ASNE Awards 2001

2001 winners of the ASNE Awards announced
Posted 3/29/2001 12:00:00 AM

RESTON, Va. – The American Society of Newspaper Editors has selected seven winners of its annual awards for distinguished writing and photography.

Winners of the 2001 ASNE Awards

Steven Erlanger, The New York Times – Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by an Individual
The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.: a team of 20 journalists – Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by a Team
Leonard Pitts, The Miami Herald, commentary writing
Stephen Henderson, The Sun, Baltimore, editorial writing
Stephen Magagnini, The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, diversity writing
Tom Hallman Jr., The Oregonian, Portland, nondeadline writing
John Beale, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, community service photojournalism

The Jesse Laventhol prizes each carry a $10,000 cash award; all of the others will receive $2,500 prizes. This is the first year ASNE has included photojournalism in the contest. The awards will be made April 6, during the Society’s convention in Washington. The winning entries and interviews with the winners and finalists have been published in “Best Newspaper Writing 2001,” by The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, Fla.

A look at the winners

Erlanger won the Jesse Laventhol Prize for his stories on a strike at the Kolubara coal mine and subsequent uprisings that signaled the beginning of the end for Slobodan Milosevic. “Steve Erlanger saw the fall of Slobodan Milosevic before the Serbian despot did. His story telling puts the reader there,” the judges said.

Reporters from The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J. won the Jesse Laventhol Prize for their reporting on a catastrophic fire in a Seton Hall University dormitory, recreating the chaos and its impact on students and their families. “Each story gave readers a gripping narrative description of action and feelings,” the judges said. “The writers never got in the way of the stories they told.”

The Star-Ledger team: Russell Ben-Ali, Robert Braun, Carol Ann Campbell, Steve Chambers, David Cho, Kate Coscarelli, Sue Epstein, Robin Gaby Fisher, William Gannon, David Gibson, Rebecca Goldsmith, Kelly Heyboer, Rudy Larini, John Mooney, Mark Mueller, Mary Jo Patterson, Matt Reilly, Ted Sherman, Guy Sterling and Angela Stewart.

Pitts won the award for his unpredictable, principled columns about everything from the confederate flag, to individuality to reparations. “His passion is there, but the reader does not have to confront it,” the judges said. “He writes across a broad range of subjects and brings an originality of thought to all that he does.”

Henderson won the award for editorials about privatizing public schools, a death penalty case filled with doubt, and a call to Baltimore residents to speak out about crime. “Stephen Henderson’s editorials are well-crafted, clear-headed, powerful and elegantly written,” the judges said. “He is as passionate in offering praise as criticism, an endearing and often unusual trait on editorial pages.”

Magagnini won the diversity writing award for a personal examination of Sacramento’s Hmong community, which has a tortured history and an uncertain future. These are stories of those struggling to assimilate while clinging to the past: a family tale of self-destruction, a woman trying to break the bonds of culture and those peering into the future for hope and survival. “Magagnini’s extraordinary stories deliver a remarkable, caring insight into the inner workings and humanity of this urban culture,” the judges said.

Hallman is a second-time winner, having also been honored in the same category in 1997, nondeadline writing. He won this year for a story exploring the journey of a horribly deformed youngster who risked everything in a dangerous surgery he hoped would make him look more normal. “He draws the reader inside the family without intruding or being exploitive,” the judges said. “There are no barriers between the writer and the reader in this polished and compelling narrative.”

Beale won the inaugural photojournalism award for a collage of stunning images showing the importance and diversity of religious faith in the Pittsburgh area. “The photos demonstrated the importance of faith to rich and poor as they paid homage to Jehovah, Allah, the Creator, Jesus, the Supreme Being and God (or gods),” the judges said.

The ASNE judges also recognized the work of other newspaper journalists as finalists

Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by an Individual

  • Darrin Mortenson, The Virgin Islands Daily News, St. Thomas

Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by a Team

  • The Miami Herald: Sandra Marquez Garcia, Tyler Bridges, Curtis Morgan, Manny Garcia, Carolyn Salazar, Andres Viglucci
  • St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times: Sue Carlton, Tom French, Anne Hull

Commentary writing

  • Colbert I. King, The Washington Post
  • Paul Vitello, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.

Editorial writing

  • Paul Greenberg, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock
  • Bailey Thomson, Mobile (Ala.) Register

Nondeadline writing

  • Michelle Kearns, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine
  • Charlie LeDuff, The New York Times


  • Mark Bixler, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Community Service Photojournalism

  • Thom Scott, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans
  • Leigh Daughtridge, The Beacon-News, Aurora, Ill.

This year’s contest attracted more than 500 entries from news organizations throughout the United States and Canada; the largest contest was for the nondeadline writing award, which garnered 123 entries.

The Jesse Laventhol Prizes are named in honor of a longtime Philadelphia newspaperman. They are endowed by his son, David A. Laventhol, a former editor and executive for Times Mirror, who is now publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review. Laventhol has been a member of ASNE for many years and has chaired and serves as a member of the ASNE Awards Board. He said he wanted to encourage excellence in a key aspect of newspaper reporting – “to recognize the best deadline work and to encourage more of it.”

The ASNE Foundation – which is supported by gifts from ASNE members, newspaper companies and foundations – funds the other prizes. The Poynter Institute administers the competition. Keith Woods of The Poynter Institute will be the editor of “Best Newspaper Writing 2001.”

The awards were made for work completed in 2000. Daily newspapers and wire services in the United States or Canada are eligible to enter. Also eligible are other newspapers in the Americas, wire services, and other organizations that gather and publish information for daily newspapers that are headed by an active member of ASNE. The work must be in English.

Cynthia A.Tucker, The Atlanta Constitution, chaired the Awards Board this year. Other judges were: Andrew N. Alexander, Cox Newspapers, Washington; Richard Aregood, The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.; Martin Baron, The Miami Herald; Leonard Downie, Jr., The Washington Post; G. Maria Henson, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman; Clark Hoyt, Knight Ridder, Washington; David A. Laventhol, New York; Joseph Lelyveld, The New York Times; Walker Lundy, St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press; Gregory L. Moore, The Boston Globe; Richard A. Oppel, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman; Michael Parks, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Robert Rivard, San Antonio Express-News; Sandra Mims Rowe, The Oregonian, Portland; Edward L. Seaton, The Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury; and N. Don Wycliff, Chicago Tribune.

Carolyn Lee, The New York Times, chaired the photojournalism award panel. Other judges were: Craig Gemoules, The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune; Kenny Irby, The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Zach Ryall, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman; Cynthia A. Tucker, The Atlanta Constitution; and N. Don Wycliff, Chicago Tribune.

With nearly 900 members, ASNE is the principal organization of American newspaper editors. It is active in a number of areas, including open government, freedom of the press, journalism credibility and ethics, newsroom management, diversity and readership.