Meet the 2018 SFJ Diversity Fellows: Brittany Britto & Janelle Harris


The Society for Features Journalism is happy to announce that Brittany Britto, @brittanybritto, and Janelle Harris, @thegirlcanwrite, are the 2018 Penny Bender Fuchs Diversity Fellows! They will be joining us at our conference Sept. 12-15 in New Orleans (which you should also register for now!).

Here are some more things to know about them.

Brittany Britto


Brittany Britto is a general assignment features reporter and blogger for The Baltimore Sun, where she writes about culture, the arts, entertainment and viral news.

A proud Terp twice over, Brittany graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in creative writing, and a master’s in journalism from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

In her downtime, Brittany enjoys spending time with loved ones, hanging with the locals in foreign destinations, trying new foods, crying during episodes of “This is Us,” and hoarding various sized notebooks and journals.

Q: Tell us about your current work.

I am a general assignment features reporter at The Baltimore Sun, where I report on local arts, entertainment, and my favorite topic — culture.

Q: What’s your favorite story or project you’ve ever worked on and why?

Working on the Baltimore Club Dance story turned into a fun, collaborative project that allowed me to work with Baltimore Sun photographers, editors and a talented interactive designer to take the written story to an experiential level with gifs, video, and a special layout. I also curated a playlist with the help of some of the Baltimore Club scene’s most pivotal figures and learned some dance moves along the way (TBD on my “crazy leg”). But most of all, I got to see why Baltimore is so proud and passionate about their culture. It also led to at least one other story, which we’ll release this summer.

Q: Most memorable person you’ve ever interviewed?

I interviewed Ta-Nehisi Coates about which part of Baltimore he misses the most. It was pretty cool getting to talk to a storyteller who has had an impact on the city.

Q: Advice you would give to an aspiring features journalist?

The best advice I have for aspiring features journalists is to say “yes” and tackle as many stories as you possibly can early on. In my time as a reporter, I’ve been thrown into so many different stories on topics I know little about, which has taught me how to be more versatile and make stories more engaging. It has also allowed me to hone in on what I like to write about, which is the cultural expression and histories of marginalized communities.

I’d also say, don’t be afraid to spend time with sources, especially in-person. With deadlines, it can be hard to really take your time with certain interviews, but often, when it comes to features writing, I find putting in a little extra time allows a writer to paint a better picture for their readers (and sometimes, it earns the respect of the subject and puts them at ease).

Q: Favorite guilty pleasure reads/social media feeds?
Overall, Twitter is probably my guiltiest pleasure. My timeline allows me to follow a bunch of different outlets and personalities to make sure I’m getting a mix of coverage, opinions and insight on what’s happening. “Moments” has also been a decent tool when checking social media’s temperature for the day. A not-so-guilty pleasure is O Magazine. It’s the perfect way to put my day on pause for a bit and get some much-needed positivity. And … Oprah, amirite?

Q: What book is on your nightstand right now?

“The Comfort Food Diaries,” by former New Yorker editor Emily Nunn. I love stories about family, food, travel and transformation, and so far, Nunn’s book has been a nice blend of all four. Plus, she includes recipes, so you can try your hand at what she’s making in the book.

Q: Because we love recommendations, what are some of your favorite restaurants—from hole-in-the-wall to let’s-dress-up-and-go-out kind of dining—in your town?

When looking for some good Italian food and the best happy hour in Baltimore, my coworkers and I visit La Scala Ristorante, which boasts $7 bowls of homemade pasta and decadent espresso martinis. They also have bocce ball, which makes for a fun activity while waiting for your food or post-meal. If sharing and sampling is your thing, visit La Cuchara, a Basque restaurant, which has some pinxtos and other small plates, delicious cava, and mouthwatering churros.

Brunch at Blue Moon Cafe is bound to fill you up and excite your taste buds, with Cap’n Crunch french toast, a Frito pie french toast, and the “Sweet Baby Jesus,” a heap of hash browns, crab meat, eggs and hollandaise sauce, topped with Old Bay (Warning: might need help walking out of the restaurant after this).

If you’re not afraid to get a little dirty and dig in hands first, crack open some crabs and indulge in seafood at LP Steamers.

And don’t forget Baltimore’s carryout staples. Sunny’s Subs has one of the best chicken boxes in the city and also serves lake trout—a fried fish sandwich that has nothing to do with a lake, or trout, for that matter. Wash it all down with a half-and-half, a sugary mix of sweet tea and lemonade. I’ve learned, it’s the Baltimore way.

Q: Last song you sang out loud.

“What’s My Name” by Rihanna featuring Drake (at the gym!)

Q: Favorite quote.

“Your work is to discover your world, and then, with all your heart, give yourself to it.” — Unknown

Janelle Harris

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A writer since she won a crisp dollar bill in an elementary school essay contest, Janelle uses her platform as a storyteller to explore the experiences, challenges and diversities of women and people of color, particularly Black folks, who she loves fiercely.

As a journalist, her work covers race, class, gender and culture and has appeared in more than 40 print and digital publications.

As an editor, copywriter and communications consultant, she has shaped content that reframes played out narratives and equitably represents communities undervoiced in mainstream media. She believes in the magic of stilettos, cookies and cream milkshakes, and saying “hi” to strangers on the street.


Q: Tell us about your current work.

I’m in a space where I want to try new things. I want do some documentary work. I want to learn photography. I want to launch a podcast. I want to write longer, feature-length articles.

Right now, I’m working on a series of stories that lift up the voices of poor people. I think they’re talked about, but not necessarily talked to, so I’m shopping some pieces about the realness of poverty, like the psychological effects of gentrification, for example.

Q: What’s your favorite story or project you’ve ever worked on and why?

I traveled to Alaska to interview a Native community in Anchorage about a rites of passage program and ceremony for teenage boys. In addition to learning about a culture so different and far away from my own, the beauty of nature was breathtaking. The people were super friendly and I loved their community-centeredness, putting family and honor over anything external.

I interviewed an elderly couple — he was 92, she was 86, I think — who made feathered fans for the boys to use in the ceremony celebrating their transition into manhood. It was my first time using a translator for to ask questions and they were all incredibly patient with me. It was such a dope experience.

Q: Most memorable person you’ve ever interviewed?

I have a bucket list of folks I really want to meet and most of them are older, so I tracked down Gloria Richardson — civil rights legend, white privilege eviscerator, fearless bayonet pusher — and interviewed her in March this year. She’s 96 and still remembers the details of her protests and negotiations so clearly, it’s amazing.

I can’t remember what I did yesterday but she can recall with clarity a conversation she had with Malcolm X 50 years ago. I’ll never forget it.

Q: Advice you would give to an aspiring features journalist?

