2004 Contest Results

Growth and Development Reporting

First Place: William Dietrich, The Seattle Times.

Second Place: Bob Young and J. Martin McOmber, The Seattle Times.

Third Place: Staff, The Oregonian.

Dietrich won first place with “Changing Visions.”

“In a field dominated by long-winded, often ponderous writing and overwhelming repertorial detail, Dietrich stood out for his vivid, conversational writing style and his skillful weaving of facts and exposition,” the judge wrote. “From the specifics of a neighborhood to sweeping theory to a thoughtful meditation on leadership and change, Dietrich never swerved from the mission: to measure and explain how growth has changed the Seattle area.”

Second place went to Young and McOmber for “Lake Union development.”

“Young and McOmber got wind of the proposal, used the open records law to winnow a piece of it out of city hall and never wavered in their attention to this enormous proposal to remake the South Lake Union neighborhood in Seattle,” the judges wrote. “They looked at the proposal from a number of angles: utilities, local tax policy, transportation, ethics, land use and zoning. The writing was clear and without frills.”

The Oregonian staff garnered third place with “Portland waterfront.”

“The reporting team showed an impressive command of redevelopment economics in this voluminous, continuing coverage of another enormous redevelopment proposal,” the judge wrote. “The writing throughout was clear and concise. Unfortunately, the interesting background information on Williams and Dane was published after the Portland government had cast its lot with the developer.”

Judged by Fred Zipp, managing editor, Austin American-Statesman. 33 entries.

Immigration and Minority Affairs Reporting

First Place: Brad Wong, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Second Place: Kim Christensen, Julie Sullivan and Brent Walth, The Oregonian.

Third Place: Stephen Magagnini, The Sacramento Bee.

Wong won first place with “Made in Misery: How 12 Women Escaped Sweatshop Slavery.”

“The strength of this series was the originality of its theme – how the owner of a Third-World sweatshop on a U.S. protectorate imported women from Vietnam with false promises, then held them for years as little more than slaves,” the judges wrote. “The package raised troubling questions about why it took U.S. officials almost two years to respond to complaints of widespread abuse at the factory. The presentation in a you-are-there narrative may have been compelling, but the judges had some reservations about its appropriateness. Details were conveyed in present tense without attribution as if seen by an eyewitness – including the sounds made when the women were beaten – though a letter makes it clear that the reporter did not go to American Samoa and only interviewed six of the 12 women years after the events, probably with the help of a translator. The story would have benefited from additional attribution for many statements made as fact.”

Second place went to Christensen, Sullivan and Walsh for stories on a troubling series of deaths on the Warm Springs Indian reservation.

“The most troubling finding of this excellent package was that tribal leaders were not responding to reports of life-threatening child abuse, though more deaths were attributed to alcoholism and a lack of use of seat belts and child safety seats,” the judges wrote. “The fact that the series prompted a tribal review of safety and child-protection measures was promising, especially given that there was evidence that child deaths have been high for decades. The judges hope more follow-up stories are in the works. Our principal misgiving about the series was that the number of deaths – 58 – in more than a dozen years was small, statistically speaking, though the story concluded that ‘the reservation’s children have died at a rate more than three times that of the rest of the state.’ The focus on deaths that the tribe had the power to prevent was a creative approach that hopefully put the spotlight on the officials who can improve things for children. Fine writing made these stories a pleasure to read.”

Magagnini grabbed third place with “Nations within.”

“Many reporters have written about the changes that casinos and gamblers’ money have brought to Indian reservations,” the judges wrote. “But this series offers something more: An in-depth look at the myriad problems that the new Indian casino culture has wrought, including everything from dried-up wells to a woman crushed when a 350-pound man accidentally fell on her inside a gaming house. The writing is filled with quirky details that reveal the reporter’s depth of knowledge about his subject and the level of confidence he must inspire in his sources. It was an informative and entertaining examination of an important and problematic subject – tribal sovereignty.”

Judged by Lee Cearnal, projects editor, and Lise Olsen, investigative reporter, both of the Houston Chronicle. Olsen is a former director of the Investigative Reporters and Editors-Mexico. Olsen did preliminary judging, identifying 10 finalists, and Cearnal handled the final round of judging, selecting the first, second and third place winners. 32 entries.

Environment and Natural Resources Reporting

First Place: Tom Knudson, The Sacramento Bee.

Second Place: David Danelski and Douglas E. Beeman,
The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.

Third Place: Linda V. Mapes and Eric Sorensen, The Seattle Times.

Knudson won first place with “State of Denial.”

“In a global economy, the classic environmental sayings of ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’ and ‘Not in My Backyard’ have taken on whole new meanings,” the judge wrote. “In ‘State of Denial,’ Knudson shows that in the state of California these mantras of environmental consciousness have themselves become fallacies. While people are indeed acting locally in California, passing stringent environmental laws to protect the forests and fish in their backyards, they are not even thinking about the consequences of their consumption globally – where, as Knudson shows, it often leads to environmental destruction.

“Over the last year or so, many environmental reporters, and those who teach environmental journalism have talked about how consumption is one of the most under-reported topics on the environmental beat. Knudson, whether he read these accounts or not, answered their calls. By taking his readers half a world away, where their First World thirst for wood, oil and fish has clear cut forests and destroyed rainforest streams Knudson shows that environmental responsibility in the age of globalization extends to the planet. His writing, both lucid and intimately descriptive, takes the reader on a journey that makes ‘the out of sight, and out of mind’ tangible.”

Second place went to Danelski and Beeman for “Perchlorate in Produce.”

“When The Press-Enterprise decided to test lettuce grown in the Imperial Valley for a chemical used in rocket fuel and road flares, the newspaper took matters into its own hands,” the judge wrote. “Its special report, ‘Perchlorate in Produce’ contained all of the elements of outstanding journalism: a government that dropped the ball; an unanswered question about contamination in our food supply and health; a story that spawned action. But it was also a strong local story, since much of the nation’s winter lettuce crop is grown on the newspaper’s beat.

