ASNE Awards 2013

ASNE Awards for 2012's best journalism announced

The American Society of News Editors has selected the winners of its annual awards for distinguished writing and photography.

This year's contest attracted 316 qualifying entries from news organizations throughout the United States.

"I was thrilled by the quality of the work we saw," said ASNE President Susan Goldberg, Bloomberg News executive editor. "The work that won was brilliant, but what blew all of the judges away was how much great work overall there was in every category. Honestly, it was just inspiring to see so much storytelling that made such a difference in our communities."

The winners, along with remarks from the judges:

Batten Medal

Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe. It is the second time Cullen has won this award (the first was in 2008). "Kevin Cullen's work epitomizes the values Jim Batten stood for: compassion, honesty, courage and a high regard for those on the margins of contemporary society. In compact prose, Cullen tells powerful stories that move the heart and get results; he's not just a chronicler of the human condition, he's an advocate for those whose lives he touches."
Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary/Column Writing

Phillip Morris, The Plain Dealer. "Phillip Morris's columns take readers on a journey through the Cleveland area, revealing the region's authentic character -- and its characters. Morris effectively uses ordinary people, small examples and anecdotes to illustrate larger issues of community decay and government inaction."
Distinguished Writing Award for Deadline News Reporting

The staff of The Denver Post. "The Denver Post produced a comprehensive yet tightly written narrative report on the tragic shootings at the multiplex in Aurora, Colo. The stories included detailed reporting and vivid writing that took readers inside the theater as the gunman methodically went after his victims. The writers sifted through a mountain of information to deliver fresh insights, telling the story in a complete and compelling manner."
Punch Sulzberger Award for Online Storytelling

John Branch, The New York Times. "A truly groundbreaking project, telling a compelling story of disaster and survival with a powerful narrative, stunning visuals and smartly presented multimedia elements. It sets a new standard for online storytelling."

Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek

Community Service Photojournalism Award

Joe Amon, The Denver Post. "Denver Post photojournalist Joe Amon gained access to a story and subjects that are tough to find, let alone photograph. Amon brought to light the persistent problem of drug addiction with new information about heroin and its impact on Denver."

Heroin in Denver

Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Distinguished Writing on Diversity

Martin Comas, Arelis Hernandez and Kate Santich, Orlando Sentinel. "Their multi-platform series not only tackles the history of race relations, but also delves into the complexity of ethnicity and race in order to shatter stereotypical myths. The reporters and editors accomplished this under tough conditions -- a tragic shooting that went viral internationally."

In the Shadow of Race Series: Trayvon Martin case

Burl Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership

Bob Moore, El Paso Times. "For the remarkable fortitude displayed in his editorials that wouldn't let El Paso's school board and leadership team off the hook after they tried to cook the books on standardized testing by having poor-performing students `disappear' on testing days to make the school's test scores look better."
Distinguished Writing Award for Local Accountability Reporting

Joseph Neff and David Raynor of the Raleigh News and Observer, Ames Alexander and Karen Garloch of the Charlotte Observer. "For their joint investigation of how North Carolina's nonprofit hospitals were generating huge profit margins while neglecting their public-service obligations. Grounded in meticulous reporting and presented in elegant and sophisticated form, the series documented that many hospitals, including some of the state's most prestigious, were paying their executives exorbitant salaries, imposing obscene markups on drugs and procedures, offering minimal charity care and even suing impoverished patients. This is a model of newspapers holding powerful local interests accountable and has ignited efforts for reform."
Distinguished Writing Award for Nondeadline Writing

Rukmini Callimachi, The Associated Press. "Rukmini Callimachi tells the story of hunger in Africa in a way you haven't read it before. This is brave, vital reporting of geopolitical news, presented with an intimate, human face."

