2006 Contest Results

Growth and Development Reporting

First Place: Mark Flatten, Emily Gersema and Craig Anderson, East Valley Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.

Second Place: Staff, The Denver Post.

Third Place: Dale Kasler and Andrew LePage, The Sacramento Bee.

The judge did not provide comments on the winners.

Judged by Clint Brewer, executive editor, The City Paper, Nashville. 41 entries.

Immigration and Minority Affairs Reporting

First Place: Chris Hawley, The Arizona Republic.

Second Place: Tyche Hendricks, San Francisco Chronicle.

Third Place: Joe Watson, Phoenix New Times.

Chis Hawley earns first place with “In These Two Towns.”

“Judges thought this was a great idea,” the judges wrote. “It is a different way to tell an immigration story which is a real plus. So many immigration stories seem to tread the same ground and one begins to feel he/she has read it all before. Not true with Chris Hawley’s stories. Chris gave clarity to a complex subject. Each story is well-written, told simply with good color and disciplined in its length. Judges felt these two stories are very relevant to the community.”

Second place is awarded to Tyche Hendricks for “On The Border.”

“Judges thought this was an ambitious project covering a wide range of ideas, with a diverse perspective,” the judges wrote. “Tyche’s detailed reporting showed, yet her writing is simple and straightforward. Judges felt the six stories are definitely relevant to the communities. The stories cover topics the judges felt are fresh.”

Third place goes to Joe Watson for “The Crying Game.”

“The judges applaud Phoenix New Times for taking on a daring subject, giving it historical depth and telling it well,” the judges wrote. “Definitely a story one doesn’t read every day, but one that tells readers something about the way we live. The photos added value, giving readers a chance to see the story’s subjects.”

Judged by Sue F. Smith, deputy managing editor/recruiting/training, The Dallas Morning News, assisted by Thomas Huang, features editor; Mizanur Rahman, assistant metro editor; Tracy Brown, editor of the Guide, a Friday entertainment section; Stella Chavez, reporter, Metro Desk; and Dianne Solis, reporter, Business Desk, all of The News. 46 entries.

Environment and Natural Resources Reporting

First Place: Matt Weiser, Deb Kollars and Carrie Peyton Dahlberg, The Sacramento Bee.

Second Place. John Krist and Tom Kisken, Ventura County Star.

Third Place (tie): Mike Taugher, Contra Costa Times.

Third Place (tie): Sandi Doughton, The Seattle Times.

Matt Weiser, Deb Kollars and Carrie Peyton take first place with “Tempting Fate.”

“The lead of The Sacramento Bee’s ‘Tempting Fate’ series is almost beyond belief,” the judges wrote. “It states that there is ‘no major city in America more at risk of a catastrophic New Orleans-style flood than Sacramento.’ The readers of The Sacramento Bee probably felt the same sense of awe when they picked up the paper that Sunday. But what could have been a simple doom and gloom story, or a rote post-Katrina look into local flood control measures, was transformed by The Bee into much more. Through comprehensive reporting that probed public records and resulted in interviews with flood control experts across the nation, The Bee successfully localized the biggest environmental story of the year. It was a risky move – especially as the nation struggled to recover from one of the worst storms in history. But it worked, because Bee reporters backed their claim up with solid leg work that unearthed news. This series won for what it was not. With Katrina still in mind, Bee readers were told that their city had less protection than New Orleans, despite the same flood risk. The series revealed the vulnerability of Sacramento’s levees, the lack of money to fix them, and the rush to develop behind walls that could be toppled with water. Sound familiar? Most importantly, it didn’t preach. The readers of the Bee, armed with this new information, are the ones who will decide whether they want to tempt fate.”

Second place goes to John Krist and Tom Kisken for “LNG: County Caught in the Crossfire.”

“Ventura County Star reporters John Krist and Tom Kisken brought the LNG story to life in their four-part series ‘County Caught in the Crossfire,'” the judges wrote. “While so much of the LNG coverage has painted the issue as ‘a choice between freezing in the dark and dying in a fireball,’ Krist and Kisken dismiss that black and white portrayal in their first paragraph. The result is one of the more nuanced and textured takes on the LNG issue that I have seen. Krist’s and Kisken’s coverage successfully unites communities from their Ventura County, Ca. backyard, to those in the Northeast, Southeast and West – showing readers that depending on where you are, the issue is not always viewed the same. While the President talks about oil addiction and reporters in Washington scramble to cover every development in the ANWR debate, the Ventura County Star successfully reported on an under-reported side of the energy story, the thirst for natural gas and its impact on sensitive lands of the West. The reader comes away with a sense that it is our own needs and desires that are creating the rash of LNG terminal proposals and the wells popping up on prairies in the West. The series is also infinitely readable. Along with getting a primer on LNG, readers are introduced to ‘Cajun Ben’ Welch, Jr., a man whose hand is scarred from a battle with an alligator, and Al De La Cerda, who sips Bud Light as he wears his Sara Lee deliveryman’s uniform.”

Third place goes to Mike Taugher for “Delta in Decline.”

“Mike Taugher’s ‘Delta in Decline’ did what it is sometimes so hard to do in environmental reporting: clearly showed readers the link between the health of an ecosystem and themselves,” the judges wrote. “In this case, it was the West Coast’s largest estuary, the decline of Delta smelt, and people’s thirst for drinking water. The series read in places more like a mystery novel than environmental journalism, and presented to readers the complexity of a system, and the difficulty in managing it, rather than settling for simple answers.”