“Often, it is easy as environmental reporters to simply report about an anecdotal concern about contamination. But The Press-Enterprise quantified it, and did its homework in chasing down the documents that supported why the government hadn’t done anything about it.”

Mapes and Sorensen grabbed third place with “Natural Wonders.”

“The series stood out for what it was not,” the judge wrote. “It didn’t send reporters around the world to chase down a story. It didn’t entail filing numerous Freedom of Information Act requests. There was no testing for contamination of soil, air or water. Nothing about it screamed ‘breaking news.’ Yet by focusing simply on what exists in the natural world, and pairing those observations with good writing, Mapes and Sorensen’s stories and columns on newts and ravens are much more powerful. Through storytelling, they bring Washington’s environment alive, exposing their readers to a world that they always knew was there, but perhaps didn’t have the time to fully explore.

“When the first questions of editors are often So what?, Who cares?, How with this affect people?, the ‘Natural Wonders’ series shows that natural resources and environment reporting can be compelling, educational, and have impact without being centered around human beings. That’s this series’ greatest lesson.”

Judged by Dina Cappiello, environment writer, The Houston Chronicle. 59 entries.

Spot News Reporting

First Place: Staff, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.

Second Place: David Bowermaster, Dominic Gates and staff, The Seattle Times.

Third Place: Staff, The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Press-Enterprise staff took first place with its coverage of the California wildfires.

“From its spectacular front page photograph under the chilling headline, ‘There’s Northing We Can Do To Stop It,’ to its essential lists of school and road closings, of shelters and information hotlines, the Press-Enteprise’s edition of Thursday, Oct. 30, was an extraordinary example of a newspaper’s response to a huge local story that – it is no exaggeration to say – was also of life and death importance to its readers,” the judge wrote. “The Press-Enterprise performance on this day combined intelligent editing, smart story selection, vivid writing, wonderful photography and excellent packaging. There was drama aplenty – what could be more compelling than the second paragraph of Douglas E. Beeman’s lede story, ‘Frustrated firefighters have no idea when it will stop, or even how to stop it,’ mixed in with many many useful stories about coping with such a large scale disruption of normal life in the community. The paper took pains to tell the stories of individuals, of victims, of refugees, of firefighters and even of the person suspected of having set the fire. It was a complete, comprehensive and highly professional performance from all disciplines in the newsroom.”

Second place went to The Seattle Times staff for coverage of the shake-up at Boeing.

“This is business journalism at its finest,” the judge wrote. “Even the most cursory glance at the excellent front-page package revealed the rich subtleties of this story: The old CEO is out in an ethics scandal, but the new person carries baggage of his own, and many ‘cringed’ at his return, in the memorable phrase from David Bowermaster’s front page lede story. The Times’ Boeing package was strong on background, analysis and explanation. But lest a reader think it would all be the meat and potatoes of a business story, there were profiles, reactions and a clear and forthright column by Stephen H. Dunphy which a headline writer captured like this: ‘Stonecipher a bad choice.’ Clearly, this was no coronation, and Seattle readers were given a full, comprehensive and intelligent package explaining the nuances of it.”

The Union-Tribune grabbed third place with its coverage of the California wildfires.

“The Union-Tribune’s coverage of the fires for the edition of Monday, Oct. 27, was complete, comprehensive and dramatic,” the judge wrote. “It was also beautifully packaged and well-told visually. The photography was superb. John Gibbons’ photograph on page A4 of a wave of flame approaching a suburban subdivision told in one frame what must have been the nerve-wracking story of thousands of people on that day. Most notable of the entire paper was David Hardman’s color graphic on page A10 which told the story of the fires’ progression in an efficient, effective way that no story could have matched.”

Judged by Tony Barbieri, managing editor, The Baltimore Sun. 82 entries.

General Reporting

First Place: Craig Welch, The Seattle Times.

Second Place: Staff, The Oregonian.

Third Place: Dani Dodge, The Ventura County (Calif.) Star.

Welch earned first place with â⒬ŔThe Great Geoduck Caper.â⒬

“This piece is an extraordinary journey through the underworld (and underwater) of a clam poacher,” the judge wrote. “I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to make an odd creature like the geoduck so fascinating. Craig Welch’s story is a well-constructed account of wildlife officers laying a trap to catch a clam bandit. But it’s also a compelling character portrait of the thief who is a chameleon – a government informant who was working both sides as he illegally harvested geoduck. I was pulled along by the tight story-telling that advanced the action with scenes and dialogue. While it’s a fascinating character sketch and a fine piece of narrative, it’s also a great example of clear explanatory reporting.”

Second place went to The Oregonian’s staff for “Swimming for their lives in an angry sea.”

“A horrifying recounting of a fishing boat’s calamitous attempt to leave Tillamook Bay for fishing grounds off the Oregon coast, and the deaths of nine people when the boat capsized in rugged waters,” the judge wrote. “This story is painstakingly reported from accounts of survivors, other witnesses and rescuers. The extraordinary detail takes readers through the ordinary calm of the morning as fishermen prepared for their day, then into the uncertainty of crossing the bar, and finally into the tumultuous capsizing and rescue attempts.”

Dodge grabbed third place with “The firefight.”

“A beautiful reconstruction of the horrific wildfires that swept through the county, destroying homes and devastating lives,” the judge wrote. “This piece stands out for the wealth of human voices telling first-hand of the anxiety, then fear, and finally, the terrible pain of loss. The interviews with firefighters combine to almost humanize the fires as living, thinking, calculating villains.”

Judged by Sherry Chisenhall, managing editor; Marcia Werts, assistant managing editor; Cynthia Wilson, business editor; Tom Schaefer, features editor; senior journalists Roy Wenzl, Dion Lefler and Suzanne Perez-Tobias; and reporters Stan Finger and Ron Sylvester, all of The Wichita Eagle. 89 entries.

Explanatory Reporting

First Place: George Hostetter, The Fresno Bee.

Second Place: Pat Reed, The New Mexican, Santa Fe.

Third Place: Staff, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.

Hostetter earned first place with “Broke – and Broken.”