Create systems to help streamline the un-sexy parts of writing: transcribing interviews, fact-checking, following up with sources. When I started outsourcing my transcriptions and doing checklists for my facts, I had more time to focus on the thinking and writing, which is what I want to be doing anyway.

Q: Favorite guilty pleasure reads/social media feeds?

I love Red Table Talks with Jada Pinkett Smith on Facebook and my short attention span lets me stay on the treadmill if I’m watching a Broadly or Refinery29 mini-documentary on YouTube.

Q: What book is on your nightstand right now?

“Barracoon,” by Zora Neale Hurston

Q: Because we love recommendations, what are some of your favorite restaurants — from hole-in-the-wall to let’s-dress-up-and-go-out kind of dining — in your town?

For casual sit-down, the fried chicken at Langston Bar and Grille on H Street is so good. It’s tiny in there, but the people are friendly and you don’t feel the smallness of the space as much.

Henry’s Soul Café in Oxon Hill, just a few steps across the southeast DC border, has godly soul food. There are a few tables but I’d go on ahead and carry out.

The Hamilton on F Street in Northwest is get-dressed-and-go-out nice, but their chicken wings and mumbo sauce is the best in the city, in my opinion.

The Monocle on D Street NE by Union Station has amazing steaks and the best darn house breads I’ve ever tasted. You actually feel sad when the bread basket is empty. And a lot of politicians and chichi uppity folks eat there, so you might catch a whiff of gossip while you’re eating, which is cool if you’re interested.

Q: Last song you sang out loud,

“For the Love of You” by the Isley Brothers (loud AND off-key)

Q: Favorite quote

It’s not an absolute favorite, but it’s one of them: “The man who can murder on the printed page can do so time and time again and need not fear jail or death.”
—Addison Gayle, Jr.

Of course, I would change that to “man” to “woman.”



SFJ18 conference schedule: A time for renewal



Society for Features Journalism
Conference 2018

Wednesday-Saturday, Sept. 12-15, 2018
New Orleans
Theme: Renewal
Hotel: Ace Hotel
Sessions location: Loyola University New Orleans
Auction location: The New Orleans Advocate

WEDNESDAY | 09.12.18

Opening reception and registration | 6 to 9 p.m.
Barnett Dining Room and Courtyard at Ace Hotel
Meet your fellow features creatures, register for the conference and relax. Enjoy a glass – or two – of wine, some hors d’oeuvres and good conversation. SFJ President Jim Haag and other officers will welcome guests and introduce some special folks, such as our Diversity Fellows and any panelists in attendance.

THURSDAY | 09.13.18

Communications/Music Complex, Loyola Unversity New Orleans

Those attending will take the streetcar from Ace Hotel to Loyola. The streetcar runs every 15 minutes. The trip takes about 30 minutes. We’ll provide streetcar passes for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

8:30-9:15 a.m. | Breakfast and registration at Loyola

9:15-9:50 a.m. | The conference opening
Let the renewal – of your skills and your spirit – begin. SFJ President Jim Haag, retired features editor at The Virginian-Pilot, welcomes attendees, and Mark Lorando, editor of The Times-Picayune, delivers the keynote address.

9:50-10 a.m. | Break

10-11 a.m. | Finding story ideas: 20 tips your editor won’t tell you
Lane DeGregory, enterprise reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, talks about stories that came from a variety of sources and discusses how a general assignment reporter comes up with fascinating people and topics to write about.

11 a.m.-noon | Get the most out of online tools
Samantha Sunne, a trainer with the Society for Professional Journalists, will offer tips on using YouTube, Public Data Explorer and Trends. Samantha is well-versed in many technology tools involving Google and other online sites.

Noon-1:15 p.m. | SFJ Hall of Fame luncheon and induction
It’s been too long – eight years – since SFJ inducted anyone into our Hall of Fame. So, we’ll rectify that this year by introducing our newest members – two former SFJ presidents who continue to inspire and teach us: Ann Maloney of Times-Picayune, and Alice Short, retired from the Los Angeles Times.

1:30-2:25 p.m. | Navigating the new world order – online and in print
More reporters – and even news sites – are injecting opinion in their posts on Twitter and Facebook in the wake of #metoo, school shootings and the current political climate. How is that greeted, and legally can reporters get fired for these kinds of posts? We’ll share some social-media policies from around the country, and try to shed some light on this issue. We’ll also look at the state of presenting the ”other side” in stories when you know that the source is not being honest. Does balanced coverage mean accurate coverage? Where do we draw the line? A panel discussion led by Emily Spicer, features editor at the San Antonio Express-News, with Jamie Stockwell, deputy national editor at The New York Times; Eva Saketkoo, a media attorney with the Hearst Corp.; and others.

2:25-2:30 p.m. | Break

2:30-3:30 p.m. | The perfect recipe for creating a food community on social media
Hear how publications are using social media to create a food community that shares stories and can be mined for ideas. Emily Spicer, features editor at the San Antonio Express-News, leads a panel discussion that includes Ann Maloney, a food writer at Times-Picayune, who will talk about her publications vibrant food following and how it came to be. Liz Seymour, features editor at The Washington Post, discusses The Post’s new stream of food coverage called Voraciously that is aiming for a young digital reader.

3:30-4:20 p.m. | Reporters and editors: teaming up to tell stories
Reporters want attention, support and confidence. Editors need focus, patience and conviction. Success means working well together. Lane DeGregory, enterprise reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, and Maria Carrillo, assistant managing editor/enterprise at the Tampa Bay Times, will talk about what editors and reporters can do to build that relationship.

4:20-4:30 p.m. | Break

4:30-5 p.m. | Show + Steal, Part 1
Laura T. Coffey, a writer and editor at, moderates one of our most popular sessions, where editors share their best ideas from the past year for anyone to steal. A warning: Laura’s enthusiasm can be infectious, so we might get a little carried away here. The streetcar will take us back to Ace Hotel.

6:30-9:30 p.m. | The SFJ Foundation Auction at The New Orleans Advocate (about three blocks from Ace.)
We’ll offer appetizers and drinks as we sell, both silently and aloud, the goodies we’ve gathered from across the country to help support the SFJ Foundation’s Diversity Fellowship program. Emily Spicer and Jim Haag will lead the craziness, with able assistance from those in the crowd. Dan Shea, president and publisher of our hosts, The New Orleans Advocate, will welcome guests, and Diversity Committee Chairwoman Jeneé Osterheldt will talk about the importance of the Diversity Fellowship program and will introduce our three Fellows for 2018. Expect an evening of chaos and be prepared to sing, just in case.

FRIDAY | 09.14.18

Communications/Music Complex, Loyola University New Orleans
Those attending will take the streetcar from Ace Hotel to Loyola. The streetcar runs every 15 minutes. The trip takes about 20 minutes. We’ll provide streetcar passes for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

8:30-9:15 a.m. | Breakfast at Loyola

9:15-10:15 a.m. | Hello, digital! Goodbye, print?
Liz Seymour, features editor at The Washington Post, talks about the process of transforming from print to digital and what that really means in 2018. The Post has been a leader in the field, but even the biggest papers are finding a slow road as we cut our ties with paper and fully embrace the digital future.