Third place also goes to Sandi Doughton for “The Truth about Global Warming.”

“Sandi Doughton’s piece ‘The Truth about Global Warming’ tackles the issue of climate change in a fresh, new way,” the judges wrote. “While coverage of global warming has cast it as a debate, Doughton’s article shows that, at least in the scientific community, it is settled. In clear, concise language, she presents the evidence, and why the alternative theories explaining the Earth’s temperature increase don’t pass scientific muster. ‘The Truth about Global Warming’ is a thoughtful and novel take on one of the most important environmental issues of our time.”

Judged by Dina Cappiello, environment writer, Houston Chronicle. 54 entries.

Spot News Reporting

First Place: Marlena Hartz and David Stevens, Clovis (N.M.) News-Journal.

Second Place: Matt Canham, Pamela Manson, Jessica Ravitz, Kirsten Stewart, Thomas Burr and Lisa Rosetta, The Salt Lake Tribune.

Third Place: Staff, The News Tribune, Tacoma.

Marlena Hartz and David Stevens earn first place for “Holy guacamole.”

“It takes a lot of courage for a writer to get out of the way and let a story like this unfold naturally,” the judges wrote. “The judges agreed it was a pure delight, from the writer’s restraint to juicy details and wide-eyed quotes. This story could have been overwritten or underreported (and underplayed for that matter.) The writer realized her opportunity and captured it. Excellent work.”

Second place is awarded to Matt Canham, Pamela Manson, Jessica Ravitz, Kirsten Stewart, Thomas Burr and Lisa Rosetta for “Exodus and arrival.”

“A crisply written deadline package that captured the news of the day and reported the human impact without becoming maudlin,” the judges wrote. “A great combination of news and heart.”

Third place goes to the News-Tribune staff for “Shooting at the Tacoma Mall.”

“A comprehensive package, rich in detail, that used several different story forms to good effect,” the judges wrote. “A tighter edit of the main story would have helped elevate it.”

Judged by Elizabeth McIntyre, assistant managing editor/metro, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, assisted by Marge Frazer, recruitment/development editor; Bob McAuley, Washington/medical editor; Stuart Warner, projects/enterprise editor; Diane Solov, assistant metro editor; Sarah Treffinger, reporter; Mike Sangiacomo, reporter; Chris Seper, reporter; all of The Plain Dealer. 59 entries.

General Reporting

First Place: Richard Hill, The Oregonian.

Second Place (tie): Karl Fischer and Sara Steffens, Contra Costa Times.

Second Place (tie): Lee Davidson, Deseret Morning News.

Third Place: Joe Cantlupe and Dave Hasemyer, The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Richard Hill receives first place for “Mount St. Helens: 25 years later.”

“I have to admit I groaned when I opened this,” the judge wrote. “Oh no, I thought, a whole special section. But then I started reading. All five stories by Richard Hill were just full of ‘Hey Martha’ wowers – there were 10,000 earthquakes leading up to the eruption? Today Mount Rainier is dangerous? Some people heard the boom and some didn’t? It’s the kind of story you read and keep annoying the people around you by repeating the odd tidbits, because they’re so fascinating. He put it all together in completely understandable stories that were small enough to be digested – none of the stories were too long. I can’t believe he did the whole thing himself.”

Second place is awarded to Karl Fischer and Sara Steffens for “Galvanized by gunfire.”

“This first story put me in South Richmond, humanizing what in many papers would be just a series of police briefs,” the judge wrote. “We got to know the folks who live in this violence-plagued area, to feel what their lives are like. The story was divided up into small chunks, ricocheting from character to character, so it unfolded like a documentary. Every big city, including my own, Cincinnati, has a neighborhood like South Richmond; I’d love for us to be able to do something this comprehensive and real life.”

Second place also goes to Lee Davidson for “Look before you leap.”

“As for Lee Davidson’s story, this is another one where I bugged the editor next to me and said, ‘Hey, did you know that the average adult sitting in a 104-degree hot tub will perspire one pint of sweat into the water in a half hour?'” the judge wrote. “Ewww. This was good, reader-friendly journalism at its best – especially with the online list that allowed everyone in the Salt Lake City area to check how their pool compares.”

Third place goes to Joe Cantlupe and Dave Hasemyer for “Prisoner Transfer Program plagued by escapes.”

“This was just a great scoop,” the judge wrote. “I can’t believe we didn’t hear more about this nationally. They nailed this story; it’s always a good sign when the reporters calling prosecutors are the ones breaking news to them.”

Judged by Carl Weiser, government/public affairs editor, The Cincinnati Enquirer. 104 entries.

Explanatory Reporting

First Place: Laura Frank, Rachel Brand, Kevin Flynn, Ann Imse, John Ensslin and David Milstead, Rocky Mountain News.

Second Place: Susan Kelleher and Duff Wilson, The Seattle Times.

Third Place: Kevin Dayton, Honolulu Advertiser.

Laura Frank, Rachel Brand, Kevin Flynn, Ann Imse, John Ensslin and David Milstead take first place with “Ref’s C and D: Budget Breakdown.”

“This well-written and deftly-edited series of reports brought life to a budget and politics story, bringing readers in to an otherwise ho-hum political story,” the judges wrote. “A team of reporters methodically broke down a simple referendum vote into its larger implications, carefully documenting the consequences for state poor, rich, old and young alike, as well as why the state found itself facing this choice.”

Second place is awarded to Susan Kelleher and Duff Wilson for “Suddenly Sick.”