Five Stories on West Africa

The finalists:

Batten Medal
  • Lois M. Collins, Deseret News
  • Michael Phillips, The Wall Street Journal

Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary/Column Writing
  • Brian McGrory, The Boston Globe
  • Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times

Distinguished Writing Award for Deadline News Reporting
  • Dave Altimari, Matthew Kauffman, Josh Kovner and Edmund H. Mahoney, Hartford Courant
  • The staff of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Punch Sulzberger Award for Online Storytelling
  • Nyier Abdou, Jackie Friedman, Saed Hindash, Mark Miller, Shawn Weston, The Star Ledger
  • The staff of The Washington Post

Community Service Photojournalism
  • Liz O. Baylen, Los Angeles Times
  • Erika Schultz, The Seattle Times

Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Distinguished Writing on Diversity
  • Theresa Vargas, The Washington Post
  • Steve Young, Argus Leader Media

Burl Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership
  • Bruce Ramsey, The Seattle Times
  • Rebecca Troyer, Daily Press

Distinguished Writing Award for Local Accountability Reporting
  • Sally Kestin and John Maines, Sun Sentinel
  • Glenn Howatt, Jeremy Olson and Brad Schrade, Star Tribune

Distinguished Writing Award for Nondeadline Writing
  • Michael Booth, The Denver Post
  • Megan McCloskey, Stars and Stripes

Kevin Cullen of The Boston Globe 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 was established and funded by a group of editors from the former Knight Ridder company and a corporate gift.

Martin Comas, Arelis Hernandez and Kate Santich of the Orlando Sentinel will split $2,500 for winning the Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Distinguished Writing on Diversity. Funding for the award is provided by the Freedom Forum, which has partnered with ASNE on many diversity efforts.

John Branch of The New York Times will receive $2,500 for winning the Punch Sulzberger Award for Online Storytelling, which recognizes excellence in the use of digital tools to tell news stories. Funding for the award is provided by The New York Times in memory of former publisher Arthur Ochs "Punch" Sulzberger, who died in 2012.

Bob Moore of the El Paso Times 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. Funding for the award is provided by The Dallas Morning News in memory of Burl Osborne, who died in 2012.

Aside from the Batten Medal, which covers work published since 2010, the awards were given for work completed in 2012. All newspapers, news services and news websites in the United States are eligible to enter.

In addition to ASNE President Susan Goldberg and Awards Board Chair Ken Paulson, this year's writing judges were: Nancy Barnes, Minneapolis Star Tribune; David Boardman, The Seattle Times; Jim Brady, Digital First Media; Neil Brown, Tampa Bay Times; Mike Connelly, The Buffalo News; Ralph de la Cruz, The Dallas Morning News; Steve Engelberg, ProPublica; Mike Fancher, retired journalist; Mike Foley, University of Florida; Diana Fuentes, Del Rio News Herald; Manny Garcia, El Nuevo Herald; Vicki S. Gowler, The Idaho Statesman; Gary Graham, The Spokesman-Review; Charlotte Hall, ASNE Foundation; Marie Hardin, Penn State Union; Jim Lawrence, Democrat and Chronical; Jeff Leen, The Washington Post; Phil Lewis, Naples Daily News; Jeff Light, U-T San Diego; Mark Liu, Democrat and Chronicle; Karen Magnuson, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle; Benjamin J. Marrison, The Columbus Dispatch; Jack McElroy, The Knoxville News Sentinel; John Moore, Ventura County Star; Chris Peck, The Memphis Commercial Appeal; Mark Russell, Orlando Sentinel; Howard Saltz, South Florida Sun-Sentinel; Melanie Sill, Southern California Public Radio; George Stanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Mizell Stewart III, The E.W. Scripps Company; Joe Tanfani, Los Angeles Times; Mike Wilson, Tampa Bay Times.

Valerie Hoeppner of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute chaired the photojournalism award judging. Other photojournalism judges were Randy Greenwell, The Virginia Pilot; Kenny Irby, Poynter Institute; Karen Mitchell, University of Missouri; Kate Patterson, USA Today; Craig Walker, The Denver Post; and Patrick Farrell, The Miami Herald.