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Boston Globe Spotlight member Todd Wallack wins Scripps Howard award

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/File 2015
Todd Wallack.

Reporter Todd Wallack, a member of The Boston Globe Spotlight team, has won a Scripps Howard award for exceptional journalism, the foundation announced on Tuesday.

Wallack was named the winner of the Edward Willis Scripps Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment and will receive $10,000 for his work on public records law in Massachusetts, according to the foundation.

“I was definitely surprised and am incredibly gratified,” Wallack said. “Being a finalist in this contest is a really great accomplishment. Sometimes it’s just luck whether you win or are a finalist because it’s all really wonderful work. It’s a testament to the good quality work at the Globe.”

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Globe editor Brian McGrory said, “Todd Wallack simply refused to accept the woeful public record laws in this state. Time and again, he smartly and bravely exposed the utter absurdity of state and local officials blatantly refusing to be more open with the public they are charged to serve.”

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Spotlight team members Jenn Abelson, Jonathan Saltzman, Liz Kowalczyk, and editor Scott Allen were finalists for investigative reporting for their piece on double booking in surgery operations.

Former columnist Farah Stockman was a finalist for her work, and photographer Jessica Rinaldi was also recognized as a finalist for her portfolio that included images of heroin addiction in Boston and poverty in rural Maine.

Wallack, who came to the Globe in 2007, said he often uses public records in his reporting, but it has been more difficult to obtain information in Massachusetts.

Reporting on the weakness of the public records law has helped create a “real awareness.”

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“They’re like swiss cheese. There’s just so many holes in them that they aren’t very effective,” he said of the regulations. “I think the stories have helped change the debate and helped prompt the Legislature and others to take a fresh look at overhauling the law for the first time in more than four decades.”

Mina Corpuz can be reached at mina.corpuz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @mlcorpuz.