“The series did a masterly job of weaving in-depth reporting with cogent illustrations and solid explanatory journalism,” the judges wrote. “Reporters Susan Kelleher and Duff Wilson illuminated a complex world that few consider when they have been diagnosed with a medical problem. Greater use of published medical studies would have made this story stronger, bolstering the claims of critics or the drug companies that were on the defensive.”

Third place goes to Kevin Dayton for “Sent Away: Hawaii Prisoners on the Mainland.”

“Staff writer Kevin Dayton nicely combined reporting on the islands with mainland interviews to paint a picture of a problem that has spiraled out of hand in recent years,” the judges wrote. “We felt the series effectively explored different aspects of a complex regional story that is happening under the radar and gets little attention.”

Judged by Eli Kintisch and Robert Coontz, Science magazine. 65 entries.

Project Reporting

First Place: Gwen Florio, Sue Lindsay and Sarah Langbein, Rocky Mountain News.

Second Place: Michelle Nicolosi, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Third Place: Staff, LA Weekly.

Gwen Florio, Sue Lindsay and Sarah Langbein receive first place for “Colorado’s Youngest Killers.”

“These stories contained thorough, unflinching looks at a group of young people at the center of one of the most compelling debates in the criminal justice system today,” the judges wrote. “The reporters conveyed the circumstances, the personalities and the prospects of several young people incarcerated on murder charges with sensitivity, but without mawkish sentimentality and with a sense of fairness to all sides of the question. It was the kind of work that helps elevate debate.”

Second place is awarded to Michelle Nicolosi for “Toothless: Washington’s lax dental oversight.”

“This series exposes lax regulation in an area of health care that has been largely unexplored,” the judges wrote. “Thorough and fair, it furnishes readers with provocative examples and memorable writing.”

Third place goes to the LA Weekly staff for “Clear and Present Danger.”

“Judges were impressed by the ambition and audacity of this work, which pointed out the dangers of small-particulate pollution even as skies over Los Angeles seem to be clearing up,” the judges wrote. “The stories pointed out troubling issues and made a strong case for improvements in pollution controls.”

Judged by Manny Garcia, metro editor, The Miami Herald, assisted by John Voskuhl, enterprise editor; Jack Dolan, reporter; and Scott Hiaasen, reporter, all of The Herald. 77 entries.

Investigative Reporting

First Place: Marcus Stern and Jerry Kammer, The San Diego Union-Tribune and Copley News Service.

Second Place: Leslie Wolf Branscomb, Tanya Sierra and Caitlin Rother, The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Third Place (tie): Tom Knudson and Hector Amezcua, The Sacramento Bee.

Third Place (tie): Ruth Teichroeb, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Marcus Stern and Jerry Kammer earn first place with “Randy Duke Cunningham.”

“The investigative reporting by the Union-Tribune and Copley News Service shows why it’s so crucial for reporters to be skeptical of politicians – even when they’re former Top Guns,” the judges wrote. “By carefully explaining a 2003 real estate transaction between then U.S. House member Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham and defense contractor Mitch Wade, reporters revealed a bribe in what had been accepted as a legitimate business transaction – albeit a generous one. The findings were strong enough to spark a federal investigation that ultimately helped reporters mine even more information about contractors showering the legendary congressman with money, gifts and favors in exchange for lucrative contracts – hardly anything new in Washington, but critical in stopping what was a growing corrupt scheme. Notably, the revelations didn’t come from databases, but shoe leather reporting that exposed corruption and perhaps more importantly helped the public understand the ways congressmen can earmark money for friends. In a year marked by GOP scandals across the country, the work of the Union-Tribune and Copley News Service will be remembered.”

Second place is awarded to Tanya Sierra and Leslie Wolf Branscomb for “Landlord of Opportunity.”

“Drawing on public records, interviews, and physical inspections, Union-Tribune reporters Tanya Sierra and Leslie Wolf Branscomb peeled back the veneer of National City Mayor Nick Inzunza to show the man who professed to care about working people was really an opportunistic landlord in his private life who leased rat-infested, ravaged homes to the poor,” the judges wrote. “In the end, Inzunza dropped out of a state assembly race, announced he was not running for re-election, and promised to fix up his properties. Like the Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham investigation by the Union-Tribune, this is another case of the newspaper’s reporters relying on shoe leather to effectively expose a well-known politician – with results.”

Third place goes to Tom Knudson and Hector Amezcua for “The Pineros: Men of the Pines.”

“The story of labor contractors taking advantage of migrant workers isn’t new,” the judges wrote. “But reporters Knudson and Amezcua found an entirely new population of people being exploited in forestry work in a pervasive problem that had largely gone unnoticed until the Sacramento Bee published its series. These are the kinds of findings – dangerous working conditions, illegal pay deductions and extortion – that spark reforms.”

Third place also goes to Ruth Teichroeb for “Public Protection, Private Abuse.”

“This is a well-researched examination of a failed state program that allowed some of the most vulnerable citizens to be exploited,” the judges wrote. “Teichroeb supports her findings of abuse and neglect with solid statistics and interviews that clearly show how the state doled out millions to private caregivers to monitor mentally disabled people – often at their peril.”

Judged by Michael Sallah, investigations editor, The Miami Herald, assisted by Herald I-team reporters Debbie Cenziper, Ronnie Greene and Jason Grotto. 63 entries.

Feature Writing, Short Form

First Place: by Doug Kreutz, The Arizona Daily Star.

Second Place: Carol Smith, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Third Place: Diana Marcum, The Fresno Bee.

Doug Kreutz receives first place for “Ashes to Peaks.”