“Sometimes, the important stories lie under our noses – waiting for a fresh, insightful look at the forces that shape out lives,” the judge wrote. “Hostetter’s thoughtful analysis of the chronic depression gripping California’s central San Joaquin Valley provides a comprehensive look at a region that, in his own words, is both ‘broke – and broken.’ Hostetter deftly blends personal stories, hard statistics, and a keen sense of history to explain the valley’s modern day story of riches to rags – and the people buffeted by the cross currents of changing times.”

Second place went to Reed for “Post War: A Look at Life in Northern Iraq After Saddam.”

“When the battle for Baghdad ended and most reporters headed home, Pat Reed’s work in Iraq was just beginning,” the judge wrote. “The result, a series of slice-of-life reports on Iraqi Kurds in the post-Saddam era, attest that her timing was perfect. In two months as an invited human-rights worker and one month as a journalist, Reed’s captured evocative glimpses of the turbulent social and economic landscape – expressed in the hopes and fears of the people who live in the aftermath of war.”

The Press-Enterprise staff grabbed third place with “Breaking the Silence.”

“The staff of The Press-Enterprise cut through taboos, red tape and popular misconceptions to tell the story of the victims of sexual assault – a story whose details are as chilling as they are compelling,” the judge wrote. “Counseling can help individual victims of such crimes to right their lives, by the team report entitled ‘Breaking the Silence’ did what no clinic can – enabled a handful of courageous individuals share their stories with those who might otherwise never be moved to understand.”

Judged by Mike Toner, science writer, Atlanta Journal and Constitution. 74 entries.

Project Reporting

First Place: Tom Hallman Jr., The Oregonian.

Second Place: Connie Cone Sexton, The Arizona Republic.

Third Place: Staff, Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Hallman earned first place with “Fighting for Life on Level 3.”

“Hallman’s gripping stories about life and death in the neonatal ward at North Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Hospital are uplifting and heartbreaking,” the judge wrote. “Given unusual access, Hallman makes a smart decision to focus on the nurses who take extraordinary care of the critically ill babies – even as they struggle to maintain their emotional distance. The writing is powerful yet perfectly restrained. Readers may never forget the images of the Van Arnam family’s last moments with their dying baby Jonah. This series has an unbeatable combination of smart reporting, detailed writing and a deeply interesting setting.”

Second place went to Sexton for “Life and Death: One Family’s Yearlong Journey.”

“This straightforward account of the last months of Chris Kazanas’ life is truly an emotionally draining journey,” the judge wrote. “This series was not only filled with heartwrenching moments between a terminally ill mother and wife and her family but it also confronted the real issues that arise when a loved one is close to death – such as finances and child care. The paper, its reporter and its photographer deserve credit for seeing this story past Chris Kazanas’ death – chronicling how the family was dealing with their loss. This is a series that is sure to leave a lasting impression on readers.”

The Star-Bulletin staff garnered third place with “Ice Storm: Epidemic of the Islands.”

“The Star-Bulletin provided deep reporting on an issue that had received plenty of coverage over the years – the use of crystal methamphetamine,” the judge wrote. “The paper provided personal stories that showed the effect of the drug on families and communities. It uncovered systemic failures by police, courts and prisons to gauge the level of use. It’s depth of reporting is even more impressive given that it was forced to move its publication date up after the government organized a summit on the issue. This was an important effort that forced authorities to begin taking steps to address a state crisis.”

Judged by John Ferraro, investigations editor, The Hartford Courant. 79 entries.

Investigative Reporting

First Place: Christine Willmsen and Maureen O’Hagan, The Seattle Times.

Second Place: Amy Herdy and Miles Moffeit, The Denver Post.

Third Place: Emile Bazar and Sam Stanton, The Sacramento Bee.

Willmsen and O’Hagan earned first place with “Coaches who prey,” which examined how 159 coaches in Washington have been reprimanded or fired for sexual misconduct in the past decade – and 98 continued to coach or teach as schools, the state and even some parents looked the other way.

“This is powerful and original work that must have shocked, saddened and angered the readers of the Times,” the judge wrote. “The stories were impressive for both their depth and their scope. The numbers themselves were shocking, and the attention to detail in so many cases was striking. My only significant criticism is that I was frustrated by the failure to name and confront many of the school principals or other school officials who were culpable by their action or inaction.”

Second place went to Herdy and Moffeit for “Betrayal in the ranks,” a nine-month investigation that found rape and domestic violence often went unreported and unpunished in the military. More than 60 sexual assault and domestic violence victims talked about their experiences.

“Another very impressive entry,” the judge wrote. “Like the Seattle Times series, this entry was strong with both the numbers and the personal stories. The power of all the emotional stories by women willing to be named and photographed is backed by solid stats and other data, and the efforts to hold top officers and defense officials accountable were impressive.”

Bazar and Stanton grabbed third place with “Liberty in the balance,” which explored how the crackdown on terrorism has come into conflict with civil liberties in America.

“The Bee deserves credit for an in-depth look at an important topic that has been largely ignored by the mainstream press,” the judge wrote. “Not sure this was the best category for this entry, but the work was impressive.”

Judged by Bill Krueger, investigative reporter, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C. 44 entries.

Feature Writing, Short Form

First Place: Marc Ramirez, The Seattle Times.

Second Place: Herb Benham, The Bakersfield Californian.

Third Place: Patricia Yollin, San Francisco Chronicle.

Ramirez won first place with “Hi, I’m Larry.”

“A superb narrative about the self-appointed greeter at Ravenna Park in Seattle, a man with a cognitive disability who assumed the ad-hoc role of welcoming visitors 14 years ago,” the judge wrote. “The story captures both his deliberate lifestyle and his sunny spirit in equal measure. A joy to read.”

Second place went to Benham for “A Clean House.”

“A remarkable story beautifully told about a woman who had her first child at 13, couldn’t read until she was 70 and spent her life cleaning houses to put her five children through college – two earned Ph.D.s,” the judge wrote. “Perfectly paced, and rich with details.”