10:15-10:30 a.m. | Break

10:30-11:30 p.m. | The #metoo movement: Where are we now?
The news of 2017 and 2018 was frequently dominated by stories about sexual harassment and assault. A trickle turned into a torrent of headlines, accusations, denials and apologies. Companies and institutions and individuals resolved to look inward to change toxic cultures. Many women found reasons to feel optimistic – or, at the very least, they found outlets for their rage. Now it’s September 2018, and the big question is: Where are we as a country and a culture? Institutional change takes years, but are there examples of documentable change or plans in place that might offer hope that the issue won’t fade from prominence? Who continues to kick ass and take names? Alice Short, retired assistant managing editor at the Los Angeles Times, will lead a panel discussion with L.A. Times columnist Robin Abcarian; Brett Anderson, food critic at Times-Picayune; and Jeneé Osterheldt, a writer at The Boston Globe.

11:30 a.m.-noon | Search and slice: being your own best editor
Learn how to edit – yourself and others – when you’re racing against a deadline. Maria Carrillo, assistant managing editor/enterprise at the Tampa Bay Times, offers pointers that will help you get your stories online quickly and accurately but also will serve you well when you’re doing long-form work.

12:15-1:15 p.m. | SFJ award winners luncheon
We laud the winners of the 2018 Excellence-in-Features Awards.

1:30-2:25 p.m. | Show + Steal, Part 2
Laura T. Coffey, a writer and editor at, is back with more great ideas to share.

2:25-2:30 p.m. | Break

2:30-3:30 p.m. |Cooking up profits on social media
Learn how publications are making money – money! – from food events. Emily Spicer, features editor at the San Antonio Express-News, leads a panel discussion that includes Ann Maloney, a food writer at Times-Picayune, who will talk about ways her publication has mined food for gold.

3:30-3:40 p.m. | Break

3:40-4:30 p.m. | Short takes: reporting and framing narratives in a day
Follow a veteran reporter – Lane DeGregory, enterprise reporter at the Tampa Bay Times – and a longtime editor – Maria Carrillo, assistant managing editor/enterprise at the Tampa Bay Times – as they talk about taking small bites off the news and writing short narrative stories and doing it all in one day.

The streetcar will take us back to Ace Hotel.

SATURDAY | 09.15.18

Communications/Music Complex, Loyola Unversity New Orleans
Those attending will take the streetcar from Ace Hotel to Loyola.

8:30-9:15 a.m. | Breakfast at Loyola

9:15-10:25 p.m. | What should we do with kids today? Train ’em? Teach ’em? Or – maybe listen to them?
We all need cheap labor, right? How about hooking up with a local college? But then what? Laura Jayne, a former professional journalist and now the director of student services at Loyola University New Orleans, talks about a program she started at Loyola that lets students in her class partner with and The New Orleans Advocate and write for them as freelancers for the exposure. She’ll offer tips on how to do this at your own paper. Barbara Allen, the managing editor of the Poynter Institute’s website and the former director of student media at Oklahoma State University, will offer
advice for mentoring college students, whether they’re interning or freelancing or the newest members of your staff. And a college student will tell us what journalism students want from professional journalists.

10:25-10:30 a.m. | Break

10:30-11:30 a.m. | Features 911
We’re bringing back an old favorite. Annette Sisco, features editor at The New Orleans Advocate, leads a discussion where we answer questions posed by conference attendees. We’ll have a 911 box available throughout the conference, and we’ll ask conference attendees to ask questions, both big and small. Sharon Chapman of the Austin American-Statesman already has the first question for the group: How does everyone handle movie listings these days?

11:30 a.m.-noon | Changing of the guard
It’s a time-honored tradition: The current SFJ president, Jim Haag, turns over the gavel – and few surprising pieces of clothing – to the incoming president, Margaret Myers of Atlantic Media. Then, sadly, it’s time to wrap it up.

12:30-2 p.m. | SFJ BOARD MEETING at Loyola
Margaret Myers will lead her first meeting at SFJ president, and the SFJ gang starts to look ahead to 2019.

Winners of 2018 SFJ Excellence-in-Features Awards!




DIVISION 1 | Circulation up to 90,000

These awards recognize the three publications that garner the most honors in the contest’s other 20 categories.
First place: (New Orleans) Times-Picayune
Seven awards, including five firsts (Best Features Digital Presence, Feature Series or Project, Integrated Storytelling, Diversity in Digital Features and Best Niche Product) and two thirds (General Feature and Food Feature).
Second place: The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post
Six awards, including two firsts (Best Special Section and Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio) and four thirds (Best Special Section, Narrative Storytelling, Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio and A&E Commentary Portfolio).
Third place: The (Colorado Springs) Gazette
Four awards, including two firsts (Best Section and Best Special Section) and two seconds (Short Feature and Sports Feature).

The best regularly occurring printed features sections that focus on A&E, lifestyles or other features coverage.
First place: The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call
Judge’s comments: Wonderful, eye-popping designs make these sections memorable. As so do timely and lively topics and spectacular writing. And don’t forget the clever headlines, including “Second, Best,” a great take on the “La La Land”/”Moonlight” fiasco at the Oscars. It all combines to make these sections shine.
Second place: The (Colorado Springs) Gazette
Judge’s comments: Striking designs – including a fun spread on pen pals – are the hallmark of these award-worthy sections. They feature a nice mix of local and national topics, and they are tightly and brightly written.
Third place: (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union
Judge’s comments: Some fine, fun sections with excellent design – check out the beautiful package on heirloom apples. The sections do a great job of speaking to local audiences.
Honorable mention: Edmonton (Canada) Journal

The best your publication has to offer in digital A&E, features and lifestyle coverage.
First place: Where NOLA Eats: New Orleans Food and Dining Coverage, (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, Todd A. Price, Ann Maloney and Brett Anderson
Judge’s comments: knows food, and it’s extremely apparent that this culinary team are the experts when it comes to food and dining in New Orleans – and readers tap into that on multiple platforms. In this digital age of trying to marry Facebook and the print product, “Where NOLA Eats” has a creative strategy that clearly pays off.
Second place:, Craftsmanship Quarterly, Todd Oppenheimer and Gaynor Strachan Chun, Craftsmanship Quarterly, “How the Principles of Craftsmanship Can Inform Our Lifestyle Choices and Create a World Built to Last”
Judge’s comments: Beautiful storytelling. Each medium – the stories, photos and videos – showcases the subject expertly while stirring nostalgic memories and giving readers an “I want more” feeling. These stories are addicting.

