Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Deseret News journalist Lois Collins is a finalist for the prestigious Batten Medal.

SALT LAKE CITY — A veteran Deseret News journalist was a finalist for the prestigious Batten Medal, the highest honor given by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Lois M. Collins, who has written for the newspaper for 30 years, was among three finalists for the $2,500 prize, which went to Boston Globe reporter Kevin Cullen, the ASNE announced Wednesday. The other finalist was Michael Phillips of the Wall Street Journal.

Collins was recognized for a portfolio of powerful storytelling about families and individuals coping with extraordinary challenges.

The Batten Medal is given annually by the ASNE in honor of the late reporter, editor and newspaper executive James K. Batten. The medal is intended to celebrate the journalistic values Batten stood for — compassion, courage, humanity and a deep concern for the underdog.

"Collins' strong showing in this prestigious national competition demonstrates the increasing influence of the Deseret News," said editor Paul Edwards. "Our investment in rigorous journalism that matters to families is producing meticulously accurate and compelling narratives that aren't being reported in other outlets. Dedicated reporters like Lois Collins are helping the Deseret News to guide the national coverage of the family in the way the Washington Post or Politico guide national coverage of politics."

Collins submitted 10 stories published in the past three years that showed how individuals coping with homelessness, drug addiction, disabilities, death or just raising a family faced their fears and despondency, and in many cases overcame their challenges.

"I tell these stories because I believe we have a moral imperative to give a voice to the voiceless," Collins said. "I also like people and love to hear their stories."

Collins has won multiple national honors in her career, most notably a pair of Sigma Delta Chi first-place feature writing awards in 2007 and 2008 from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Here are some of the stories Collins submitted for the Batten Medal:

A boy, once lost to drugs, is reclaiming his life

The forgotten: Reaching out during the holiday season — and throughout the year — gives life meaning

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