Yollin snagged third place with “Zoo penguins on futile migration.”

“A quirky story that could have told itself, but the writer used masterful imagery and a wealth of well-reported information to deliver a thoroughly delightful tale about the circling penguins at the San Francisco Zoo,” the judge wrote.

Judged by Jeanne Abbott, assistant managing editor for features, Des Moines Register. 125 entries.

Feature Writing, Long Form

First Place: Joan Ryan, San Francisco Chronicle.

Second Place: John Koopman, San Francisco Chronicle.

Third Place: Richard Lake, Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Ryan won first place with a profile of two girls who became hopelessly lost in San Francisco’s juvenile system.

“The tale of two very sad young lives is compelling enough, but this presentation is extraordinary,” the judge wrote. “The reporter took me places I didn’t really want to go but I couldn’t turn away, if for no other reason than hoping a happy ending was on the next page. The writing is exceptionally smooth, defying the jolting experiences in this article. The reporting appears to be very thorough. Lots of depth. There are jaw-dropping details included, especially considering the ages of these girls. The peg for this story is that more girls are entering the court systems across the country, but Ryan made this case without drowning in stats or losing the focus on the girls.

“It’s a story well organized, flowing from one crisis to the next while inserting background in just the right spots. You’re left amazed, saddened and wanting more.”

Second place went to Koopman for a chronicle of the Third Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment during the Iraq war.

“You always need a really good reason for inserting yourself into a story,” the judge wrote. “Standing on a battlefield, beside soldiers firing their weapons during a war qualifies. Koopmen appeared to have incredible access that put him right on the front lines. And although he was part of the story he never tried to dominate it. He told about the heroics of the soldiers without getting rah-rah, while also noting the plight of the Iraqis caught in this war, even the soldiers who became prisoners.

“His description of the wounded, his talk with the 18-year-old soldier, his account of returning to a spot to find a soldier he’d been following on the ground, and the ending – learning that the soldier didn’t recover. You hate to label such a story good stuff – but it is.”

Lake snagged third place with a profile of a 17-year-old girl who survived a car wreck that killed two friends.

“Great human interest story,” the judge wrote. “This was a good one to go after. Many Review-Journal readers probably read the original crash story and wanted to know what’s happened since. There’s more than enough drama and Lake uses the events effectively. He paints a graphic picture of Ashley’s altered life – from the opening scene where she is trying to warn other teens.

“He uses quotes very effectively, allowing the victims to tell the story. He follows Ashley through her tentative steps forward and backward. A real story that makes you gasp, cry, feel and root for the victim.”

Judged by Gina Seay, deputy features editor, The Hartford Courant. 163 entries.

Business and Financial Reporting

First Place: Mark Calvey, Daniel S. Levine and Elizabeth Browne, San Francisco Business Times.

Second Place: Gail Kinsey Hill and Brent Hunsberger, The Oregonian.

Third Place: Chris Lydgate, Willamette Week, Portland.

Calvey won first place with a package on the high cost of workers’ compensation in California.

“Calvey’s mainbar story took an issue that most would find deadly dull and made it come alive,” the judge wrote. “He explained the problem, how it is affecting employers and employees, who is benefiting, who is suffering and what is being done. He did it all without talking over readers’ heads or talking down to them. He used example after example to explain how it affects large and small employers alike. A sidebar by Levine added insight into how some mployers’ efforts to control costs has led them to break the law. A smaller sidebar by Browne traced the history of changes in workers’ compensation in California since 1995.”

Second place went to Hill and Hunsberger for a backgrounder on the sale, announced the previous week, of Oregon’s largest power utility by bankrupt Enron.

“The buyers are an out-of-state investor group who shrewdly recruited a local team of high-profile backers that included a former Oregon governor,” the judge wrote. “During the half week after the announcement, writers Hill and Hunsberger were able to retrace two years of negotiations that preceded the announcement. They told what happened with textured details and retraced the histories of key players. They found common links and curious conflicts that provided added drama.”

Lydgate snagged third place with a profile of a bankruptcy trustee whose nickname is “The Liquidator.”

“Lydgate clearly spent a lot of time with Oregon bankruptcy trustee Michael Grassmueck and the people who pass through his office,” the judge wrote. “The resulting story provides valuable information about the bankruptcy system, while presenting a compelling look at the man who decides whether you keep your wedding ring or your house when you declare bankruptcy. The stories of the people who have passed through Grassmueck’s office are the details that make this piece so compelling.”

Judged by David Elbert, business editor, Des Moines Register. 106 entries.

Sports Reporting

First Place: Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post.

Second Place: Mark Zeigler, The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Third Place: Eric Prisbell, The Fresno Bee.

Saunders won first place with a profile of a former Colorado high school basketball star who overcame bipolar disorder and a battle over NCAA rules to play for the University of Louisville.

“Saunders tackled a subject that is too rarely visited on sports pages, and he was able to tell it with clarity and poignancy without being maudlin through the experiences of Kassidi Bishop, a young college basketball player,” the judges wrote. “He, obviously, was able to win the confidence of Kassidi and her family and friends in order to get beyond the medical description of bipolar disorder and relate it in human terms – how it affects the person, what it means to the family, what is being done and what needs to be done.

“And, in a sidebar, he wrote of other athletes faced with the same condition and the impact it has had on their lives. Extremely well reported, nicely crafted and wonderfully written. The story engages the reader from start to finish.”

Second place went to Zeigler for an in-depth report on the Badwater Ultramarathon, a two-day race in which runners cover 135 miles from the bottom of Death Valley to the top of Mount Whitney.

“Zeigler took on what could have been a deadly dull assignment and turned into an exciting piece of journalism, in words and pictures,” the judges wrote. “The reader feels the pain and joy of the contestants, and as one survivor said, we were allowed to play in the backyard of the gods for a while. Well written, and some terrific pictures.”

Prisbell snagged third place with an investigation into academic fraud in the Fresno State basketball program under Coach Jerry Tarkanian.