Feature treatment of any A&E, lifestyles or news topic.
First place: Greg Stanley, Naples (Fla.) Daily News, “1,100 Miles: Discovering Florida’s Hidden Trail”
Judge’s comments: This story – following a hiker along a daunting trail in Florida – stood out for its graceful writing, for its strong sense of place and for a journey that never felt exhausting or plodding.
Second place: Lindsay Moore, Phoenix New Times, “Refusing to Drown Her Sorrow”
Judge’s comments: A terrible accident. A mother’s determination. A promising treatment. It adds up to a compelling read.
Third place: Jed Lipinski, (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, “Justice for Danny”
Judge’s comments: This man’s story – a small-town pharmacist who goes after his son’s killer – is pretty incredible, showing how he channeled his pain into a life of purpose.

Feature treatment of an arts and entertainment topic.
First place: Liane Faulder, Edmonton (Canada) Journal, “Broadway-Bound Show Hits the Stage at The Citadel with Hadestown Debut”
Judge’s comments: The writer might not agree with this assessment, but there’s some irreverence here, and that’s what makes this story so enjoyable. A lesser writer would have built this story around the celebration of the accomplishment that Broadway came calling to Canada’s middle section. But the irreverence is that this story lets the reader in on the secret that Edmonton’s theater scene is better than
you think it is – and worthy of Broadway’s attention. That vibe starts with the first sentence and doesn’t die until the final punctuation point. Along the way, the writing is easy to read with a voice of life and purpose.
Second place: Amy Biancolli, (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union, “On Music, Race History and ‘The Closet’”
Judge’s comments: Let’s applaud this writer for being myopic. For deciding that this story didn’t need to have a laborious nut graph explaining how this tale relates to America’s great shame or to have a stilted section that forcefully runs through a history of segregation and tangentially ties this tale to it. Let’s applaud the decision to simply tell a man’s story and to let the subtext or quick phrases handle the connective tissue of history. Yes, let’s applaud, because it was a wonderful read of historical importance that could have been forgotten or ignored – or worse yet, written like a “news” story.
Third place: Simi Horwitz, Film Journal International, “Risk-Takers: Middle Eastern Filmmakers Defy Danger to Capture the Region’s Turmoil”
Judge’s comments: It’s nice when stories help readers understand the inspiration behind art or the motivation to create and tell stories. And this feature does that quite well, while reminding us that art as rebellion doesn’t just have to be a video by a pop star who’s feeling saucy. The story is written well and sourced expertly.
Honorable mention: Dawn Kane, (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record, “Photographer Carol Highsmith’s Work for Library of Congress is Her Calling”

Tight, bright writing of fewer than 1,000 words.
First place: Seth Boster, The (Colorado Springs) Gazette, “Snow Man”
Judge’s comments: This story of a sweet man captured his sense of isolation as well as his sense of purpose. Nice job painting a picture of solitary, remote living without overly romanticizing it. Measured, smooth writing.
Second place: Andrea Brown, The (Everett, Wash.) Daily Herald, “Some Dos (and Don’ts) for the POTUS: Local Barbers, Hairdressers Offer Style Ideas for Trump’s Hair”
Judge’s comments: Great idea – to have locals give style tips to the president – offered in a sense of fun and even acknowledging the haters who will protest. Loved the range of hairdressers and their honest curiosity about what makes the president’s hair so bad and helpful ideas for how to fix it.
Third place: Connor Sheets, The Birmingham (Ala.) News/, “How a Former Sharecropper in an SUV Helped Drive Doug Jones to Victory in Alabama’s Black Belt”
Judge’s comments: This was a perfect subject for a short piece – a zoomed-in look at a fervent volunteer for Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones. She shows her passion and persistence in a story that moved along nicely.
Honorable mention: Emma Graney and Juris Graney, Edmonton (Canada) Journal, “Dear Canada: We Just Became Two of Your Newest Citizens. Thank You.”

A single story focusing on food, not including reviews or commentary. Can be a trend story, personality profile, narrative piece, how-to or other feature treatment of a food topic. Each entry consists of one story.
First place: Ian McNulty, The New Orleans Advocate, “At the Stand-Up Oyster Bars of New Orleans, the Best Seats in the House Aren’t Seats”
Judge’s comments: What a story! This tale about the lack of seats at Ed’s Oyster Bar & Fish House is compelling, with a grabby lede and simple and direct writing that is sprinkled with evocative images.
Second place: Tim Ebner, Eater, “The Cult of Crystal Hot Sauce”
Judge’s comments: A well-told tale on a surprising subject. This story – about how New Orleans’ cayenne condiment conquered America – features captivating writing and shows that the writer has a keen ear for dialogue and killer quotes. The backstory is just enough to flesh out the tale without overwhelming it. Highly readable, and extremely engaging.
Third place: Todd A. Price, (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, “Café Henri Retools: How to Run a Restaurant When Your Neighbors Are AirBnBs”
Judge’s comments: Starting the story with a failing restaurant made for a fresh take on food writing – and a compelling lede. The piece follows the owners of Café Henri as they revamp their business to meet a growing AirBnB clientele in the neighborhood. Revealing how the restaurant retooled its services made for not only interesting reading but also a cautionary note for others in the food business.

Feature treatment of any lifestyle, A&E or news topic that has multiple parts.
First place: Brett Anderson, (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, “John Besh Restaurants Fostered Culture of Sexual Harassment, 25 Women Say”
Judge’s comments: Anderson’s in-depth reporting on the charges of sexual harassment at Chef John Besh’s restaurant group went above and beyond typical coverage for a dining critic. More than eight months of interviews and research went into the piece, which was well-sourced with personal stories, national experts and responses from Besh and his managers. These pieces told the story fairly, without
drama or sentimentality, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions to the veracity of the speakers on both sides.
Second place: Paul Grondahl, Anja Adriaans and Marco Cilissen, (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union, “Albany, Nijmegen Bond Celebrates 70th Anniversary”
Judge’s comments: These stories on the 70-year bond between the sister cities of Albany, N.Y., and the Dutch city of Nijmegen encapsulate World War II history, a heartfelt friendship marked by shipments from Albany’s citizens to the war-ravaged city, return gifts of tulip bulbs and a personal tale of a fine pair of shoes given to a Dutch teen. Timed to run before Albany’s annual Tulip Fest, the extensive interviews
and research give the reader much more than a typical preview.
Third place: Tracy O’Shaughnessy, (Waterbury, Conn.) Republican-American, “The Lost Arts”
Judge’s comments: This series goes beyond the basic tales of trades that are being lost to a digital era and a disposable consumer mindset. Each of O’Shaughnessy’s stories gives her readers deeply personal portraits of the artists – from their earliest years, through training and opening a business, to the dismal future with which they are left. Great details about workspaces, personalities and craftsmanship.

