Winners of APME’s Annual Journalism Awards

By: E&P Staff

The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Asbury Park Press, the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune and the Bristol (Va.) Herald-Courier are among the winners announced Wednesday in the annual honors bestowed by the Associated Press Managing Editors association.

The Times earned the APME’s Public Service Award for its investigation into the dangers of increased use of radiation in diagnosing and treating disease. The Gray Lady revealed that the average American receives seven times as much diagnostic radiation in a lifetime as three decades ago, and through its investigation found that standards for radiation are insufficient — and some products even make it into the market without failsafe devices.
 
In the 40,000- to 150,000-circulation category, the Asbury Park Press of Neptune, N.J., won for its in-depth look at the out-of-control property tax system in the Garden State. Nearly half of the $47 billion raised to fund government in New Jersey comes from property taxes, higher than any other state, the newspaper reported.
 
Taking honors in the small-circulation category was the Bristol (Va.) Herald-Courier, which won for an eight-day series and subsequent follow-ups on Virginia’s mismanaged system of natural gas royalties.
 
Judges for the Public Service awards were APME President Otis Sanford, editor/Opinion and Editorials, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.; past APME presidents Bobbie Jo Buel, editor, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson; Suki Dardarian, managing editor, The Seattle Times; and David Hawpe, formerly vice president and editorial director, The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.; and Kristin Gazlay, AP vice president and managing editor for financial news and global training.

In other honors, AP’s coverage of the mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas earned the award for Deadline Reporting. The AP assembled a team of reporters, photographers, graphic artists, video journalists and editors who uncovered detailed information about the shooter and his victims in this national tragedy.
 
The Chicago Tribune and the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune were winners of the inaugural Gannett Foundation Award for Digital Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, which recognizes newspapers that creatively used digital tools in a community watchdog role. Each will receive $2,500 from the Gannett Foundation.
 
The Tribune won the award for papers with circ of more than 75,000 with work produced by its News Apps Team, while the Sarasota Herald-Tribune was honored for papers with a circ of less than 75,000 for its flipping fraud investigation into Florida real estate sales.
 
Judging that category were Heisse, Sanford and Sellers-Earl along with Alan Miller, managing editor of The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch.

The AP’s coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and of the devastating earthquake in Haiti were recognized for several awards. The oil spill coverage was honored for Enterprise Reporting, while Kansas City-based photographer Charlie Riedel received the News Photos award for his image of an oil-soaked pelican that the judges said has become “symbolic of the entire tragedy in the Gulf.”

Reporting on the Haiti earthquake captured top honors in the Best Use of Multimedia and the Best Use of Video categories. Judges honored video journalist Rich Matthews for his “riveting coverage [of the Haiti quake] put together on deadline under unimaginable circumstances.”

National Writer Adam Geller took the Feature Writing award for a two-part series on a Tennessee church that had built a relationship with a Haitian orphanage and rushed to bring the girls to the United States after the disaster. 

Las Vegas-based photographer Julie Jacobson earned Feature Photos honors for a series of images of opium addicts in Afghanistan.

Corey Williams was bestowed the Charles Rowe Award for Distinguished State Reporting for a body of work that told the stories of Detroit. 

Central Asia correspondent Peter Leonard won the John L. Dougherty Award for an AP staffer with less than three years of experience with AP and less than five years overall. The judges cited his work in Kyrgyzstan, saying, “his dedication under fire is underlined by simply outstanding sourcing and reporting.”
 
Three finalists were named for APME’s fourth annual Innovator of the Year Award: The Seattle Times for its breaking news coverage of the deaths of four police officers and its networked journalism project; the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., for its “Picture the Impossible” alternate reality game developed in partnership with the Rochester Institute of Technology; and the Statesman Journal of Salem, Ore., for its extensive use of social networking in its reporting.

The awards will be presented at APME’s annual conference, set for Oct. 20-22 at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. 
 
The association also selected the winners for the following awards (in order of circulation category — over 150,000, 40,000-150,000 and under 40,000):
 
 
FIRST AMENDMENT:
 
The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch for reporter Randy Ludlow’s crusade for openness. His use of public records led to the resignation or removal of two state public safety directors and the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
 
The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C., for a three-part series revealing that North Carolina has one of the nation’s most secretive laws regarding the release of personnel information for public employees.
 