“This is an example of good, old-fashioned reporting in the area of sports, the judges wrote. “Sports news that emerges, as it should, on the front page. Hard news about the biggest game in town that is likely to bring down wrath from supporters, not to mention the coach and players.

“Eric made his case well, wrote it clearly and gave everyone an opportunity to air their views – And, if you will excuse an editorial comment, I loved the quote from Tarkanian: “In 37 years of coaching, I’ve never had a case of academic fraud. I can’t believe what you are saying is accurate. We have always taken academics very seriously.”

Judged by Gregory Favre, distinguished fellow in journalism values, Poynter Insitute, with assistance from William Endicott, former deputy managing editor of The Sacramento Bee. 75 entries.

General Interest Column Writing

First Place: Robert L. Jamieson Jr., Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Second Place: Doug Robinson, Deseret Morning News, Salt Lake City.

Third Place: Rob Perez, Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Jamieson won first place with a portfolio of three columns.

“Jamieson’s ‘Senseless gunfire changes a young life’ put you right at the scene of Mahmoud’s shooting,” the judge wrote. “You felt his anguish, his girlfriend’s and the sense this young man’s life was spinning out of control because of circumstances beyond his control. The touch at the end of ‘Racism is only a short cab ride away,’ where Jamieson reveals the race of the cab driver, is Pulitzer-worthy, though l bet he didn’t get one. But if Jamieson keeps writing columns like this, a Pulitzer can’t be far away.”

Second place went to Robinson for his portfolio.

“From the hysterically funny ‘Cops gots to know grammar’ to the poignant ‘Grim news comes in dark blue’ to the take-no-prisoners attitude conveyed toward those know-it-alls who presume they know all about what it takes to be a teacher, Robinson displayed extraordinary range. Too bad for him Jamieson was in the same group.”

Perez took third place with three “Raising Cane”columns.

“No, he wasn’t selected because of the name of the column!” the judge wrote. “Perez made it for doing columns exposing the perks of government officials to the hardships of common folks to petty corruption by taxi cab dispatchers. This is what journalism is all about, isn’t it?”

Judged by Greg Kane, columnist, The Baltimore Sun. 66 entries.

Special Topic Column Writing

First Place: Daniel Weintraub, The Sacramento Bee.

Second Place: Jen Graves, The News Tribune, Tacoma.

Third Place (tie): Joni Balter, The Seattle Times.

Third Place (tie): Heidi Knapp Rinella, Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Weintraub won first place with three columns on the California recall election that ousted Gov. Gray Davis and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Weintraub was early to spot a momentous development in California Politics – the recall of Gov. Gray Davis and the rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger – and wrote uncannily prescient columns making sense of what was going on,” the judge wrote. “Anyone wanting to understand those events even now can hardly do better than to read what Weintraub had to say.”

Second place went to Jen Graves for three columns on the arts.

“Graves has a gift rare among newspaper writers: the capacity to repeatedly surprise and stimulate the reader,” the judge wrote. “Her columns, written in a style that is simultaneously relaxed and packed with meaning, explores art issues in a way that makes them not only understandable to the lay person but engaging and even urgent.”

Balter grabbed one third place prize.

“Balter’s columns on Seattle politics and government vibrate with color and sass, but her lively prose supports arguments that are clearly reasoned and factually documented,” the judge wrote. “She provides insights that will inform and provoke even someone wholly unfamiliar with her local political scene.”

Rinella snagged the other third place award.

“Rinella comes across as the ideal dinner companion,” the judge wrote. “Her restaurant reviews are disarmingly personal, unfailingly candid, thoroughly charming and often very funny. Just as a meal at a restaurant is about more than food, so are her reviews, with each one offering the reader a stimulating full-immersion experience.”

Judged by Steve Chapman, columnist and editorial writer, Chicago Tribune. 89 entries.

Headline Writing

First Place: Tom Sellers, The Sacramento Bee.

Second Place: Peter Sibley, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson.

Third Place (tie): Jake Arnold, The Oregonian.

Third Place (tie): Bill Smull, The News Tribune, Tacoma.

Sellers won first place with a portfolio of news headlines.

“Does – under God – do justice to all?”

“This headline for an article on the Pledge of Allegiance case before the Supreme Court encapsulates two values most commonly cited, deference to the Deity and governmental neutrality in a pluralistic society, in seven words,” the judge wrote.

“Try to/ remember/ a warmer/ September”

“The article on record high temperatures for the month plays deftly with the allusion to the song about nostalgia,” the judge wrote. “Cleverly done without being heavy-handed or obtrusive.”

Second place went to Sibley for a news portfolio that included:

“Dire fight/over Iraqi/electricity”

“Poll finds/ testy, tired/ schools”

“Of mice and men’s DNA”

“The first two headlines win admiration for what they are able to say in a tight, one-column count,” the judge wrote. “The deck on the first, ‘Saboteurs wreak chaos/ at nation’s No. 2 oil plant,’ and on the second, ‘Top concerns: Unruly kids/ and demoralized teachers,’ enlarge on the meaning of the main heads without duplicating information. Good job. The third, on the findings of genome research on the common genetic elements in the makeup of human beings and mice, is another deft allusion.”

Arnold took one third place prize with a news portfolio that included:

“Free public education”

(deck) “Conditions under the term ‘free’ do not include things such as workbooks, sports,/ activities, special classes, locks and school supplies, which can run hundreds of dollars”

“This centerpiece feature on a section front offered the space to do something out of the ordinary, and the headline writer took maximum advantage of it,” the judge wrote.

Smull grabbed the other third place prize with a features portfolio that included:

“So now there’s a movie
of ‘Cat in the Hat’
It’s dopey, it’s dorky
Why did they do that?”

“The temptation to imitate Dr. Seuss must have been strong, and there are times when it is right to give in to temptation,” the judge wrote.

Judged by John E. McIntyre, president, American Copy Editors Society, and assistant managing editor/copy desk, The Baltimore Sun. 73 entries.

Editorial Writing

First Place: Jackman Wilson, The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore.

Second Place: John Pope, Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Third Place: Gail Marshall, The Fresno Bee.

