The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Providence (R.I.) Journal are co-winners of the Associated Press Managing Editors’ Online Convergence Award for the best story told both in print and online by a large newspaper.
The association of newspaper and online editors also announced Monday that The Roanoke (Va.) Times won in the midsize division, and the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal among small newspapers.
The awards recognize combinations that exhibit the best attributes of both print and online journalism. Entries that complemented and enhanced one another, linking strong journalism with a creative, innovative Web approach, earned the highest marks. The contest covered work from June 1, 2004, to June 30, 2005.
The winners were selected from among 43 entries, the highest number received in four years of the competition. The awards will be presented during the APME annual conference Oct. 26-29 in San Jose, Calif.
Contest chairwoman Laura Sellers, online director of East Oregonian Publishing Co., said the judges were impressed with the depth of the competition. “These were all examples of excellence, and the ultimate winners were the readers,” she said. “The variety of mediums and the excellence of the messages made this year’s batch challenging to judge. Other newspapers interested in reaching both print and online readers in riveting, sophisticated ways can learn from these examples.”
In the 100,000 and above circulation category, Atlanta and Providence were co-winners.
Atlanta’s entry covered a March 11 courthouse shooting in which a judge, court reporter, and deputy sheriff were shot and killed. Two newspaper staffers had been carjacked and the suspect was still at large as the newspaper and its Web site, ajc.com, got on the story.
As part of its online coverage, the paper created guest books for the victims, and within days, each had more than 100 pages of entries. The judges said this was “impressive multimedia under pressure. AJC maintained the immediacy of online reporting without letting up on the journalism, ending up with a site beyond comprehensive. The big story was there, as well the individuals.”
Providence won with a seven-part series, “Saving Block Island: How Rob Lewis led the way.” It told one man’s years of effort to rescue an island, described as one of the 10 last great places, from overdevelopment. Multimedia narratives created a showcase for each day of the series, allowing the reporter to tell an audio version of his story.
“The print and online versions each offered a complete, while completely different, experience,” the judges said. “The print version was as impressive in its layout as in its reporting, and the online site design and Web-oriented elements were a perfect match with the topic. We had to be restrained from immediately moving there.”
In the 40,000 to 100,000 category, Roanoke and its online unit, roanoke.com, won for “An Unlikely Refuge,” focusing on an apartment complex it called “the most diverse nine acres in Roanoke,” at a time “when more blacks are coming to the United States from Africa than during the slave trade era, both as refugees and as voluntary immigrants.”
The judges said, “It was beautifully told in print and online with stunning photos and powerful writing. The online experience was greatly enhanced by hearing the refugees speak, sharing the diversity of their language and lifestyles in audio and video.”
In the category of up to 40,000 circulation, Poughkeepsie won for “State of the Hudson”, a four-part series about an estuary that it said “suffered from the recklessness and detritus of people who came to settle its shores.”
The judges said it was “an overwhelming effort … This package offered a level of depth that no other entry had.”
The judges cited these entries as finalists in the over-100,000 circulation category: The Seattle Times for “Unearthing Tse-whit-zen,” The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., for coverage of the 2005 U.S. Open, and the Times Union of Albany, N.Y., for “Central Avenue.”
The judges were Sellers; Lance Johnson, managing editor, The Day, New London, Conn., and contest vice chair; Donna Reed, vice president for news, Media General, Richmond, Va.; and Ruth Gersh, editorial director of AP Digital. Judges refrained from discussing or voting on entries from their newspapers.
APME is an organization of editors, managing editors and online editors of the more than 1,700 newspapers served by the AP in the United States and Canadian Press in Canada.