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Phoenix reporting lauded in Columbia Journalism Review

The Portland Phoenix's seven-years-and-counting series by Lance Tapley on torture in Maine's prison, most especially including conditions in solitary confinement, has gotten national recognition in an article that's part of the Columbia Journalism Review's most recent cover package on "race, class, and the media."

The whole package is well worth a read, including pieces on improving coverage in an America that has changed well beyond what the mainstream media represents, and using data to find crime - and prosecution - trends. The specific article talking about the Phoenix's series is by James Ridgeway, a longtime reporter who has spent most of the past three years covering prisons. He is also co-founder of SolitaryWatch, which specifically covers solitary confinement around the US. (Its tagline is "news from a nation in lockdown.")

The piece holds up the Phoenix as one of a handful of publications that have persevered at prison reporting, even in the face of official resistance - which is common, and often strong.

We are, as you might expect, very proud of our work and of Lance Tapley's dedication to, and persistence at, shining lights into these terribly dark places - oft-hidden wings of buildings that are themselves frequently placed out of the way and off-limits to the public.

Ridgeway's piece on covering solitary confinement - and an accompanying piece by Beth Schwartzapfel on prison coverage generally - offers a great deal of national context about the challenges faced by those who seek truth in those places where government power is exercised most directly, and most severely. We are honored to be among those recognized in this national forum.

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