Kerrie Martin, right, widow of former American Press journalist Shawn Martin, accepts the Hector San Miguel Award on behalf of her late husband during the third annual luncheon Thursday at L’Auberge. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, December 06, 2012 11:45 PM
Former American Press reporter Shawn Martin was honored Thursday as the third recipient of the Hector San Miguel Memorial Fund Award for his dedication to investigative journalism.
The award honors San Miguel, a longtime American Press reporter and editor who died in 2009 of complications from leukemia.
Martin, who worked at the Press for almost 20 years, died Feb. 15. He was 48. His wife, Kerrie, accepted the award.
Martin spent many years as the newspaper’s Beauregard Parish bureau chief in DeRidder and was a photographer at the Lake Charles office.
Former American Press editor Linda Young said Martin had “incredible courage” and brought the newspaper “national acclaim.” She said Martin shared San Miguel’s “relentless pursuit of the truth.”
Young spoke about Martin uncovering how the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana paid millions of dollars to Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public relations consultant Michael Scanlon. In one story, Martin reported what the tribe called “questionable lobbying practices on behalf of Native American tribes.”
Longtime American Press Sports Editor Scooter Hobbs was the event’s guest speaker. Hobbs replaced author Jeff Pearlman, who could not attend the ceremony because of a family emergency.
Hobbs spoke about when he and San Miguel went to Atlanta to cover the SEC Championship football game between LSU and Tennessee. He joked that San Miguel interviewed so many LSU fans that some “were taking off their LSU shirts” to avoid being interviewed by him.
“I think LSU sold 24,000 tickets to that game,” Hobbs said. “Hector interviewed 22,000.”
Hobbs said San Miguel, who knew little about sports, also broke the rule of not cheering for a team while working in the press box.
Hobbs said he believes the Barbe High School football team has “a good chance” in Saturday’s Class 5A state championship game against Archbishop Rummel in New Orleans. It’s the Bucs’ first title game appearance in more than 30 years.
“Barbe’s got a great kicker, so I’m giving them the edge,” Hobbs said.
Past recipients of the Hector San Miguel award are Jim Beam, retired editor of the American Press, and Vincent Lupo, longtime American Press courthouse reporter.
The luncheon was held at L’Auberge.