“The lead immediately captures your interest – it’s intriguing but not mystifying – and quickly fills in the details,” the judge wrote. “This short story tells you a lot about Charlie Whitmore and what kind of man he was – the kind of man who made friends willing to climb mountains to fulfill his dying wish. The quotes are well-chosen and there’s just enough detail about how those friends are transporting Whitmore’s ashes to answer questions without becoming too ‘CSI’ about it.”‘

Second place is awarded to Carol Smith for “A bugler’s final, waning call … Taps.”

“This lovely piece, about an aging veteran who plays Taps at dozens of military services a month, engagingly intersperses his routine on one specific day with information about his life and about how this ritual itself is dying, with more and more such services are conducted with recorded music,” the judge wrote. “We’re there with Jack Steidl from the time he readies his uniform in the morning until he packs up his bugle at the end of the day, and I was left feeling a little sad that he represents the waning of a tradition I’d never really even thought about before.”

Third place goes to Diana Marcum for “The one and only Santa.”

“A behind-the-scenes chat with a shopping mall Santa Claus reveals not only that Santa puts his hair in pink sponge rollers every morning but also that Santa training seminars include wives, too, who learn that sometimes, ‘Santas need to vent,'” the judge wrote. “Several funny anecdotes with children visiting Santa, including one little girl who ‘rats out’ her older brother to the jolly old man, are leavened with the bittersweet stories of kids whose parents are at war who just want dad back. A very nice look at a Santa for whom this obviously is much more than a seasonal job.”

Judged by Carla Carlton, arts and entertainment editor, The Courier-Journal, Louisville. 109 entries.

Feature Writing, Long Form

First Place: Kevin Simpson, The Denver Post.

Second Place: Janet I. Tu, The Seattle Times.

Third Place: Beth Kaiman, The Seattle Times.

Kevin Simpson earned first place with “Letting Go.”

“The writer had amazing access,” the judge wrote. “A sad tale with hope, well-told. The story tugs at the heart. Keeps you reading; the reader almost rushes to get the next chapter.”

Second place goes to Janet I. Tu “Embracing a Sister Village in Need.”

“Wow,” the judge wrote. “An amazing tale, strong writing (great photos). Long, but you keep reading. Great ending. Strong top with news peg nicely tucked in quickly. Strong simple tale that highlights a complex situation. Very warm Easy to connect with all of the characters. Makes you want to take action, help.”

Beth Kaiman takes third place with “Coming of Age in a Time of War.”

“Cool angle: 3 boys, 1 decision, 3 endings,” the judge wrote. “Story shows more than going to war. It shows the whys. A very good read. A great tale of young friendship.”

Judged by Sharon Wilmore, assistant managing editor/features, and Tina Croley, features editor, both of the Detroit Free Press. 146 entries.

Business and Financial Reporting

First Place: Dominic Gates, Alicia Mundy and Luke Timmerman, The Seattle Times.

Second Place: Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post.

Third Place: Kevin McCallum, The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Dominic Gates, Alicia Mundy, and Luke Timmerman receive first place for “Boeing faces CEO dilemma.”

“When Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher was ousted, the Seattle Times responded with a detailed, compelling package that explored the gaping hole left in the company, revealed the eight-day debate by board members before his dismissal and a strong profile of how the impact Stoneciper had on the company,” the judge wrote. “Terrific example of enterprise reporting on deadline.”

Second place is awarded to Aldo Svaldi for “The Hire.”

“Well executed story with a simple premise: What does it take to create one job. Svaldi spent three months following a job candidate and told the story of the hiring process in a small Denver business as well as how the hiring of an individual affects the Colorado economy,” the judge wrote. “A smart idea executed well. I learned a lot about the Denver economy from this one story.”

Third place goes to Kevin McCallum for “Wine family’s broken dream.”

“Fascinating tale of how a family-run winery landed in the hands of a penny stock company with a troubled past,” the judge wrote. “A good read.”

Judged by George Haj, deputy managing editor/news, Houston Chronicle. 83 entries.

Sports Reporting

First Place: Kalani Simpson, Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Second Place: Andy Boogaard, The Fresno Bee.

Third Place (tie): Mark Zeigler, The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Third Place (tie): Greg Bishop, The Seattle Times.

Kalani Simpson receives first place for “Glanville’s Promise.”

“I didn’t buy it at first, having known the Glanville schtick before,” the judge wrote. “But through great pacing and reporting, the writer swept me up, and I believed every word by the end. A masterful example of taking a well-known subject and turning it on its head to see a different angle.”

Second place is awarded to Andy Boogaard for “Staying Behind, Getting Ahead.”

“This did what I want every enterprise news/sports story to do: tell me something I didn’t know,” the judge wrote. “Through thorough and balanced reporting, the writer did a great job of exposing this trend and all its pros and cons.”

Third place goes to Mark Zeigler for “Clean Getaways.”

“In a year dominated by steroid coverage, this takeout stood above the rest in that it looked at not just the drugs, but the lengths the athletes will go to remain undetected,” the judge wrote.

Third place also goes to Greg Bishop for “Snap Decisions.”

“An enlightening look inside just how complicated an NFL huddle and line of scrimmage can be,” the judge wrote. “Very well-reported and -executed.”

Judged by James Pilcher, The Cincinnati Enquirer. 77 entries.

General Interest Column Writing

First Place: Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times.

Second Place: E.J. Montini, The Arizona Republic.

Third Place (tie): Joan Ryan, San Francisco Chronicle.
Third Place (tie): Jim Spencer, The Denver Post.