A single story told in a narrative style, using techniques such as character development, use of dialogue, sense of place, scene building, narrative arc and adherence to theme.
First place: Danny Wicentowski, (St. Louis) Riverfront Times, “The Final Flight of Martin McNally”
Judge’s comments: Writer Wicentowski clearly built a relationship of trust with his subject, which resulted in an extremely detailed and vivid depiction of an event that took place more than 40 years ago. The story was full of suspense, intrigue and narrative arcs.
Second place: Ken Fine, (Durham, N.C.) Indy Week, “A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician”
Judge’s comments: Well-written and full of details.
Third place: Pat Beall, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, “A World With No Floor”
Judge’s comments: In this vividly written tale, Beall takes readers through her personal journey of sexual abuse as a child with the help of imagery and poetic turns of phrase. And she backs up her story with details from the outside world.
Honorable mention: Yereth Rosen, (Anchorage) Alaska Dispatch News, “Amid Deep Grief, Remembering Jack Cooper’s Joyous Life”

Three stories by the same writer on one features specialty topic, such as arts and entertainment, fashion, food, health, religion, technology or travel.
First place: Larry Aydlette, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post
Judge’s comments: Aydlette has a great eye for stories that flesh out the unique histories that give the area its personality. Kudos for the extensive research and attention to details.
Second place: Dawn Kane, (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record
Judge’s comments: Loved the subjects – great variety and great people you wouldn’t know without the reporter writing about them. Nice touch of humor, particularly in the piece about the fashion designer.
Third place: Liz Balmeseda, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post
Judge’s comments: The story choices were great, and the writer used perfect details to convey her subjects’ personalities.

A collection of three columns or essays by the same writer on any human interest or specialty topic, excluding editorials.
First place: Ed Hardin, (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record
Judge’s comments: Hardin’s thoroughly reported and beautifully written work is a delight. In one column, you can hear the zoom of race-car driver Richard Petty’s engine; in another, you can hear the water lapping during an Easter morning fishing trip. The piece on the boyhood home of Andrew Jackson was insightful, thought-provoking and skillfully done. An especially impressive amount of reporting is
exhibited in each piece. There’s no substitute for feet on the street, and it seems as though Hardin must wear out plenty of shoe leather on the job.
Second place: Andrea Brown, The (Everett, Wash.) Daily Herald
Judge’s comments: Brown’s work takes readers both back in time and to the party. Brilliant writing brings her subjects to life. Each piece is a lesson, a backstage pass or a time machine – what a treat for readers.
Third place: Ian McNulty, The New Orleans Advocate
Judge’s comments: Rich, riveting reporting makes these columns delectable. Food writer McNulty puts readers at the bar, at the table, at the food court – wherever he is. Reading his columns feels like dining with a friend.

A collection of three columns, essays or reviews by the same writer on any arts and entertainment topic, including dining reviews but excluding editorials.
First place: Keith Spera, The New Orleans Advocate
Judge’s comments: Similar to the adage “all politics is local,” music writer Spera finds hometown dimensions in a visit by perhaps the world’s biggest band, U2. Spera nails his twin roles as reporter and critic with authority, unfussy writing and an eye for telling detail.
Second place: Simi Horwitz, Film Journal International
Judge’s comments: Horwitz’s writing is rich in cinema history. As she describes certain films, you’ll feel the yen to discover them for yourself – a solid measure of success for a critic.
Third place: Leslie Gray Streeter, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post
Judge’s comments: It’s one thing for a writer to have the guts to insert her personal history into a feature story, but to do so in service of a meaningful idea, as Streeter manages to do quite effectively, is another trick altogether.

Feature treatment of any sports topic.
First place: Stephanie Earls, The (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Gazette, “Frigid Fishing”
Judge’s comments: Writer Earls combines humor and vivid imagery in this riveting fish-out-of-water take on ice fishing. Consider this description: “All around us, the ice emits strange bangs and snaps, the sound of glacial chiropractics as it readjusts atop the 175-acre reservoir.” Bonus points for having to take notes in minus-15-degree weather.
Second place: Keith Spera, The New Orleans Advocate, “Dear London: The Saints Are Coming. Brace Yourselves Accordingly.”
Judge’s comments: Our accent! Our football obsession! Our “Who Dat?” When the New Orleans Saints went to London to play football against the Miami Dolphins, writer Spera thought we owed the British an explanation. So he wrote a letter. It’s perfect.
Third place: Ed Hardin, (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record, “Richard Petty Turns 80: The King and I”
Judge’s comments: This distinctive personal tribute to an aging race-car-driving icon is capped by a moving conclusion.
Honorable mention: Jennifer Sheehan, The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call, “Marathoner Reaches Finish Line”

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic told through the integrated use of print, online, social media, video and any other platform.
First place: Todd A. Price, (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, “Meet the 2017 James Beard Award Nominees”
Judge’s comments: This entry is proof that you don’t need an entire team of video editors and digital design mavens to pull off something special. The tightly edited chef videos were the perfect complement to tight Q&As that whet the reader’s appetite for more.
Second place: Staff, (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union, High School Musical Theatre Awards Coverage
Judge’s comments: Smart layering of live social media coverage with all the trimmings of a special community-driven event. This is a coverage model for other large-scale events.
Third place: Staff, (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record, National Folk Festival Coverage
Judge’s comments: Comprehensive coverage of a multi-faceted event – these pieces allow readers to delve as deeply into the topic as their interest takes them.

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic that highlights the diversity within a publication’s audience.
First place: Ann Maloney, (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, “New Orleans-Area Muslims Invite Community to Share Nightly Ramadan Feast”
Judge’s comments: It’s impossible to talk – or write – about diversity in a community without considering its culinary contribution. Writer Maloney immerses herself in the thing that is most important to our food – tradition. By examining Ramadan iftar foods, traditional Asian foods and something as simple as common beach-street foods from the Caribbean, she transports readers to other places, and, at
the same time, gives us a snapshot of what’s happening in our own backyards. Her writing is lively and charming. Well done.
Second place: Jennifer Sheehan, The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call, A Look at Families Dealing with Autism
Judge’s comments: Few health issues are as perplexing as autism. Writer Sheehan examines one element – animation and communication – and writes in a compelling way about the difficulties faced by families affected by autism and the sheer joy that can come from something as simple as hearing your child sing “Frozen” songs or seeing them express emotion by falling in love with a slick red car.
Third place: Paula Simons, Clare Clancy and Mark Iype, Edmonton (Canada) Journal, “On Point: Fifty Years Ago, Canada Changed its Immigration Policy and in Doing So Changed the Face of This Country”
Judge’s comments: These pieces look at the timely issue of immigration and consider it from the full spectrum of policies, places and people. The human stories are compelling, and it’s easy to imagine what those first cold winters must have been like for Canada’s new immigrants.

