April 4, 2001 — Melvin Claxton, the reporter who led the Virgin Islands Daily News to a Pulitzer Prize in 1995, has continued his award-winning streak with a string of prizes for stories on widespread deficiencies in the Detroit Fire Department.
Claxton, a senior investigative reporter with the Detroit News, this week won the prestigious Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for a four-part series that revealed mismanagement and negligence by Fire Department leaders and city officials that jeopardized public safety and fire crews.
The November 2000 series by Claxton and reporter Charles Hurt "put pressure on public officials to increase funding," judges for Columbia-Mo.-based IRE said. "The presentation was clear and the writing was precise."
The IRE award is the series' fourth national prize. It won the award for public service reporting from the Scripps Howard Foundation, placed third in investigative reporting in the 67th annual National Headliner Awards competition, and won an International Angel Award from Excellence in Media.
After leaving the Daily News in 1997, Claxton worked as a national investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He left the Tribune in 1998 to become senior investigative reporter for the Detroit News, a Gannett newspaper. Gannett owned the Virgin Islands Daily News until December 1997 when it sold the paper to St. Croix businessman Jeffrey Prosser.
Since joining the Detroit News, Claxton has won several national awards. His 1999 series on the abuses in a $1.5 billion school-construction project won the Associated Press Managing Editors freedom of information award, a Unity in the Media award for investigative reporting and an Education Writers Association award. The series was also a finalist for the Associated Press Managing Editors public service award.
Last year, Claxton was one of four finalists for Michigan journalist of the year. His series also took top honors in two categories of the Michigan Associated Press awards, winning best overall story and best public service effort.
Claxton has been a member of the Virgin Islands Source publications' advisory board since the Source began publishing online in January 1999.
A native of Antigua, Claxton is a graduate of the University of the Virgin Islands. His reporting for the Virgin Islands Daily News during the 1980s and '90s earned the newspaper scores of national prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and two APME public service awards.

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