Danny Westneat receives first place.

“Westneat’s entries were the story of a light-hearted city bus driver whose small daily kindnesses enabled a deeply depressed woman to change course; a piercing critique of the resegregation quietly dividing Seattle schools; and an expose of how an insurance company tried to use a legal technicality to avoid paying a woman crippled in a road-rage accident,” the judge wrote. “They reveal breadth of reporting, a passionate eye for outrageous truths and a keen writerly eye for detail. Westneat breaks news and his stories are crafted with compassion, courage, skill and balance. He is a delight to read.”

Second place is awarded to E.J. Montini.

“Montini’s entries were an essay on a flamboyant politician whose addiction to publicity borders on the absurd; a probing look at ethical issues raised by the Army’s mishandling of former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan; and a piece contrasting the public’s outrage over terrorism killings abroad with its complacency over similarly reprehensible murders at home,” the judge wrote. “Montini’s creative columns are smoothly written and concise and deliver a powerful impact. He has a knack for distilling complex issues and helping readers focus on the fundamental concerns they raise.”

Third place goes to Joan Ryan.

“Ryan’s entries were stories of how a man rediscovered his late father, a former psychiatrist to the Nazis, after his father’s files were sent to him; how the friends and family of Golden Gate Bridge suicide victims battled for a suicide barrier on the bridge; and how a disabled vet’s experience cast into sharp relief the media’s failure to illustrate the true agony of war,” the judge wrote. “Ryan’s compassionate columns reflect her knack for spotting high-impact topics. The details she selects, and her carefully crafted prose, spark strong emotional reactions on important issues of public interest.”

Third place also goes to Jim Spencer.

“Spencer’s entries were stories of the ‘compassion fatigue’ that abandons a homeless Denver grandmother caring for three grandchildren to the streets while Katrina victims get a year’s free rent; the ugly impact of a crude racial attack on a Latino college athlete; and how two women wearing protest T-shirts were bullied by GOP operatives at a Bush Town Hall gathering,” the judge wrote. “Spencer’s lucid, caring commentaries combine an eye for injustice with a strong sense of history and the values that underlie democracy. His columns are a public service.”

Judged by Sue Shellenbarger, news editor and columnist, The Wall Street Journal. 77 entries.

Special Topic Column Writing

First Place: John Henderson, The Denver Post.

Second Place: Jamie Tobias Neely, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane.

Third Place: Gary Richards, San Jose Mercury News.

John Henderson receives first place.

“We loved his eclectic tastes and his craftsmanship,” the judges wrote. “He writes elegantly, clearly and sensually. His use of humor is restrained and tonally spot-on. His columns about food made us salivate, giggle and long for his photo. You know you’ve found a winner when you want to see who this fine writer is.”

Second place is awarded to Jamie Tobias Neely.

“These were not easy columns to write,” the judges wrote. “That was our first observation. She unflinchingly characterized a man who’d done wrong, who’d lied, and who is also suffering from advancing cancer. She made us see him as she, his city and its citizens saw him. We were impressed with her tight focus, her clear-eyed views and her strong, distinctive voice.”

Third place goes to Gary Richards.

“His columns about joining the actual warriors of the road were fabulous examples of a consummate beat writer never being satisfied with the same-ole, same-ole,” the judges wrote. “He changed his vantage point, and found fresh, evocative columns as a result. He engaged us as readers. He made us see. He made us understand.”

Judged by Cheryl Carpenter, managing editor, Charlotte Observer, assisted by Tommy Tomlinson, metro columnist; Doug Smith, business columnist; Mark Washburn, radio-television critic; and Elaine Jacobs, newsroom administrative manager, all of the Observer. 88 entries.

Headline Writing

First Place: Reed Parsell, The Sacramento Bee.

Second Place: Robert Krier, The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Third Place: John Davis, The Salt Lake Tribune.

Reed Parsell receives first place.

“This entry rises to the top of a tight field for the top three by virtue of some very deft handling of demanding headline specs,” the judge wrote. “Two of the headlines are 1-column specs, and the others are very compact. I won’t pick a favorite among the five submissions. ‘The wrist/ as history:/ Bracelets /for a cause’ is a clever angle with a play on words so subtle that it’s not evident until it’s processed beyond the visual. ‘Wages of sim’ is concise, intelligent and equally subtle. ‘Brews, clues’ is a remarkable triple play: It reflects the story in a fitting tone, it does the job in exactly 10 letters and the headline rhymes without being preening or ponderous. Where some portfolios offer one or two very good headlines amid several that are creditable but not exceptional, this collection is consistent in its high quality.”

Second place is awarded to Robert Krier.

“‘Expletive diluted’ is masterful,” the judge wrote. “It’s a deft bit of wordplay that transforms a well-recognized figure of speech into an expression that conveys the story, and in two words. Likewise, ‘Cable guise’ feeds the ear something very familiar while giving the eye what it needs to lead into the story. ‘Ill-suited Martha’s “Apprentice” attempt: You’re tired!’ manages a clever and fresh tack on a story that had been covered to exhaustion. And with a change of one letter, it made the point using a catch phrase that has long become hackneyed. ‘An old bone to pick,’ working in conjunction with the story’s art, offers the reader a comforting transition out of the daunting overline label ‘Paleoanthropology.'”

Third place goes to John Davis.

