The Tuscaloosa Thread earned top honors in a national journalism competition for its 2022 reporting about DCH Regional Medical Center and a wrongful death lawsuit filed against them.

Earlier this year, one Thread report and a five-story series won first-place honors in the Alabama Media Professionals Communications Contest and qualified for entry in the National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest.

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Winners were announced in late June at the NFPW Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, where the Thread won first place for best News Story in the Online publication category and honorable mention for in-depth reporting. The award arrived in Tuscaloosa Monday.

The award-winning story was "Lawsuit Blames DCH for Death of Tuscaloosa Icon Bill Buchanan," our July 2022 account of the still-ongoing wrongful death lawsuit that Buchanan's widow Ava filed against the DCH Health System.

"This was a stunning account of how a hospital's incompetence led unnecessarily to a beloved man's death," contest judges wrote. "It didn't have to happen and the writer meticulously laid it out. Told objectively but passionately, it told the heartbreaking story of a crisis that did not need to lead to a death."

(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)
(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

Although we rarely boast about our traffic metrics, the Buchanan report has to date drawn more than 200,000 page views, the site's highest-ever readership.

The five-story series, which took a longer look at several issues and developments at DCH last year, won honorable mention in the NFPW contest.

"Since we founded the Thread three years ago, our moments of greatest pride have come from the opportunity to tell community stories like Bill and Ava's," said editor Stephen Dethrage, who also wrote the award-winning report. "We are grateful for our readers, the AMP and now the NFPW for recognizing our efforts to seek out the news beyond what is sent to our inbox."

Our next piece of exclusive, investigative journalism will be published Wednesday morning. Stay connected to the Thread -- and thank you for three years of readership and support.

If you have a Tuscaloosa-area story that needs to be heard, we have a small staff but would appreciate the opportunity to help see it told. Submit a tip here or reach out to

Top Stories from the Tuscaloosa Thread (8/7 - 8-14)

12 of the Top Stories published by the Tuscaloosa Thread during the week of August 7th, 2023.

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