Best Journalist: Mark Puente

Puente was a truck driver for 14 years (one million accident-free miles, he says) before he went to college in 2000 and became a reporter in 2005. He reported in Cleveland before moving to Tampa Bay, and then to Baltimore. He was only on The Baltimore’s Sun staff about half a year before his series “Undue Force” last fall woke up the city to the routine police misconduct and brutality that many people in its poor communities have known for generations. That neither the police department nor anyone at City Hall kept track of the lawsuits and settlements resulting from police misconduct was almost as shocking as the beatings themselves. Puente’s secret? He had three kids by age 19 and was raised blue collar, he says in his LinkedIn profile, which “has given me an edge over many journalists.”

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