“Deciding which of a few deserving entries would round out the top three, and which wouldn’t, was perhaps the most difficult task of all,” the judge wrote. “Although this entry had a few nice efforts – including ‘Rocky’s image warming globally’ – what earned it a winning rank was one headline that is uncommonly deft, clear, artful and – unlike the top two finishers and many other close contenders – done on deadline on a hard-news story. ‘Exit polls point/ to top Poles’ exit’ is so smoothly executed that it has to be recognized. Often, this sort of cleverness takes liberty with the story for the sake of the wordplay. This doesn’t. It conveys the story clearly. I’d be willing to bet that just by its inventiveness it drew in quite a few readers who otherwise would not have read about an election in eastern Europe.”

Judged by Dana Cardullo, copy editor, The Record, Hackensack, N.J. 67 entries.

Editorial Writing

First Place: Mike Dunbar, The Modesto Bee.

Second Place: Doug Bates, The Oregonian.

Third Place: Rick Attig, The Oregonian.

Mike Dunbar receives first place for an editorial on growth.

“This piece takes a complicated, not-so-sexy but important subject and presents a readable, compelling argument – through prose and useful graphics – for how to deal with the area’s sprawl,” the judge wrote. “It offers the extra perspective of looking elsewhere around the country for good examples of effective regional planning.”

Second place is awarded to Doug Bates for “Elda’s Ashes: Oregon’s Forgotten Hospital.”

“This editorial provides a haunting and unforgettable symbol for Oregon’s neglected mental health system: canisters of abandoned cremains at the Oregon State Hospital,” the judge wrote. “Readers get the look, feel and smell of the place through evocative, detailed reporting, then read on to find a clear focus on how to solve the problem.”

Third place goes to Rick Attig for “Long hallways, hard steps: Oregon’s forgotten hospital.”

“This piece effectively combines first-hand reporting with the sweep of history and perspective to make an argument the governor couldn’t possibly ignore,” the judge wrote.

Judged by Cornelia Grumman, editorial board, Chicago Tribune. 45 entries.

News Photography

First Place: Hector Amezcua, The Sacramento Bee.

Second Place: Renee C. Byer, The Sacramento Bee.

Third Place: Manny Crisostomo, The Sacramento Bee.

Hector Amezcua takes first place for a shot of a mother grieving over a coffin.

“We looked at lots of photographs of people grieving at funerals, but this one was definitely tops,” the judges wrote. “The effort it took to just be in the spot to shooot this picture impressed us, and the emotion is overwhelming. A very telling, emotional and technically well-done picture.”

Byer earns second place with a photo of a tearful mother hugging three of her children as she prepares to leave for National Guard service in Iraq while another child lies listlessly on the couch.

“Again we liked the effort that was clearly made to be in just the right spot to shoot the emotion of this woman preparing to leave her kids for Iraq,” the judges wrote. “The hand over the mother’s face and especially the framing to include the child lying catatonic on the couch made this one special.”

Third place goes to Manny Crisostomo for “Hmong gang.”

“This photo of suspected gang members being detained was full of drama and tension and very well-composed considering the chaos that likely dominated the scene,” the judges wrote. “It also jumped out at us more than many of the other news photos largely because there wasn’t anything like it in the category. Another example of good work leading up to the photo as well.”

Judged by Chris Hankins, Engin bureau photo editor, The Daily Herald, Arlington Heights, Ill., assisted by Jeff Knox, director of photographer/tri-cities, and Patrick Kunzer, night picture editor, both of The Herald. 75 entries.

Feature Photography

First Place: R.J. Stangosti, The Denver Post.

Second Place: Brant Ward, San Francisco Chronicle.

Third Place: Helen Richardson, The Denver Post.

R.J. Stangosti receives first place for a shot of a four-year-old boy playing airplane in the wreckage of his neighborhood in Bay St. Louis, Miss., after Hurricane Katrina hit.

“There are many aftermath photos from hurricane-stricken areas,” the judge wrote. I went by this one the first time and was aware that it was still with me. That’s always a strong signal. This is a moment that says more than words easily convey. And that makes the image unforgettable. It could easily hold a front page.”

Second is awarded to Brant Ward for a photo of a homeless woman cooling down in a creek, with just the top two-thirds of her head visible above the water.

“This is a beautiful image that shows more than the cliche shot of a tattered soul standing on a street corner,” the judge wrote. “This situation may be a common in some parts of the country but even factoring that in, it remains an image that holds a lovely surprise. It is a picture that insists that the reader pause. Yahoo. This too could hold a page, a features page.”

Third place goes to Helen Richardson for “Time,” a silhouette shot of a man changing the time on a huge clock in a Denver tower.

“In addition to the strong graphic qualities of this image, the choice of the photographer to get a side view of the subject adds to its intrigue: slightly disheveled hair, a paunch and the obvious symbolism,” the judge wrote. “This could make a cover on a slow news day. This is an enjoyable and technically sound image.”

Judged by Ellen Lorentzson, photo editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune. 134 entries.

Sports Photography

First Place: Chris Detrick, The Salt Lake Tribune.

Second Place: Darryl Webb, East Valley Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.

Third Place: Ross William Hamilton, The Oregonian.

Chris Detrick received first place for a shot that showed two volleyball players in the foreground embracing after a victory while teammates held their arms aloft and screamed in the background.

“High School sports can be challenging, but the judges kept going back to this image which read immediately,” the judges wrote. “A strong layered-moment with dominant image in the foreground and contributing background. Simple and clean, good use of light and well-composed.”

Second place is awarded to Darryl Webb a photo from the start of PF. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon that captures the runners’ shoes in focus while blurring the runners themselves.

