Best Journalist

City Paper

This award has tended to go to the investigative reporters or the crime reporters doing the hard work of attempting to keep our politicians and police officers honest. But, after Justin Fenton’s induction into the Best of Baltimore Hall of Fame last year, it’s time to honor the feature writers who take the ordinary people, artists, schemers, dreamers, hacks, cranks, con men, and everyday heroes and turn their stories into small works of literature. And, for some of us, as Tom Wolfe had it half a century ago, that’s the real big game. Among Baltimore’s feature writers, Julie Scharper is unmatched. She’s the only one at The Sun who seems to understand the city’s art scene and over the last couple months she’s profiled Gaia, Lynn Parks, D. Watkins, Neil Feather, Reed Bmore, a bunch of rogue taxidermy artists, and many others, while also tackling more conceptual art-related topics such as the plans to turn an abandoned corridor into a graffiti park, the LED billboard along the rail line coming into Baltimore, and the art bus stop in Highlandtown. But she also writes movingly about civil rights struggles, a quirky velomobile, and the mind of a mule. Because, like all great journalists, Scharper isn’t only a great reporter, she’s a great writer.

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