The best your publication has to offer in printed A&E, features and lifestyle coverage.
First place: Staff, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, “Hurricane Irma: Surviving the Monster Storm” 
Judge’s comments: This special section stands out for the careful documentation of a natural disaster that made history. The section captures the drama and tragedy of Hurricane Irma through vivid photography and thorough reporting. The Page 3 maps – which detail information about the storm – were particularly well done. This special section provided a great service to the newspaper’s readers, some of whom will surely save it for posterity.
Second place: Staff, The (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Gazette, “Colorful Colorado”
Judge’s comments: Beautifully written and photographed, this special section does its job of making readers want to visit these lesser-known places in “Colorful Colorado.”
Third place: Staff, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, “Eclipse Extra”
Judge’s comments: Palm Beach Post staff members demonstrated that they can consistently produce eye-catching special sections with this preview of the total eclipse.

The best examples of a niche product – such as a magazine or special section – published at least two times a year.
First place: Brett Anderson and Todd A. Price, Dine & Spirits, (New Orleans) Times-Picayune
Judge’s comments: These dining and drinking guides are must-haves for anyone living in or visiting New Orleans. The amount of information is amazing – short reviews of restaurants, bars and barbecue joints; gorgeous photos that offer a feel for the places and a look at their tastiest offerings; and writing that is both informational and illuminating. For instance, it’s telling to know that food critic Anderson has made more reservations at Upperline restaurant than any other. Bravo!
Second place: Staff, Upstate, (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union
Judge’s comments: An impressive mix of stories – including short blurbs, Q&As, listings, recipes and longer narratives – keeps things interesting. The covers are striking, and the tone is sometimes serious, sometimes playful. This is a publication you want to linger with.
Third place: Cindy Loman, Whitney Cork and Tina Firesheets, 1808, (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record
Judge’s comments: A solid magazine with striking covers, a nice mix of stories and beautiful photography.
Honorable mention: Staff, Washington North Coast, The (Everett, Wash.) Daily Herald

DIVISION 2 | Circulation 90,000 to 199,999

These awards recognize the three publications that garner the most honors in the contest’s other 20 categories.
First place: The Virginian-Pilot
Fourteen awards, including four firsts (Short Feature, Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio, Video Storytelling and Best Niche Product), three seconds (Features Series or Project, Integrated Storytelling and Digital Innovation), five thirds (A&E Feature, Food Feature, Sports Feature, Best Special Section and Best Podcast) and two honorable mentions (Best Section and Diversity in Digital Features).
Second place: The Baltimore Sun
Eight awards, including three firsts (Food Feature, Integrated Storytelling and Best Special Section), three seconds (A&E Commentary Portfolio, Video Storytelling and Integrated Storytelling), one third (Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio) and one honorable mention (Best Special Section).
Third place: San Antonio Express-News
Eight awards, including one first (General Commentary Portfolio), three seconds (Food Feature, Narrative Storytelling and Sports Feature), one third (Integrated Storytelling) and three honorable mentions (Short Feature, Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio and Sports Feature).

The best regularly occurring printed features sections that focus on A&E, lifestyles or other features coverage.
First place: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Judge’s comments: What impressed us most about The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was its commitment to projects that really cover the city and appeal to all kinds of readers: The “Bridges of Pittsburgh” project, the clever and useful “Burgs and Burgers” and the page-turning “Notorious Pittsburgh” were well-done
and complemented by sharp event previews and commentary.
Second place: Austin (Texas) American-Statesman
Judge’s comments: These sections put readers first, offering top-notch service journalism – the guide to SXSW, the Dining Guide and local seasonal food section – along with beautifully written longer reads, such as the Jimmy LaFave piece and a vibrant travel section.
Third place: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Judge’s comments: We love the surprising mix and variety of the Post-Dispatch. The Mocking Meatloaf package illustration was smart and eye-catching, the Fall Book Preview was useful and authoritative, and the overall diversity of stories was impressive.
Honorable mention: The Virginian-Pilot

The best your publication has to offer in digital A&E, features and lifestyle coverage.
First place: Chow Town, The Kansas City Star, Jill Silva and Sarah Gish
Judge’s comments: The food coverage, across all social platforms, is focused and lively.
Second place:, Sun-Sentinel, Staff
Judge’s comments: Excellent job using various platforms – the Web, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – for features coverage.

Feature treatment of any A&E, lifestyles or news topic.
First place: Dan Horn, The Cincinnati Enquirer, “Abused by a Priest, Now a Champion of the Church”
Judge’s comments: The unusual nature of this story grabs readers and won’t let go. This piece about a man who was abused by a priest is a surprise – it’s remarkably different than most accounts of abuse in the Catholic Church. It’s a story of forgiveness. It’s the story of a man who has made peace with the
horrific circumstances of his childhood. He has embraced the enemy, which apparently is sometimes a good idea. Even though his actions have alienated others, he makes no apologies.
Second place: Nancy Flores, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, “Finding Her Way: Transgender Teen Transitions as Gender Identity Under Fire at Legislature”
Judge’s comments: This well-written story may seem familiar, but it’s the details that make it a standout. The reporter has ensured that the central characters are portrayed as real people. The parents are caring but hardly perfect; their child is brave but not heroic. All of them are trying to make their way in a world
that is not universally supportive of the transgender population. An engrossing tale that we didn’t want to end.
Third place: Maria Sciullo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “The Sorrows of a 1977 University of Evansville Plane Crash Were Felt by Many in Pittsburgh”
Judge’s comments: The plane crash, which killed 14 members of the university’s basketball team, was a tragedy that, for Pittsburgh residents, happened in another place at another time. But the story is a great example of how strong reporting and writing can make the past seem urgent and relevant.
Honorable mention: Ginny Monk and Staton Breidenthal, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “Heart and Soul: Husband’s, Daddy’s Love an Ever-Fixed Mark”

Feature treatment of an arts and entertainment topic.
First place: Sadie Dingfelder, The Washington Post Express, “Where Liberals and Conservatives Debate the Issues with Pile Drivers and Body Slams”
Judge’s comments: This is what we all should want from an enterprising features story. It’s a fun piece about a pro wrestling federation in Northern Virginia that should surprise anyone who sees it. It enlightens us to a world we’re unaware of. It’s written in a way that’s as entertaining as the subject matter. And it’s tapped into the zeitgeist. This is journalism that lives in the world outside ourselves and informs us of coming fads.
Second place: Bobby Olivier, NJ Advance Media, “‘Whitney’ at 30: An Oral History of N.J.’s Greatest Pop Album”
Judge’s comments: All snobbery included, we’re not sure that we agree that this is New Jersey’s best pop album. (But, then, we’re a bit obsessed with the Misfits.). Having typed that, the piece makes us think that the headline might be right after all. The piece is written in a way that transfers the electricity and energy of the moments of creation. And while oral histories often are overdone, this was an appropriate
decision here, one that drives the pace and rhythm in a manner that pulls readers deeper into the story. Our only complaint is that it needs a companion piece on the Misfits.
Third place: Rashod Ollison, The Virginian-Pilot, “From Foster Care to Visionary Theater Director, NSU’s Anthony Stockard is Giving the Program New Shape”
Judge’s comments: This story isn’t especially deep, informing or surprising. But the writing is so engaging and descriptive that it elevates a simple profile about a new hire into something that feels like it’s striving to be art.
Honorable mention: Amy Kuperinski, NJ Advance Media, “The Man Who Directed ‘La La Land’ is a 32-Year-Old Wunderkind from N.J.”