“There were numerous graphic and aesthetically strong images in the competition, but this one rose to second for many reasons,” the judges wrote. “Unusual angle and approach, but done very well. An artful and graphic image that needs good display to read best.”

Third place goes to Ross William Hamilton for a photo of two Oregon State University baseball players hugging in disappointment after losing in the College World Series.

“Judges had a difficult time with picking third place winner with a number of contenders, but this image won for its quick read, clean execution and a solid storytelling moment off the field,” the judges wrote.

Judged by Don Tormey, director of photography, The Des Moines Register, assisted by: Rodney White, assistant director of photography, and Andrea Melendez, assistant photo editor, both of The Register. 80 entries.

Informational Graphic

First Place: Eric Baker, The Oregonian.

Second Place: Nathaniel Levine, The Sacramento Bee.

Third Place: Steve Cowden, The Oregonian.

Eric Baker takes first place for a detailed examination of the Liberty ships of World War II that engrossed the judge, who said it compelled him to read every word.

“The graphic was well-organized and thoroughly researched,” the judge wrote. “The drawings were beautifully done. Like most successful graphics, it showed more than it told.”

The judge particularly liked the restrained use of color, which he said contributed to a clear understanding of the ships that were the subject of the graphic.

Second place goes to Nathaniel Levin for a detailed exposition of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacramento in Sacramento that left the judge marvelling at how much information could be gleaned by following the descriptions and illustrations of the 116-year-old cathedral’s renovation. The illustration included “engaging details in text that accompanied a beautiful and detailed rendering,” the judge wrote.

The full-page illustration provided more information than the judge would have guessed could be known about a century-old cathedral.

Steve Cowden takes third place with a doubletruck treatment of the recovery of Mount St. Helens and the ongoing discoveries it yields, which the judge described as an impressive example of how to show and tell.

“Visual surprises abound here, coupled with text that is thoroughly reported but not overwritten,” the judge wrote. It’s an easy graphic to navigate, and it increases any reader’s understanding of the enormity of the original explosion.”

Judged by Richard Curtis, managing editor for graphics and photos at USA Today, with assistance from senior illustrators Julie Snider and Frank Pompa and informational-graphics artist Adrienne Lewis. 61 entries.


First Place: Margaret Spengler, The Sacramento Bee.

Second Place: Jeff Neumann, The Denver Post.

Third Place: Sharon Lockwood and Andrew Bird, San Francisco Chronicle.

Margaret Spengler received first place for “Seven Sins of Summer Gardening.”

“This is a beautiful drawing done with a sense of humor. Color, tone and form combine in playful elegance,” the judge wrote. “It is designed to work nicely with the typography and masthead. This seems to be the first in a series of 7 ‘sins’ ÃҢâ’Ҭâ⒁” I’d like to have seen the other 6.”

Second place is awarded to Jeff Neumann for “The End Is Here.”

“I love this art,” the judge wrote. “It puts a really sophisticated face on the business of the Apocalypse. The combination of imagery is very inventive – the grim reaper, fire, money, life, death are pulled together in a drawing style that elevates the subject and lets us deal with it on a higher plane. The color and visual texture is very rich. I wish the typography was handled better.”

Third place goes to Sharon Lockwood and Andrew Bird for “Fish and Baseball.”

“This drawing was the most cleverly integrated into the page design of any entry,” the judge wrote. “I liked the sense of humor that anyone who know the location of the baseball park in San Francisco would understand – the home run ball descending to the fishes. This is very simple and very graphic and so it communicates very quickly.”

Judged by Michael Keegan, assistant managing editor for news art, The Washington Post. 107 entries.

Editorial Cartooning

First Place: Don Asmussen, San Francisco Chronicle.

Second Place: Rex Babin, The Sacramento Bee.

Third Place: Ed Stein, Rocky Mountain News.

Don Asmussen receives first place.

“Asmussen’s quirky, fresh and inviting style lends itself perfectly to his playfully sarcastic and critical cartoons,” the judges wrote. “‘Bad Reporter’ scolds conventional political and social wisdom by layering several cartoons within a cartoon, building humorously on absurd, yet insightful headlines and images:
“Stork Theory” to be taught alongside “pregnancy theory” in Kansas schools (followed by a graphic explaining the biology of “storktelligent design”).
“Al Qaeda cried during beaches” – plus an accompanying poll, “published in S.F. Chronicle” – aping the U.S. military’s attempt to burnish its image by planting propaganda in Iraqi newspapers.
“Good editorial cartoonists use their medium to proclaim what they consider to be the truth. In the judges’ opinion, Asmussen uses mold-breaking visual delivery, yet still wields his truth in the age-old tradition of Thomas Nast.”

Second place is awarded to Rex Babin.

“Babin combines a loose style, displaying confident swaths of bold, brush-stroked ink, with a devastatingly critical viewpoint,” the judges wrote. “Cheney and Bush pulling flags off coffins with which to wrap themselves makes the reader cringe with recognition. His are not images that are easily forgotten.”

Third place goes to Ed Stein.

“Stein’s sly, quiet use of clever, simple and witty images lulls the reader into looking for a chuckle, but instead receives the clear-thinking razor’s edge of a well-sharpened commentator’s scalpel,” the judges wrote. “These were masterful political cartoons.”

Judged by Matt Davies, editorial cartoonist, The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y., assisted by Herb Pinder, editorial writer, The Journal News. 28 entries.

Words, Editing and Design

First Place: Staff, The Oregonian.

