ASNE Awards 2008

2008 Awards: ASNE recognizes excellence in writing, photography
Posted 2/19/2008 4:29:00 PM

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

This year’s contest attracted nearly 500 entries from news organizations throughout the United States and Canada.

Andy Alexander, chair of the ASNE Awards judging and Washington bureau chief for Cox Newspapers, said that the entries this year were particularly strong.

"There wasn't even a hint that the challenges facing newspapers have affected the quality of reporting and writing.” he said. “To the contrary, veteran judges of the ASNE Writing Awards found this year's entries were exceptionally strong in virtually every category. Taken as a whole, they underscored the unique ability of newspaper journalists to inform, to provide clarity and context, to entertain, to give voice to the voiceless and to right injustices by exposing wrongdoing. All of the finalists – and certainly the winners - exceeded the highest journalistic standards for reporting. But what distinguishes these awards is their special emphasis on writing. In that regard, the judges felt they were treated to the best our business has to offer."

The winners:
Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by an Individual - Todd C. Frankel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Various stories including a Memorial Day feature about families paying homage to their loved ones killed in Iraq.

Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by a Team - The Post and Courier staff, Charleston, S.C. Stories on a summer fire at a sofa store that claimed the lives of nine city firefighters.

Batten Medal – Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe. A collection of columns on local people facing adversity.

Commentary/Column Writing - Leonard Pitts Jr., The Miami Herald. A compilation of columns including those on the death of NFL star Sean Taylor, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Jena controversy.

Community Service Photojournalism Award - Mona Reeder, The Dallas Morning News. Photos depicting the varied faces of poverty in Texas.

Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Distinguished Writing on Diversity - David Gonzalez, The New York Times. A three-part series providing a close-up look at a new wave of Pentecostalism in the city.

Distinguished Writing Award for Editorial Writing -  Marie Dillon, Chicago Tribune. A collection of editorials including one on local librarians banning a children’s book.

Distinguished Writing Award for Local Accountability Reporting— Anne Hull and Dana Priest, The Washington Post. Stories exposing the deep and widespread problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Distinguished Writing Award for Nondeadline Writing - Lane DeGregory, St. Petersburg (Fla.)\Times. A collection of feature stories including one on daredevil Evil Knievel and his fears of growing old.

The Jesse Laventhol prizes each carry a $10,000 cash award; all of the others will receive $2,500 prizes. The awards will be presented on Monday, April 14 during the Capital Conference (ASNE/NAA/NEXPO conventions) in Washington, D.C. The winning entries and interviews with the winners and finalists will be published in “Best Newspaper Writing” by The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla.

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

Batten Medal
Howard Witt, Chicago Tribune

Rubén Rosario, St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press

Commentary/Column Writing

Connie Schultz, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

David Sarasohn, The Oregonian, Portland

Community Service Photojournalism:

Gus Chan, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Karen Ducey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by an Individual
Dan Shaughnessy, The Boston Globe

Jeff Coen, Chicago Tribune

Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by a Team

Staff, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald

Staff, The Washington Post

Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Outstanding Writing on Diversity
Monica Polanco, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant

Christine Evans, The Palm Beach Post, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Distinguished Writing Award for Editorial Writing

Linda Valdez, The Arizona Republic, Phoenix

Ruben Navarrette, Jr., The San Diego Union-Tribune

Local Accountability Reporting

Binyamin Appelbaum, Ted Mellnik, Lisa Hammersly, Pam Kelley, Liz Chandler, Stella M. Hopkins, Gary Schwab, Patrick Scott, Peter St. Onge, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer

David Josar, The Detroit News

Pamela Gould, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.

Nondeadline Writing

Louise Kiernan, Chicago Tribune

David Finkel, The Washington Post

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.  Laventhol has been a member of ASNE for many years and serves as a member of the ASNE Awards Board.

The Freedom Forum, which has partnered with ASNE on many diversity efforts, funds the award for outstanding writing on diversity.

The Batten Medal honors the memory of revered reporter, editor and newspaper executive James K. Batten. The medal is intended to celebrate the journalistic values Batten stood for: compassion, courage, humanity and a deep concern for the underdog. The award was established and funded by a group of Knight Ridder editors and a corporate gift.

The ASNE Foundation - which is supported by gifts from ASNE members, newspaper companies and foundations - funds the other awards. The Poynter Institute partners with ASNE in administering the competition.

The awards were given for work completed in 2007. All daily newspapers and wire services in the United States are eligible to enter. Also eligible are other newspapers in the Americas that are headed by an active member of ASNE. All entries must be submitted in English.

Carolyn Lee, New York, chaired the photojournalism award judging. Five photo experts also joined in the judging: Kenny Irby, visual journalism group leader and diversity program director, The Poynter Institute; Charlie Borst, director of photography, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.; Manny Crisostomo, multimedia editor, The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee; Suzanne Kreiter, photographer, The Boston Globe; and Akili-Casundra Ramsess, director of photography, Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel.

This year’s writing judges were: Andrew N. Alexander, Washington bureau chief, Cox Newspapers; Jim Amoss, editor, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans; Gilbert Bailon, editorial page editor, St. Louis (Mo.) Post-Dispatch; Peter K. Bhatia, executive editor, The Oregonian, Portland; David Boardman, executive editor, The Seattle Times; Neil Brown, executive editor, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times; Milton Coleman, deputy managing editor, The Washington Post; Michael K. Connelly, executive editor, Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune; George de Lama, managing editor/news, Chicago Tribune; Gregory Favre, distinguished fellow in journalism values, The Poynter Institute; Pamela B. Fine, managing editor, The Indianapolis Star; Mike Jacobs, editor and publisher, Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald; Pamela J. Johnson, executive director, Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, Missouri School of Journalism; W. Martin Kaiser, editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Wanda S. Lloyd, executive editor, Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser; Sharon Rosenhause, managing editor, South Florida Sun-Sentinel; Mark E. Russell, managing editor, Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel; Carlos Sanchez, editor, Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald; Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Patrick A. Yack; and Michael E. Waller, retired, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Judges abstain from discussion when there is either a personal or professional conflict of interest.

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.