Tight, bright writing of fewer than 1,000 words.
First place: Joanne Kimberlin, The Virginian-Pilot, “In a Single Week, Chesapeake Family Buries One Son and Gives Birth to Another”
Judge’s comments: A family lost their 4-year-old son to cancer and, less than a week later, had a baby. The writer beautifully captured the emotions and wove in a thread about the family’s faith but never crossed into maudlin territory. Restrained and elegant writing.
Second place: George Morris, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate, “For U-High Grads, Tragedy Created an Unbreakable Bond Called ‘The Tribe’”
Judge’s comments: This tale of old friends reconnecting as one of them was dying felt authentic, showing their actions and revealing their emotions. Written with feeling but not melodrama, the story has the perfect tone.
Third place: Sean Clancy and Kirk Montgomery, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “Shoutout for Sister: The Late Rosetta Nubin Tharpe Joins List of Nominees for Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame”
Judge’s comments: Lean and pithy, this piece packed a lot of information into a small space. Good energetic writing.
Honorable mention: René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, “‘NewsCat’ Brings Smiles Amid the Tragedy of Sutherland Springs”

A single story focusing on food, not including reviews or commentary. Can be a trend story, personality profile, narrative piece, how-to or other feature treatment of a food topic. Each entry consists of one story.
First place: Brittany Britto, The Baltimore Sun, “Unpacking the Chicken Box: The Story Behind Baltimore’s Carryout Staple”
Judge’s comments: This accessible, deftly told story about a city’s love affair with carryout chicken is imbued with local flavor. The tale is told with a briskness that keeps the piece moving while revealing the history of an oft-overlooked favorite food.
Second place: Emily Spicer, San Antonio Express-News, “San Antonio’s Latest Whiskey Imbued with Maverick, Alamo History”
Judge’s comments: Like the drink it lionizes, this story about whiskey is silky smooth. Lyrically written, it is clearly the work of an engaging storyteller who knows how to sprinkle in gems of memorable details that bring the tale to life.
Third place: Rashod Ollison, The Virginian-Pilot, “Virginia Beach Woman Brings Integrity to Soul Food with YouTube Videos”
Judge’s comments: The observations, the dialogue and the details in this story about a woman who has gained a huge following with down-to-earth cooking videos give us a sense of being in the room with her. Delving into the controversy about soul food adds depth to a well-written profile.
Honorable mention: Kelly Brandt and Staton Breidenthal, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “It Starts With Mother: Making Vinegar is Fun, and It Takes Only a Starter and a Bare Minimum of Ingredients”

Feature treatment of any lifestyle, A&E or news topic that has multiple parts.
First place: Rick Telander, Chicago Sun-Times, “A Season Under the Gun”
Judge’s comments: This series examines the affect of the rampant violence on Chicago’s West Side on high school teenagers through their basketball team. The teens’ stories are as shocking as they are matter-of-fact – for most of them, violent death is merely a part of life. Writer Telander gives readers a personal, insider look at kids coping with difficult lives. These stories – of youths finding joy within the carnage – go beyond headlines and crime statistics.
Second place: Gary Harki and Joanne Kimberlin, The Virginian-Pilot, “The Execution of Ricky Gray”
Judge’s comments: Once reporter Harki was selected to witness an execution, he and colleague Kimberlin took on the task of looking back at the grisly murders that the man committed and at the process of putting a person to death. This compelling story is so well-written that readers are drawn in and carried along without effort. Without sensation or sentiment, we hear from those involved in the execution and are eyewitness to the final deed.
Third place: Kristin Finan, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, “Heartbreak and Hope”
Judge’s comments: In this series, writer Finan gives a first-person account of her experience with the foster-care system – from her tween years and adding a foster mother to her later roles as a mom and wife. The roller-coaster experience of tragedy, love, joy and pain is expanded with loads of interviews, statistics and other research. Remarkable story – and a remarkable life!
Honorable mention: Staff, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “Dead Asleep: Babies at Risk”

A single story told in a narrative style, using techniques such as character development, use of dialogue, sense of place, scene building, narrative arc and adherence to theme.
First place: Jenna Russell, The Boston Globe, “Alone and Untrained, a Mother Becomes Nurse for her Daughter with Disabilities”
Judge’s comments: This terrific story, written with extraordinary feeling and grace, takes readers deep into the life of a family and illuminates a much larger – and largely unknown – problem about health care for special-needs children.
Second place: Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje, San Antonio Express-News, “The Abortion Divide: Two Texas Women’s Stories Dramatize the Crucial Decisions at the Center of Their Lives”
Judge’s comments: A smart take on a hot-button issue, exceptionally reported and well-told.
Third place: Staff, The Cincinnati Enquirer, “Seven Days of Heroin: This is What an Epidemic Looks Like”
Judge’s comments: This look at the heroin epidemic tackles a topic that we’ve all heard much about and sheds new – and sobering – light on it.

Three stories by the same writer on one features specialty topic, such as arts and entertainment, fashion, food, health, religion, technology or travel.
First place: Elizabeth Simpson, The Virginian-Pilot
Judge’s comments: Simpson weaves moving tales about health issues with gravitas and aplomb – the stories are beautifully structured, with sentences that land just so. Readers feel as though they know the subjects and are in the room with them. Powerful work that requires a deft pen to achieve.
Second place: Bobby Olivier, NJ Advance Media
Judge’s comments: This entry shows fantastic range and know-how, and it’s breezily written and fun to read. Irresistible subject matter, too – the opening gambit on the story about the New Jersey man traveling to Germany with $15,000 in his pocket hooked us and didn’t let go.
Third place: Brittany Britto, The Baltimore Sun
Judge’s comments: These enlightening stories, capturing fascinating facets of Baltimore’s African-American culture, show depths of reporting and research about seemingly whimsical topics. We never realized how much we wanted to know about the Crazy Legs dance, chicken boxes and “Baltimorese” – or “Bawlmerese.”
Honorable mention: Silvia Foster-Frau, San Antonio Express-News

A collection of three columns or essays by the same writer on any human interest or specialty topic, excluding editorials.
First place: Emily Spicer, San Antonio Express-News
Judge’s comments: Spicer stands out because she takes on topics not everyone is writing about. And she produces compelling pieces you just can’t put down. Most notable: her column on Boob Glue. That’s right, Boob Glue. Don’t you want to know more? We can’t believe a newspaper ran this column but are so glad it did. Hilarious, a little outrageous but, above all else, informative. Spicer took readers on her sticky journey and bravely posed for some illuminating selfies, resulting in a column that no doubt had readers talking, laughing and, dare we say, uplifted? As soon as you finish reading these comments, please Google this column. It’s a scream.
Second place: Bobby Olivier, NJ Advance Media
Judge’s comments: These pieces feel like a backstage pass and a front-row seat. Richly reported, skillfully written and thoroughly informed, this body of work seems destined to create more informed and culturally aware readers one brilliant column at a time.