Second Place: Joshua Trujillo, Kurt Schlosser, Andy Rogers and Ford Gilbreath, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Third Place: Denise Clifton and Michele Lee McMullen, The Seattle Times.

A stunning six-column photograph of Mount St. Helens sets the tone for The Oregonian’s first-place winner, a package on the recovery and continued life of the Northwest’s famous volcano.

The judges were impressed with what they called a comprehensive study, which mixed attention to detail with drama. They were especially struck by the doubletruck presentation, which they called “breathtaking in its execution.”

“Even the smallest illustrations are executed with precision,” the judges wrote. “The color palette is subtle and never overshadows the fine line drawings. The typography is restrained and treated in such a way that legibility is never compromised for the sake of design.”

Second Place goes to Joshua Trujillo, Kurt Schlosser, Andy Rogers and Ford Gilbreath for a four-page package on Seattle neighbors and their thoughts on what America means to them that celebrates photojournalism with a series of compelling portraits.

The judges noted that overuse of the picture-frame treatment can be tedious and detract from storytelling but said this entry uses the treatment beautifully.

“Each page layout has a dominant image with accompanying photos that show smart photo editing,” the judges wrote. “The type treatment is sophisticated and inviting to readers. Beyond aesthetics, this work shows the editor/designer’s outstanding journalistic skills,” they wrote.

Denise Clifton and Michele Lee McMullen take third place with a full-page guide to medical malpractice initiatives on the Washington ballot, which the judges described as a perfect example of what should be done in every newsroom.

“When journalists take a complex issue and boil it down to easy-to-understand elements and then organize material like this, readers benefit – big time,” they wrote.

The judges praised the package for its concise content.Although the page doesn’t sport flashy bells and whistles, the judges said it more than makes up for it in skilled visual editing.

Judged by Sharon Roberts, assistant managing editor, and G.W. Babb, news-design director,, both of the Austin American-Statesman. 96 entries.

Online Enterprise Reporting

First Place: Sharon Pian Chan, David Heath, Tracy Cutchlow and Todd Coglon, seattletimes.com.

Second Place: Tom Knudson, Hector Amezcua and Seth Vanbooven, The Sacramento Bee.

Third Place: Luke Timmerman, David Heath, Tracy Cutchlow and Ping Yeh, seattletimes.com.

Sharon Pian Chan, David Heath, Tracy Cutchlow and Todd Coglon win first place with “Dot-con Job.”

“High marks across the board, especially for presentation, clarity, community importance and creative use of the medium,” the judge wrote. “‘Dot-con Job’ provides proof, if any was needed, in the power of dogged investigative reporting and creative storytelling, regardless of platform.”

“The contextual integration of audio snippets from key interviews, damning e-mails and voicemail and other original source material add multiple dimensions without interrupting the flow of this important narrative. The Stock Timeline, which maps InfoSpace’s public statements and private dealings to stock values over the course of two years, is a particularly innovative way to present the arc of a story online.”

Second place goes to Tom Knudson, Hector Amezcua and Seth Vanbooven, for “The Pineros: Men of the Pines.”

“Tell me something I don’t know, tell me something important and make it interesting,” the judge wrote. “Those are a reader’s fundamental expectations, and the Sacramento Bee succeeds at all three with ‘The Pineros.'”

“Multimedia elements and sidebars are embedded contextually, without bouncing the reader from one linked location to the next, making for a powerful and downright artistic overall presentation.”

“Especially high marks for presentation, use of Flash and overall design.”

Like Timmerman, David Heath, Tracy Cutchlow and Ping Yeh take third place with “Selling Drug Secrets.”

“‘Selling Drug Secrets’ is another powerful mix of high-impact investigative reporting and creative online storytelling from the special projects crew at The Seattle Times,” the judge wrote. “Excellent use of audio, especially ‘Inside a Conference Call.'”

“High marks for clarity, importance and creative use of the medium.”

Judged by Howard Parnell, editor, washingtonpost.com. 15 entries.

Online Multimedia Storytelling

First Place: Jim Gensheimer, Richard Koci Hernandez, Dai Sugano and Mark Damon, San Jose Mercury News.

Second Place: Yvette de la Garza, Marc Balanky, Patrick Tobin and Greg Magnus, SignOnSanDiego.com.

Third Place: Meri Simon, Richard Koci Hernandez, John Boudreau, Akili C. Ramsess, and Dai Sugano, San Jose Mercury News.

Jim Gensheimer, Richard Koci Hernandez, Dai Sugano and Mark Damon earn first place for “Vietnam: 30 years after war.”

“Strong storytelling through moving photos and startling statistics that aren’t out there in the public eye,” the judges wrote. “Anniversary makes for good time to revisit the story, but given the current involvement abroad, also shows the costly price of war. Look-back photos in last gallery are moving and effective.”

Second place goes to Yvette de la Garza, Marc Balanky, Patrick Tobin and Greg Magnus for “Donovan State Prison.”

“Moving back and forth between black-and-white stills and color video is extremely effective in telling this story,” the judges wrote. “Text along the left is a little long and a little difficult to read. Interesting story with compelling photos.”

Meri Simon, Richard Koci Hernandez, John Boudreau, Akili C. Ramsess, and Dai Sugano take third place with “Globalization: India’s Tech Boom.”

“Interesting subject and final installment about the replication of California lifestyle really ties the story together,” the judges wrote. “Navigation is a little confusing, forcing user to click on audio with one slideshow and the others starting automatically. Interesting photos.”

Judge by Howard Parnell, editor, and Steve Fox, senior news editor, both of washingtonpost.com. 33 entries.