teachers were talking about the Fifth Amendment.

That would be the one about self-incrimination.

Why else would so many area teens post their photos on the Internet — and sometimes their full names — alongside evidence of illegal activity and/or incredible vulgarity?

No local school system is immune, public or private.

How do we know this? Because these freewheeling kids routinely identify their schools.

And their friends.

And their families.

And their activities.

In fact, they supply enough personal information that any perv on the planet could locate them in five minutes.

If you’re a parent who has never prowled around on , you’re in for a shock.

“Good columnists break news. The best ones sometimes even make news. Dyer did both in 2007, and combined those attributes with consistently compelling and persuasive writing,” said Akron Beacon Journal Managing Editor Doug Oplinger.

Judges agreed. “Dyer does extensive research and reporting in preparation of his columns. He also writes about things that impact many readers, so his columns bring results. The MySpace column likely rattled some young people and their parents.

“The stalker column had to concern many readers, and prompted new legislation in Ohio.

“The two columns involving DWI showed a well-intentioned, well-funded sobriety check didn’t do what it was supposed to do, and repeat DWI offenders weren’t being kept off the road.”

Dyer said, “The success of these columns reinforced my belief that the best journalism comes from the heart. I was emotionally wrapped up in these topics, which gave the writing an energy and passion it otherwise would not have had. But this experience also has reminded me that you can’t be a good writer without being a good reporter.

“For a journalist, moving his community in a better direction is as good as it gets.”

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