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Washington correspondence. (2002 Sigma Delta Chi Awards).

Benjamin Grove

Las Vegas Sun

Benjamin Grove knows what makes a good Washington correspondent. It's not the coverage of national political debates. It's not following the politics of Congress or the White House.

For Grove, a good Washington correspondent asks questions that relate national news stories to the community he's covering. Grove is Washington correspondent for the Las Vegas Sun, and his "community" is the state of Nevada. And the biggest issue in Washington affecting Nevadans is the decision about what to do with Yucca Mountain.

Yucca Mountain is an area 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. For years, the government has been examining Yucca Mountain as a possible dumping ground for dangerous nuclear waste. Last year, a plan was approved by President George W. Bush that will begin storing such waste on the site by 2010.

"Nevadans are often skeptical about the federal government in general, and I try to be their advocate by asking the questions they would ask about this controversial federal project if they were here' said Grove.

Grove covered the story constantly as it unfolded in Washington, and his coverage examined the issue from all sides. His reported drawbacks to the government's plan, such as the dangers the storage site could introduce to the state. Grove also explained why the plan is considered important in Washington; for one story, he visited a nuclear power plant in Minnesota that would be forced to close if the Yucca Mountain storage area wasn't completed.

Roadblocks by the state had slowed process, but now with presidential approval, the plan will likely move forward.

"It's a classic feds vs. state showdown, with a sometimes bumbling agency (Energy Department) thrown in to make my job easier," said Grove.

Groves said he enjoyed following the story and is proud that he's been able to help educate readers of the Las Vegas Sun on this important issue. He also offered some advice to aspiring journalists:

"Be open to developing a special area of interest," he said. "No one grows up planning to be a nuclear waste junkie."

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Title Annotation:Benjamin Grove, Las Vegas Sun
Publication:The Quill
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:344
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