Merced (Calif.) Sun-Star for exposing, through open records requests, racist e-mails sent by a city councilman to friends.
 
The judges also awarded First Amendment citations to the News Journal, Wilmington, Del., for forcing the Social Security Administration to release judicial records from across the country, exposing judges who deny worthy claimants; and The Oklahoman, for its aggressive coverage of the battle between the legislature and courts over whether birth dates of public employees should be open records.

INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE:
 
The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J., for columnist Bob Braun’s coverage of the earthquake in Haiti, which gave a personal tone to the heartbreaking stories he found.
 
The Washington Times for Heather Murdock’s coverage of Yemen, which, through a variety of stories, gave a sense of the challenges and dangers facing the Mideastern country.
 
The News Virginian, Waynesboro, Va., for the Borders Within, which told the story of the growing Hispanic population in Waynesboro.
 
ONLINE CONVERGENCE:
 
The Seattle Times for coverage in print and online of the slayings of four police officers in a suburban coffee shop and the ensuing 40-hour manhunt, which the judges said gave the audience a chance to interact with the news in real time.
 
Florida Today in Melbourne, for a multimedia package that looked at the life of William Dillon — who spent 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. It combined a special Flash presentation, a 44-minute documentary and stories.
 
The Courier in Waterloo, Iowa, for its extensive coverage of the murder of a popular high school coach gunned down in front of students.

 
The judges listed honorable mentions in the following categories:
 
PUBLIC SERVICE
 
Over 150,000: The New York Times, for an investigation into why ground beef tainted with E. coli remains such a common threat.
 
40,000 to 150,000: The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., for an investigation into the failed attempts by police and prosecutors to build a case against a suspected pedophile pediatrician.
 
Under 40,000: The News Virginian, Waynesboro, Va., for its coverage of a children’s mental health facility that twice avoided closure in tight budgeting times.
 
 
GANNETT AWARD FOR DIGITAL INNOVATION IN WATCHDOG JOURNALISM
(Under 75,000): The Statesman Journal, Salem, Ore., for its work on several watchdog projects.
 
 
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE:
 
Over 150,000: The Milwaukee (Wis.) Journal-Sentinel for A Father’s Journey: Searching for Answers in Afghanistan.

40,000 to 150,000: The News-Press, Fort Myers, Fla., for stories and photos on the Haiti earthquake.
 
 
ONLINE CONVERGENCE:
 
Over 150,000: The Detroit Free Press, for “Rising from the Wreckage,” the story behind the historic meltdown of the American auto industry in 2009, and The New York Times, for a variety of interactive projects.
 
40,000 to 150,000: The News-Press, Fort Myers, Fla., for “Life on the Edge,” the story of the community’s poorest neighborhood and the people who live there, and The Roanoke (Va.) Times for “Interstate 81: Fear, Facts and the Future.”
 
Under 40,000: The Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World for “Growing Up Together,” the story of a pregnant teenager, and The Enterprise, Brockton, Mass., for a series on a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who died in Afghanistan.

DEADLINE REPORTING:

Haiti correspondent Jonathan Katz for coverage of the Haiti earthquake and the AP staff for its spot news coverage of the Gulf oil spill.

ENTERPRISE REPORTING:

National Writer Martha Mendoza and Asia medical writer Margie Mason for a series of stories about drug resistance.

FEATURE WRITING:

Special Correspondent Helen O’Neill for a story on the volunteers who attend every funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, and Sydney-based writer Kristen Gelineau for a story about an Australian woman’s psychotic death leap.

BEST USE OF MULTIMEDIA:

The Interactive Department for oil spill interactives; video graphics editor Jaime Holguin and artist Peter Hamlin for a Mexico drug wars vidgraphic; and Matt Ford of the Interactive Department and the Baghdad bureau for an Iraq elections interactive.

BEST USE OF VIDEO:

Video journalist Rich Matthews for Gulf oil spill coverage, including his underwater dive.

NEWS PHOTS:
Haiti-based photographer Ramon Espinosa for Haiti earthquake coverage.

FEATURE PHOTOS:
Pakistan-based photographer Muhammed Muheisen for portraits in Pakistan.
 

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