Natick, Mass. — Claire Bessette received a Publick Occurrences Award Thursday from the New England Newspaper & Press Association for her investigation of a Norwich landlord.
The award, given annually, was established in 1990 to recognize individual and team merit at New England newspapers to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of Publick Occurrences, the first newspaper published in America.
Bessette's investigation showed that for the last three years, Zane Megos had taken deposits from people for rental units in condemned buildings. They often took their complaints to police, small claims court, the Better Business Bureau and the state attorney general but were unable to get their money back.
After the publication of Bessette's two-day series on May 6 and 7, 2012, the state Department of Consumer Protection and the Internal Revenue Service opened investigations into Megos, and Megos was arrested in June.
The judges lauded Bessette for her "dogged digging" and cited the series for its "positive results."
The Day was also recognized as a distinguished newspaper in the weekday category for newspapers under 35,000 circulation.
The awards were presented at the organization's fall conference in Natick, Mass.