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Appalachia coverage earns AP journalist Livingston Award

, by Lauren Easton

AP reporter Claire Galofaro received the Livingston Award for Local Reporting from the University of Michigan on Tuesday, in recognition of her outstanding work documenting economic despair in Appalachia.

AP reporter Claire Galofaro, left, is presented with the Livingston Award for Local Reporting by Maria Elena Salinas of Univision News. (AP Photo)

The Livingston Awards for Young Journalists honor the best reporting and storytelling in any medium by journalists under the age of 35.

Galofaro was awarded a $10,000 prize at a luncheon in New York for the series “Surviving Appalachia.”

Her stories examined the rise of Donald Trump, described the effects of the heroin epidemic on a small West Virginia city and detailed the plight of hundreds of families entangled in a disability fraud scheme.

Galofaro’s work was described as “a devastating portrait of a rural landscape on the brink of extinction.”

Billy Prater, 27, adjusts a Donald Trump sign on his fence in Beech Creek, West Virginia, April 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Claire Galofaro)

“The lesson I learned most vividly from reporting these stories is that a generally-improving American economy means nothing to people who look out their window and see only devastation and decay,” Galofaro said. “There is a consequence of forsaking these blue collar places.”

Galofaro, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of three Livingston Award winners. Brooke Jarvis of The California Sunday Magazine received top honors for national reporting and Ben Taub of The New Yorker won for international reporting. The late Gwen Ifill was honored with the Richard M. Clurman Award for on-the-job mentoring.

The finalists were announced in May. More information on the winners can be found here.

The AP news story is available here.