ASNE Awards 2014

ASNE Awards for 2013's best journalism!

We're happy to announce the winners of the 2014 ASNE Awards for distinguished writing and photography. Our kudos to your hard work and high-impact journalism!


The awards, which encompass nine categories and honor the best in print and digital content, attracted 337 qualifying entries from news organizations in the United States.
"The judges were gratified by the quality of the work we saw and by the range of news outlets that submitted entries -- including not only newspapers, but also television and radio stations, digital-only outlets and nonprofit news centers," said ASNE President David Boardman, dean of the School of Media and Communication at Temple University. "It is clear that America's journalists are rising to the economic and technological challenges they face, finding new ways of telling the stories the public needs and deserves."
The Washington Post and The Boston Globe each won two awards. 
The winners and finalists, along with remarks from the judges:


Batten Medal
Alberto Arce of The Associated Press will receive $2,500 for winning the Batten Medal, which 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 is sponsored by a group of editors from the former Knight Ridder company. 
From the judges:  
"Alberto Arce writes with stunning power and pace. Under the most difficult circumstances, he tells stories from violence-torn Honduras with an authenticity that reveals to readers terrible realities and the victims but with an elegance that suggests there are no false notes. We are brought into Honduras by a journalist who seems fearless but not reckless. That lends an elegance to the work. His work in recent years and the quality of his dispatches are very much in the spirit of the work championed by Jim Batten."

1. A father’s Quest for Justice
Nov 12, 2012: Dad seeks justice for son slain in broken Honduras

2. Campaign Coffins
Oct. 12, 2012: Free coffings: political swag for Honduran poor

3. Gangs Extort Cash
Aug. 8, 2012: Gangs extort cash from Honduran homeowners

4. Inmates rule honduran Prisons
May 28, 2012: Inmates, corruption rule Honduras’ deadly prisons

5. Hunt for Trafficker Terrorizes
May 22, 2012: Hunt for drug traffickers terrorizes village. Villagers say Americans involved in raid

6. Police accused of death squad killings
May 1, 2013: Honduran gang member missing after police arrest suggests pattern of forced disappearances

7. The Tiger Speaks
Nov. 2, 2013: Honduras’s enigmatic police chief recites poetry and denies death squad involvement

8. Death of a Taxi Driver
Nov. 21, 2013: A taxi driver’s senseless killing encapsulates Honduras’s horror

9. Teenage Cop Killer
Dec. 28, 2013: Teens’ thievery turns tragic for Honduran cop

  • Lane DeGregory, the Tampa Bay Times

Burl Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership
Tony Messenger of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch will receive $2,500 for winning the Burl Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership, which recognizes editorial writing that is excellent journalism and makes a difference in a community. The award is sponsored by The Dallas Morning News in memory of Burl Osborne, who died in 2012.
From the judges: 
"Tony Messenger's work embodies Joseph Pulitzer's credo to 'oppose privileged classes and public plunderers' and remain dedicated to the public good. Through detailed reporting and courageous stands, these editorials shined a bright light on corporate welfare, tax cuts for the rich and a persistent culture of corruption in Missouri's state capitol." 


  • Dante Ramos, The Boston Globe
  • Linda Valdez, The Arizona Republic 

Punch Sulzberger Award for Online Storytelling
Marc Perrusquia and Jeff McAdory of The Memphis Commercial Appeal are the winners of the Punch Sulzberger Award for Online Storytelling, which recognizes excellence in the use of digital tools to tell news stories. They will receive $2,500 for winning the award sponsored by The New York Times in memory of former publisher Arthur Ochs "Punch" Sulzberger, who died in 2012.

From the judges: 
"The Commercial Appeal took the death of Martin Luther King Jr. further than any news organization had done before, digging deep into archives to uncover how the day unraveled for one of America's most noteworthy figures. Judges thought they had read everything that could be written about MLK; this innovative online presentation proved them wrong. Riveting and powerful, it was best in class."

  • Michael Kruse, Don Morris, Lee Glynn and Alexis Sanchez, the Tampa Bay Times
  • T. Christian Miller and Jeff Gerth, ProPublica

Deborah Howell Award for Nondeadline Writing
Ellen Gabler, Mark Johnson and John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Eli Saslow of The Washington Post are the co-winners of the Deborah Howell Award for Nondeadline Writing, which recognizes excellence in writing not accomplished on deadline. The winning staff of each paper will receive $1,250 for winning the award sponsored by Advance Publications, Inc., in memory of former editor Deborah Howell who died in 2010.

