The Real Estate section was awarded for a May 1, 2019, special section, edited by Kathy Orton, focusing on selling a home.
Here’s what the judges, a panel from Northwestern University’s Medill journalism school, said: “The service stories in the Post’s real estate section — devoted solely to selling a house in this issue — are first rate. In fact, reading them could save readers tens of thousands of dollars. This section offered tips about what not to do when selling a home and a charticle on which home improvements to spring for and which ones to skip. (Hint: spring for the new garage door.) The Post section exemplifies the best in giving readers practical advice.”
Freelancer Michele Lerner was recognized for two stories: a second-place award in the best interior design story category and an honorable mention in the best architecture story category.
“In this richly reported piece, Lerner shows the reader why people want to bring more stone and wood into their homes,” the judges said. “She finds a perfect couple to illustrate the theme of her story. They lie by a nature trail, so they wanted to add natural stone to the shower. Lerner also tucks in service, noting that it’s good to be wary of wood in damp places like bathrooms and that it’s good to think about the heavier weight and higher expense of stone.”
“Rather than downsize dramatically, from a 3,500-square-foot house to a condo, the couple in the lede move into a community of 10 new, 1,490-square-foot homes in suburban Washington, D.C.,” the judges said. “For her in-depth look at the ‘pocket neighborhood’ concept, Lerner interviews residents, architects and developers about the benefits and the hurdles (including zoning ordinances). In this thoroughly reported story, she clearly explains this alternative to traditional houses and traditional condos.”
“This is a thorough and thoughtful story based on data showing that Black homeownership in the U.S. had declined (in 2017) to levels not seen since the passage of the Fair Housing Act,” the judges said. “McMullen finds a black couple that is impacted and explains in clearly written prose how a rollback of government policies is partly to blame.”
“This is a thoroughly reported reader-service story that benefits from Clemence’s easy writing style and real people examples,” the judges said. “Who knew that some countries require a 30% down payment on a property, or that a major renovation in Mexico could come as cheap as a few thousand dollars? Clemence explores the pros and cons while consulting legal and tax experts along the way.”