Wilson won first place with “The Case Against War,” an editorial running two full columns that argued the Bush administration’s go-it-alone strategy in Iraq would damage the United States’ standing as a nation guided by universal ideals.

“This prescient editorial’s expansive scope, cogent argumentation and elevated, nonpartisan tone make it one of the finest expressions of opinion we’ve seen on the Iraq War,” the judges wrote.

Second place went to Pope for “Memo to council: Pay up,” which urged the Long Beach City Council to abandon a court appeal and pay $1.75 million to a man falsely accused of being a serial rapist.

“The editorial’s effective narrative appeals both to the empathy and common sense of readers (and City Council members) as it builds to a compelling plea: Call a halt to protracted legal appeals in the case of an innocent man whose nightmare didn’t end when he was cleared,” the judges wrote. “In making its points, this editorial contains just the right mix of reason and emotion.”

Marshall garnered third place with “End the shame,” which urged Fresno to build a network of mental health care for its children.

“This well-reasoned editorial exerts strong community leadership by calling for a comprehensive set of both broad and specific actions to improve mental-health services for children,” the judges wrote. “It is clear that considerable reporting undergirds this persuasive piece.”

Judged by Susan J. Albright, editor of the editorial pages, and Ron Meador, editorial writer, Star Tribune, Minneapolis. 59 entries.

News Photography

First Place: Manny Crisostomo, The Sacramento Bee.

Second Place: William Lewis III, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.

Third Place: Christopher Chung, The Press-Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Crisostomo earned first place with a photo of a protester caught in a tug of war between Highway Patrol officers and demonstrators as officers armed with nonlethal shotguns confronted a crowd demonstrating against genetically engineered crops outside the state Capitol.

“The photographer captured the height of the moment of a literal tug of war between protestors and police,” the judges wrote. “The image catches the emotion, the decisive moment along with layered composition. The proximity of the photographer to the event makes the reader feel like you’re standing right there. It’s one of those photographs where the reader lingers and is able to find lots of visual tidbits. Excellent storytelling photo.”

Second place went to Lewis for a photo of a fire captain rescuing a man trapped under mud, boulders, tree trunks and other debris as a mudslide swept through a campground.

“The judges truly appreciate the amount of effort the photographer took just to get into the scene to capture this moment under such difficult shooting conditions,” the judges wrote. “The caption added a third dimension to the rescue situation, the anguish of the trapped man who is more worried about his missing daughter than his own situation. The photographer managed to find and tell a personal story within a spot news weather photo. This was a good marriage of emotional and visual appeal and strong photo reporting.”

Chung grabbed third place with a photo of a mother comforting her 13-year-old son at the funeral for another son, who was killed in a tank accident in Iraq.

“This funeral stood out among the numerous grieving photos,” the judges wrote. “The consoling and connective gestures between family members made this an easy winner. There’s a lot going on in this picture that keeps your eye continually moving, from one person to the next then circling again only to find more details and subtleties in the flowers, the pins, the hugs, the hands. It’s a photo that also preserves the dignity of the subjects without being too intrusive. Good choice of moment, composition and lens. Well done.”

Judged by Linda Salazar, night photo editor for The Washington Post, and John H. Davidson of Creative Eye Consulting and a former assistant managing editor for visuals at the Dallas Morning News. 75 entries.

Feature Photography

First Place: Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News.

Second Place: Renee Byer, The Sacramento Bee.

Third Place: Dan Pelle, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane.

Roth earned first place with a shot of a father and son planting green beans on the family farm.

“In the first place image, the photographer captured a timeless moment between father and son,” the judge wrote. “It was the overwhelming choice of the judges.”

Second place went to Byer.

“Second place captured a funny moment, was cleverly composed,” the judge wrote. “Photographer showed patience in waiting for the best moment.”

Pelle grabbed third place with a shot of a girl playing amid gigantic bubbles.

“Third place showed wonderful use of light in capturing an intriguing image that everyone can relate to,” the judge wrote.

Judged by Clem Murray, director of photography, The Philadelphia Inquirer. 110 entries.

Sports Photography

First Place: Amy Beth Bennett, Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Second Place: Lacy Atkins, San Francisco Chronicle.

Third Place: R.J. Sangosti, Loveland (Colo.) Daily Reporter-Herald.

Bennett won first place with a shot of Laila Ali landing a right to the face of Valerie Mahfood as she won the women’s super middleweight title in Las Vegas. Ali is the daughter of boxer Muhammad Ali.

“Very difficult decision between first and second place,” the judge wrote. “Two great peak action sports photos, but the judges went with the boxing because we felt it was a little more difficult to capture this particular moment: the distorted face, the sweat flying, the blood on the glove and the great expressions.”

Second place went to Atkins for a shot of Red Sox players Johnny Damon and Damian Jackson colliding as they pursued a flyball during a playoff game against the Oakland A’s. Damon was knocked unconscious.

“Second place had great elements, too,” the judge wrote. “If we could have had co-first place we would have done so.”

Sangosti grabbed third place with a shot of 13-year-old Taylor Sishc hitting the water during a dive at the junior national championships.

“Third place is an absolutely beautiful image, perfectly lit, elegant composition and perfect timing,” the judge wrote.

Judged by Clem Murray, director of photography, The Philadelphia Inquirer. 63 entries.

Informational graphics

First Place: Mark Waters and Pat Flannery, The Arizona Republic.

Second Place: Steve Cowden and Terry Richard, The Oregonian.

Third Place: Karl Kahler, Phil Loubere, Frank Sweeney, Pai, Kevin Wendt, Matt Mansfield, San Jose Mercury News.

Waters and Flannery earned first place with “Raised in a cornfield,” a double truck looking at the new Phoenix Coyotes hockey arena.

“By far the most comprehensive look at a topic in the graphics category,” the judges wrote. “It answered many, if not all, of the questions a reader might have about the new arena. It was easy to follow, not cluttered, and the colors were easy on the eye (probably the newspaper’s desert palette).”

Second place went to Cowden and Richard for “Tread on Me,” a full page.