      Ellen Gabler               Mark Johnson             John Fauber                                   Eli Saslow
From the judges:

"The nondeadline-writing category included the year's best investigative projects, as well as the best narrative writing. The ASNE judges opted to honor both because they were projects so well-done and moving, and such fine examples of powerful and terrific journalism, that they demanded to be cited.


"'Deadly Delays' by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on the breakdown of blood-screening programs designed to discover, and then treat, ailments in newborn babies. The groundbreaking project showed that the very premise of the testing program is to get information within 24 hours, yet blood samples often linger at hospitals for days or a week, sometimes by mistake -- and sometimes quite knowingly. 'Deadly Delays' has already had an impact that may save young lives: states across the U.S. are making changes to their screening programs, groups such as the American Heart Association issued advisories to its members to check their procedures and performance, and a committee that advises the U.S. health and human services secretary said it would take the lead in setting a national standard for newborn screenings.
"Eli Saslow's stories demonstrated how powerful great narrative writing can be. His articles in The Washington Post covered the human toll of poverty and hunger, a family's loneliness in the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting and how learning to use guns is just a matter of growing up in some parts of America. All great stories, all great storytelling. Judges found the reporting and writing in this collection moving and revealing about the state of our culture."
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's "Deadly Delays" series
Nov. 17, 2013: Deadly Delays 
Nov. 17, 2013: A late test, a newborn's life in jeopardy 
Nov. 18, 2013: Doctors struggle to treat dying newborn

The Washington Post's stories by Eli Saslow
June 9, 2013: Into the lonely quiet
March 1, 2013: The gauge of growing up
March 17, 2013: Hungering for a new month to begin
July 7, 2013: Driving away hunger
Dec. 16, 2013: December 7th. December 8th.

  • Christopher Goffard and the staff of the Los Angeles Times

Mike Royko Award for Commentary/Column Writing
Kevin Cullen of The Boston Globe will receive $2,500 for winning the Mike Royko Award for Commentary/Column Writing, which recognizes excellence in writing by an individual that expresses a personal point of view. The award is sponsored by the Chicago Tribune in memory of legendary Chicago columnist Mike Royko, who died in 1997.
From the judges: 

"Kevin Cullen's work demonstrates a deft writing touch, a ferocious spirit and a no holds-barred clarity that is by turns bracing and brilliant. His well-reported columns surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing were particularly noteworthy for their humanity and the way they captured the defiant spirit of a city simultaneously reeling from a devastating attack."


  • Gordon Keith, The Dallas Morning News

Distinguished Writing on Diversity Award
Michael Grabell of ProPublica is the winner of the Award for Distinguished Writing on Diversity, which recognizes writing that helps a community understand and better appreciate its racial, ethnic and religious diversity.
From the judges: 
"ProPublica's 'Temp Land' series used shoe-leather reporting and exhaustive statistical analysis to point out a little-noticed trend in industrial America: an increasing number of major companies are turning to temporary workers to fill their least-attractive jobs. They analyzed labor data and accident reports to show that temp jobs are also among the most dangerous. The stories prompted action, including the U.S. Labor Department opening investigations into three agencies and OSHA tightening temp-agency rules."


  • Daniel Gonzalez, The Arizona Republic

Local Accountability Reporting Award
Debbie Cenziper, Michael Sallah and Steven Rich of The Washington Post are the winners of the Local Accountability Reporting Award, which recognizes outstanding work done by a news organization that holds important local institutions accountable for their actions.

