2004 Judges Comments

2004 ASNE Awards judges' comments
Posted 2/19/2004 12:00:00 AM



The Boston Globe -- Informed by their collective solid street reporting, this team put you in the center of a horrific event. The probing detail in their gut-wrenching account of the tragic Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 and maimed scores more was presented seamlessly and with an empathetic tone.

The New York Times -- This vivid account of the tragic breakup of the shuttle Columbia exhibited comprehensive, well organized and seamless news writing seasoned with appropriate drama, meaningful context and authoritative background.


The Wall Street Journal -- This account of Richard Grasso’s firing by the New York Stock Exchange was a sterling example of how strong beat reporting can take readers inside a complex event with sharp writing under demanding deadline pressure.



Anthony Shadid, The Washington Post -- Under the toughest of circumstances, Anthony Shadid delivered from Iraq with an enormous descriptive range and great lyrical power. He did it all from the base of great reporting strength.


Terence Hunt, Associated Press -- This strong entry was anchored by superb reporting on President Bush’s surprise Thanksgiving visit to Baghdad in which the writer put us there with a great eye for detail while keeping in perspective the full picture of the war on the ground and war criticism at home.

Somini Sengupta, The New York Times -- This writer’s ability to report from the midst of chaos and weave coherency is remarkable. A remarkable eye for detail is balanced by restraint in reporting the horrific civil war in Liberia.



S. Lynne Walker, Copley News Service, San Diego -- With blunt honesty, the writer delivers a powerful, intimate account of what happens to a town changed by an influx of immigrants. It is a slice of America also written about by others, yet in this case delivered in a compelling way that offers a deeper understanding.


Jill Leovy, Los Angles Times -- Ms. Leovy approached an old story -- homicides in the city -- in a new way and it paid off for readers as she went deeper and more emotionally into what violence is like and what it does. She accomplished this with a descriptive yet spare style that delivered understanding.

Amy Argetsinger, The Washington Post -- Without letting herself get in the way, the writer delivers an engaging read about an engaging young Kenyan woman, charting her unusual journey from a small village to a college campus in Virginia. Understanding of cultural challenges and changes is delivered in rich narrative writing.



Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times -- An incredible wordsmith, Dan Neil must be the most uncommon auto columnist in the country. He delivers great leads, allows no fall off in the writing as he delivers little treasures throughout and yet always rewards the reader at the end.


Robert Jamieson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer -- A columnist with an engaging style who both gets into people and his town, Jamieson is not afraid to put himself into issues. He is gutsy and willing to take stands.

Howard Troxler, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times -- With writing flair and humor, Troxler shows a wide range. His words hit hard and he is a compact writer, easy to read.



Cathy Frye, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock -- In a riveting, novelistic style, Cathy Frye weaves the details of dogged reporting masterfully, pulling the reader through a journey despite a sense of dread about the ending. Recovered e-mail conversations become a powerful device in making the story of a 13-year-old girl’s fateful venture into the Internet chat room culture into a cautionary tale.


Robert Lee Hotz, Los Angeles Times -- Technical analysis of government reports and fragments of the shuttle Columbia became a masterful detective story in the hands of this writer. Robert Lee Hotz’ attention to detail led to understanding while never losing sight of the humanity of the ship’s breakup.

Lane DeGregory, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times -- Making connections with subjects led to writing that makes a reader take notice -- and then understand. Whether detailing the twists of a 20 year-old message in the bottle, or the caring cop who takes risks to help a young prostitute, Lane DeGregory has an amazing facility for putting readers in the moment.



Mark Mahoney, The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y. -- Writing with grace and clarity, Mark Mahoney finds topics big and small, then writes about them in pointed and persuasive ways. He gets quickly to the point, exhibits humor when appropriate and shows a broad range. Most importantly, he never leaves his point-of-view or suggested remedies in doubt.


Randy Bergmann, Asbury Park Press, Neptune, N.J. -- With a clear aim, and a clear message, Bergmann writes in a vernacular that touches people. He cuts through the fog and gets your feet moving toward change.

Andrew Malcolm, Los Angeles Times -- Andrew Malcolm’s ability to write on a diversity of topics with a wistful, ethereal style makes his work special. He offers a break from the heavy, ponderous tone of many editorials. A clear, clever and fine writer.



Tommy Tomlinson, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer -- In powerful narratives that resist the push to be maudlin, the writer displays a great gift for showing subjects through a variety of lenses. He captures readers quickly and keeps them engaged.


Chuck Culpepper, Newsday, Melville, N.Y. -- A very evocative writer, Chuck Culpepper possesses a distinctive, idiosyncratic style and has an uncanny ability to make you laugh.

Amy Ellis Nutt, The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J. -- Whether exploring the mind of an artist or the tragic death of a one-time golf prodigy, Nutt displays an extraordinary ability to capture complexity with elegant prose.



Brian Vander Brug, Los Angeles Times The faces of murder -- those shot and those left behind -- are powerful, impactful and memorable images that deliver understanding of the high cost of these tragedies. The images are stark and powerful.


Alan Spearman, The Commercial-Appeal, Memphis, Tenn. -- Life and death are always important, but never more so than in a trauma facility that, if closed, would mean a lost lifeline for a large part of the community. Such was a case in Memphis when Alan Spearman turned his lens on "The Med." His work displayed the humanity -- and potential loss -- with powerful images from all corners of the hospital. Funding, for now, is restored and Spearman’s work was a huge part in making this happen.

Rob Finch, The Oregonian, Portland -- The story of the death of children at an alarming rate on the Warm Springs Indian reservation was difficult to tell. First, because trust was lacking and had to built. But Rob Finch won that trust and turned his lens on drinking, abuse, and awkward reunions between the estranged. It is compelling work that illustrated fine reporting and lent its own solid contribution to understanding.