“Through the use of three-dimensional topographical illustrations and the accompanying photos, the graphic takes the readers on an informational trip through five Oregon hiking trails,” the judges wrote. “The quick highlights of each trail, combined with the graphic showing the elevation, was useful and attractive. The minimal use of overprinted type and the contrasting color of the trails made the information very easy to follow.”

Kahler, Loubere, Sweeney, Pai, Mansfield and Wendt grabbed third place with “Darkness and Flames,” a double truck.

“The combination of photos and graphics takes the readers through a maze of overwhelming Southern California fires,” the judges wrote. “The dominant map with its vivid colors marking the fires and its quick-hit informational boxes were easy to follow. The addition of the box on firefighting strategy and equipment enhanced the package.”

Judged by Marie Geary, Page One editor; Jim Kirchner, day news editor; Kim Kolarik, assistant presentation editor; Mike Mudd, sports chief designer; James Wallace, director of photography; all of The Courier-Journal of Louisville. 70 entries.


First Place: John Alvin, The Fresno Bee.

Second Place: Gabriel Utasi, The Fresno Bee.

Third Place (tie): Joseph Wagner, Rocky Mountain News.

Third Place (tie): Margaret Spengler, The Sacramento Bee.

Alvin won first place with “Sensory Perception,” which illustrated a story about the Blossom Trail through Fresno County’s fruit orchards.

“Without any words, this vivid illustration captured the essence of the story,” the judges wrote. “All the judges were united in their vote as they discussed the detail of the flowers in the exterior flowing through the tree branches that seemed to represent nerves of the body connecting to the brain.”

Second place went to Utasi for “The Rape Myths.”

“The illustration was striking, conveying fear of strange hands on the woman’s body,” the judges wrote. “It was simple in its message and use of color, yet revealed the complexity of the violation. It easily could have been in first place.”

Wagner took one third place with “A leaner, meaner UAL.”

“A clever drawing using the plane to show power through the engine-bulging biceps and a menacing look through the bared teeth of the cockpit,” the judges wrote. “The illustration was enhanced through the subtle shadow beneath the plane and the background.”

Spengler grabbed the other third place with “The great pumpkin.”

“This drawing made you smile and made you want to read the message,” the judges wrote. “It was integrated very well into the package design. The use of art type for the headline, deck and refer was the right approach for the seasonal topic, which could have been hackneyed. It was downright cute!”

Judged by Marie Geary, Page One editor; Jim Kirchner, day news editor; Kim Kolarik, assistant presentation editor; Mike Mudd, sports chief designer; James Wallace, director of photography; all of The Courier-Journal of Louisville. 81 entries.

Editorial Cartooning

First Place: Rex Babin, The Sacramento Bee.

Second Place: Stephen Breen, The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Third Place: Steve Benson, The Arizona Republic.

Babin took first place with a portfolio that included Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger groping under the skirt of the goddess Minerva on the state’s Great Seal and Halliburton executives in a limousine lined up behind U.S. tanks in Iraq saying, “Are we there yet?”

“Babin’s work was amazing,” the judge wrote. “His unique drawing style and wry wit coupled with his sharp sense of satire made him the Best in the West. Rex’s cartoon of Halliburton waiting to drive into Iraq was a blistering attack, and his cartoons on the California recall mess were strong and quite funny.”

Second place went to Breen for a portfolio that included a dove bearing a “U.S. troops in Iraq” banner morphing into a target duck from a carnival midway and a family that survived the California wildfires but lost its home telling an insurance agent that the family’s valuables are “all present and accounted for.”

“Breen’s work was uniformly funny and very well drawn,” the judge wrote. “His ‘sitting ducks’ cartoon was simple, to the point and strong. His cartoon on the California wildfires was very touching. Well done.”

Benson grabbed third place with a portfolio that included Secretary of State Colin Powell pointing to a blank sheet of paper while asking the United Nations to imagine evidence of mobile biological weapons laboratories and Ozzy Osbourne bragging that he once was taking 42 pills a day and Rush Limbaugh asking for the name of his doctor.

“Benson is a master draftsman,” the judge wrote. “His cartoons are so much fun to look at. Every detail is clean, smooth and well thought out. His Colin Powell cartoon was tough and right on point. The Ozzy/Rush cartoon was laugh-out-loud funny.”

Judged by Walt Handelsman, editorial cartoonist, Newsday. 21 entries.

Words, Editing and Design

First Place: Staff, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson.

Second Place: Paul Arnett, Michael Rovner, Ben Henry, Kip Aoki and Randy Cadiente, Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Third Place (tie): Staff, San Jose Mercury News.

Third Place (tie): Staff, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson.

The Daily Star staff earned first place with “24 Hours on the Border,” a special report.

“Very clear, enterprising coverage of an issue of major significance,” the judges wrote. “The type is broken up effectively, making for an easy read. Overall, the report was well executed and integrated beautifully. The photos are compelling, with one judge commenting that because they are so good, she wanted to read every caption. The lead image on the cover is strong enough to make readers want to turn the page. What’s especially nice about this presentation is that no design gimmicks were used. Editors/designers allowed the compelling photos and stories to lead the design. Kudos to all those involved.”

Second place went to a full-color comic book previewing the University of Hawaii’s football season.

“This creative entry shows a lot of guts and workmanship, not to mention great draftsmanship,” the judges wrote. “It is an excellent integration of news with comic book aspects without one taking away from the other. Those involved in this project really thought outside of the box. It is an innovative way of attempting to reach young readers. Excellent work.”

The Mercury News staff took one third place prize with a package on the California wildfires.

“We liked the strong headlines with good display type (although smaller teasers might have facilitated getting more of the photo above the fold on the cover),” the judges wrote. “This presentation is well executed and very informative without burdening the reader with too much text. The one-page graphic is especially impressive. Great job.”

The Daily Star staff grabbed the other third-place prize with “Smoke, Flames & Ash: The Story of the Aspen Fire.”