From the judges:
"In its investigative series Homes for the Taking, The Washington Post shines a light on the process of tax lien auctions in the District of Columbia. Post reporters Michael Sallah, Debbie Cenziper and Steven Rich collected and examined every tax lien sold on properties within the district since 2005. The team found about 200 homeowners had lost their homes as a result of tax lien sales, even though some had debts as low as $50. The Post's investigation delved deeply into the out-of-state investment companies that swoop in to purchase the liens and then target the homeowners with fees that were often more than three times the original debt. And when the homeowners, who were often poor or elderly, couldn't pay, they were evicted.
"The team wove together the hard-edged analysis with deft storytelling about the families affected by this longstanding practice. The stories spurred both community outrage and immediate action from district officials, who canceled the sale of tax liens and initiated immediate reforms to the process." 
"Homes for the Taking" series

  • Michael Braga and Anthony Cormier, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
  • Christina Jewett, Will Evans, Scott Zamost and Drew Griffin, The Center for Investigative Reporting

Community Service Photojournalism Award
Jim Gehrz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune is the winner of the Community Service Photojournalism Award, which rewards photography that captures the sense of a community with powerful and meaningful images and provides an understanding of the community.
From the judges:
"'Life in the Boom - Trading Tradition for Oil' beautifully documented the historic oil boom of North Dakota. Gehrz was awarded top billing for his originality and revealing content, which depicts a seldom seen narrative. His entry provided an outstanding sense of place and captured the lives of people: home and work in the evolving fabric of America."


  • The staff of the Chicago Tribune
  • Michael S. Williamson, The Washington Post

Breaking News Writing Award

The staff of The Boston Globe is the winner of the Breaking News
Writing Award for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings.

From the judges:
"Globe reporters used their depth of knowledge about their community and its people to navigate around the chaos at the scene and area hospitals -- through a city in lockdown still searching for unknown assailants -- to fully report all known and verified facts about what happened.
"Judges appreciated how thoroughly and honestly the Globe reported what it knew and what it did not about suspects and potential motives without speculating or giving undo credence to unverified rumors and theories. Stories were tightly written and edited, packed with information and context about the tragedy. Every quote mattered.
"Poignant stories, gathered and written within hours of the blasts, captured the human toll as doctors at the city's famous research hospitals dealt with catastrophic war zone injuries for the first time in their lives while a mother waited for a son to come out of surgery after losing his leg -- the second of her children to have a leg amputated that night." 

  • The staff of The Washington Post
  • The staff of The Arizona Republic
With the exception of the Batten Medal, which covered work published since 2011, the awards were given for work completed in 2013. All news organizations, news services and online-only news sites in the United States were eligible to enter.
Links to the work of the winners coming soon at   


Judging took place both online and on site at the Poynter Institute. In addition to ASNE President David Boardman, Temple University, and Awards Board Chair Susan Goldberg, National Geographic, this year's writing judges were: Alan Achkar, South Bend Tribune; Debra Adams Simmons, The Cleveland Plain Dealer; Trif Alatzas, Baltimore Sun; Gilbert Bailon, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Neil Brown, Tampa Bay Times; Bill Church, Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Mike Connelly, The Buffalo News; Linda Cunningham, KeyWestWatch Media LLC; Matt DeRienzo, Digital First Media; Lenore Devore, The Lakeland Ledger; Pam Fine, University of Kansas; Casey Frank, Miami Herald; Tim Franklin, Poynter; Barry Friedman, The Lakeland Ledger; Manny Garcia, Naples Daily News; Vicki S. Gowler, The Idaho Statesman; Anders Gyllenhaal, McClatchy Washington Bureau; Debbie Hiott, Austin American-Statesman; Jill Jorden Spitz, Arizona Daily Star; Mark Katches, The Center for Investigative Reporting; Andy Kuppers, The Lakeland Ledger; Karen Magnuson, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle; Davan Maharaj, Los Angeles Times; Benjamin J. Marrison, The Columbus Dispatch; Kevin Merida, The Washington Post; Jack McElroy, The Knoxville News Sentinel; Mark Russell, The Memphis Commercial Appeal; Howard Saltz, South Florida Sun-Sentinel; George Stanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Mizell Stewart III, The E.W. Scripps Company; Nicole Stockdale, The Dallas Morning News; Mark A. Tomasik, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers; Robyn Tomlin, Digital First Media; Anne Vasquez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel; Mackenzie Warren, Gannett; and Deanna Watson, Wichita Falls Times Record News.

Boyzell Hosey, Tampa Bay Times, chaired the photojournalism award judging. Other photojournalism judges were Tom Burton, Orlando Sentinel; Stefanie Fletcher, Tampa Bay Times; Valerie Hoeppner, Middle Tennessee State University; Kenny Irby, Poynter; and Gabriel Tait, Arkansas State University.