“We found the photography in this special section to be outstanding,” the judges wrote. “This is a stunning display of photography and photo editing. The placement of thumbnails and quotes at the bottom of pages is a great touch. Our only criticism is that the headline typography could have been better executed. Great job.”

Judged by Ursula Albert, features/design editor; Paul Wallen, managing editor of visuals; Heather McCarthy, senior design editor; and

Pete Gorski, news artist; all of the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine. 83 entries.

Online Enterprise reporting

First Place: Rebecca Risch, The Denver Post and denverpost.com.

Second Place: Christine Willmsen, Maureen O’Hagan, James Neff, Tracy Cutchlow, Matthew Martin and Carlin Pressnall, The Seattle Times and seattletimes.com.

Third Place: Staff, Arizona Daily Star and azstarnet.com, Tucson.

Risch won first place for “Betrayal in the ranks,” a nine-month investigation that found rape and domestic violence often went unreported and unpunished in the military. More than 60 sexual assault and domestic violence victims talked about their experiences.

“It’s not often a judge in a newspaper contest will take more than two hours reviewing a single entry, but it’s rare to come across an entry like the online version of The Denver Post’s riveting three-part series ‘Betrayal in the Ranks,'” the judge wrote. “This entry is a must-read for any newspaper site editor currently working with the newsroom on a big project. It’s obvious that the online presentation of the series was planned well in advance with an eye toward additional online resources that would enhance the package. The result: a complete package that highlights the added benefits of online news publication – video, audio, slide presentations, organized victim profiles and plenty of documents. The DenverPost.com staff had done justice to the excellent reporting work of Amy Herd and Miles Moffeit. A great touch is the downloadable Kent Format Digital Newsbook. If a reader wants to save the series to be read the old-fashioned way, the Newsbook delivers a printable version that is designed to be easy to read and use.”

Second place went to Willmsen, O’Hagan, Neff, Cutchlow, Martin, Pressnall and Bills for “Coaches who prey,” which examined how 159 coaches in Washington have been reprimanded or fired for sexual misconduct in the past decade – and 98 continued to coach or teach as schools, the state and even some parents looked the other way.

“We’ve all seen online databases for school districts’ performances on standardized tests, but a database on coaches accused of sexual misconduct with students?” the judge wrote. “Even in the circulation area of a large metropolitan daily, are there enough cases to require a database? In the case of The Seattle Times, at least, the shocking answer is yes. The newsroom and online staff at the Times performs a great public service with its special section. While the reporting and photography are excellent, the database jumps out because of its uniqueness. Want to look up coaching misconduct allegations for the Northshore School District? There are four listed, complete with documents of the original complaint, statements, lawsuits, Times stories and other interesting material. Aside from this astounding database, the site is divided into sections: Coaches Who Prey, Solutions, About this Project, Q&A and Reader Comments. The question and answer section features the reporters answering readers’ questions while the ‘about the project’ section gives a quick overview of the effort put into the series and the hurdles reporters overcame. These features are often overlooked in online projects, but they help complete the package for online readers.”

The Daily Star’s staff grabbed third place with “24 hours on the border.”

“What this series lacks in groundbreaking reporting, it makes up for with a solid online package that includes video, a slideshow, interactive polls and an interactive quiz,” the judge wrote. “The StarNet video on the Mariposa Port of Entry provides an interesting glimpse at life at a point of entry. From meth to avocados, there’s daily trouble to uncover when inspecting cars coming into the States.”

Judged by Tom Rose, senior editor, Herald Interactive, which publishes bostonherald.com, five other daily newspaper sites and 86 weekly newspaper sites covering eastern Massachusetts. 25 entries.

Online Multimedia Storytelling

First Place: Becki Dilworth, Tim Skillern and Sonya Doctorian, Rocky Mountain News and rockymountainnews.com.

Second Place: Betty Udesen, Paula Bock, Todd Coglon and Paige Bills, The Seattle Times and seattletimes.com.

Third Place: Kevin Simpson, Cyrus McCrimmon, Jonathan Moreno and Rebecca Risch, The Denver Post and denverpost.com.

Dilworth, Skillern and Doctorian earned first place with “Dividing the waters.”

“Using top-notch audio, video and animation, the staff at the RockyMountainNews.com delivers the compelling story of a Denver suburb’s purchase of water rights from the farmland community of Rocky Ford,” the judge wrote. “The informed reporting of Todd Hartman and the striking photography of Marc Piscotty come alive in a manner that can only be achieved through adept use of multimedia. From a sleek site design to well-edited galleries, every segment of this report delivers. There’s no fluff here. Each click rewards the reader, from audio of the suburb’s utilities manager (which can be listened to while perusing a photo gallery) to video on the history of Rocky Ford. The interactive graphic showing ‘Where the waters flow’ gives geographical context to the story and helps explain water rights. Audio from Hartman and Piscotty rounds out the project.”

Second place went to Udesen, Bock and Coglin for “Rejuvenation: In the womb of water.”

“In terms of its parts, there’s not a lot to this story: 14 black-and-white photos, a page of text and some audio,” the judge wrote. “However, the photos by Betty Udesen and the audio interviews by writer Paula Bock deliver the steamy world of a Korean-style bathhouse. The photos capture the bathhouse mood. Udesen used infrared film and an electronic flash made invisible to the eye, and the results are stunning. Add to the images the soft patter of running water and the calm voices of the bathers and the viewer becomes transported into the hot, moist bathhouse.”

Simpson, McCrimmon, Moreno and Risch grabbed third place with “Pain and Glory.”

“The dangers and triumphs of bull riding come thundering off the page in this online presentation of a three-day print series,” the judge wrote. “Garrett ‘G-man’ Norby, a 10-year-old bull rider, steals the show in the videos while photographer Cyrus McCrimmon’s work shines in the slide shows. Interactive graphics provide readers with the facts on injuries and bull-riding moves. The site also includes four stories that did not make it into the print version – an added bonus for online readers.”

Judged by Tom Rose, senior editor, Herald Interactive, which publishes bostonherald.com, five other daily newspaper sites and 86 weekly newspaper sites covering eastern Massachusetts. 10 entries.