A collection of three columns, essays or reviews by the same writer on any arts and entertainment topic, including dining reviews but excluding editorials.
First place: Matthew Odam, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman
Judge’s comments: It’s probably silly to use a word like “terroir” to describe food writing, but Odam has it. His coverage of Texas capital’s food scene has a healthy respect for what keeps Austin weird even as big-money increasingly drives the restaurant business there. Muscular criticism and sparkling detail mark these beautifully crafted reviews.
Second place: David Zurawik, The Baltimore Sun
Judge’s comments: There was much to be outraged about in 2017 if you were a smart media columnist, as Zurawik clearly is. What matters in these pieces, though, is the cogency and careful fact-finding that balances his passion, expressed with clarion-voiced authority.
Third place: Joe Gross, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman
Judge’s comments: Solid, smart film criticism that never condescends to its audience.

Feature treatment of any sports topic.
First place: Vahe Gregorian, Maria Torres and Jill Toyoshiba, The Kansas City Star, “Yordano Ventura’s Final Year Filled With Turmoil, Emotional Distress”
Judge’s comments: In a category with many strong entries, this was the clear winner. Gregorian and Torres explore the death of colorful Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura with in-depth reporting – from stateside as well as the Dominican Republic – and clever writing. “He acted out at opponents for having the temerity to hit the ball off him, or be hit by his pitches.” Toyoshiba adds illuminating photos.
Second place: John Whisler, San Antonio Express-News, “Boxing and San Antonio: A Glove Affair”
Judge’s comments: This look at boxing in San Antonio is comprehensive, entertaining and elevated by Whisler’s writing chops. Consider this gem: “Where San Antonio ranks among America’s best boxing towns is a moving target, about as difficult to define as landing a punch to the chin of Ali in his prime.”
Third place: Ed Miller, The Virginian-Pilot, “A Ref’s Life: One Long Day Under the Looking Glass With NBA Official Leroy Richardson”
Judge’s comments: Miller crafts riveting coverage of a day in the life of NBA ref Leroy Richardson.
Honorable mention: David Hinojosa, San Antonio Express-News, “High School Football Preview: As His Father Heals, Somerset QB Focuses on Season”

The coverage of any A&E, lifestyle or specialty topic using a single video of not more than 8 minutes in length.
First place: Vicki Cronis-Nohe, The Virginian-Pilot, “They May Not Have Homes, but Members of this Norfolk Choir Have Voices. And They Want You to Listen.”
Judge’s comments: One of the best things journalists can do is let people tell their own stories, and this piece does that. Members of a homeless choir – a community that isn’t always depicted in a positive light or allowed to speak for itself – are given a microphone and allowed to share a part of their lives not usually seen.
Second place: Ulysses Muñoz, Algerina Perna and Karl Merton Ferron, The Baltimore Sun, “Still Dancing: Baltimore Club-Style Dance Has Legs”
Judge’s comments: This piece accomplishes much in under three minutes: It’s a cultural primer, a historical record, a provocative commentary – and it’s fun. The video leaves viewers with an understanding of an important slice of dance history in Baltimore while curious to learn more.
Third place: Andre Malok and Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ Advance Media, “For Cash, Name the Candidates for N.J. Governor”
Judge’s comments: This video will make you laugh – and leave you a little afraid for the future of our democracy.

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic told through the integrated use of print, online, social media, video and any other platform.
First place: Brittany Britto and Staff, The Baltimore Sun, “Keep the Beat: Baltimore Club-Style Dance Persists Past its Peak with Support of Local Dancers, Organizers”
Judge’s comments: Ack! There’s hard-to-read white type on a black background, but that’s the only thing we didn’t like about this online package. Beautifully executed storytelling captures the exuberance of this scene. The piece is well-written, with excellent editing and selection of photos and video. These journalists show rather than tell us about dance. It’s nearly perfect.
Second place (tie): Brittany Britto and Staff, The Baltimore Sun, “Hold Up, ‘Hon’: Baltimore’s Black Vernacular Youthful, Dynamic if Less Recognized than ‘Bawlmerese’”
Judge’s comments: Every publication could steal this idea and apply it to the way that local people talk. It’s an evergreen piece that readers likely would come back to again and again. What better way to talk about how people talk than to hear them speaking. The video is a fine mix of scholarship and man-on-the street opinion. Love how the guy explains that he talks the way he does so he can communicate with his
family and friends and to belong.
Second place (tie): Denise Watson and Vicki Cronis-Nohe, The Virginian-Pilot, “They May Not Have Homes, but Members of this Norfolk Choir Have Voices. And They Want You To Listen.”
Judge’s comments: If this story about a homeless choir doesn’t move you, you’re made of stone. This is a deceptively simple package that nails it. Well-written story and moving photos married with a video that pulled us in and hooked us until the end.
Third place: Lauren Caruba and Carolyn Van Houten, San Antonio Express-News, “Life in Transition”
Judge’s comments: The opening to this piece about San Antonians who are transitioning to another gender, is nearly perfect. It quickly captures these individuals’ stories, and the photography is wonderful.

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic that highlights the diversity within a publication’s audience.
First place: Laura Bauer, The Kansas City Star, “Secrecy Inside Child Welfare System Can Kill: ‘God Help the Children of Kansas’”
Judge’s comments: This series – about problems faced by those dealing with the Kansas Department for Children and Families – was expertly presented and leaves readers wondering what can be done to protect children.
Second place: Staff, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, “The Talk”
Judge’s comments: A powerful subject – a look at “the talk” that black parents have with their children about how to survive encounters with police – that is presented expertly. The writers put much thought into the digital presentation – video front and center, then stories below – because it was important to showcase the reason for the talk. Throughout the storytelling, there lies a beacon of hope – for justice, for
change, for understanding.
Third place: Peter Smith, Nate Guidry and Laura Malt Schneiderman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Unsettled in America: Pittsburgh’s Latino Community is Small, Diverse, Growing – and Anxious”
Judge’s comments: Exceptional journalism that captures the long, drawn-out legal fights and the stories of survival of the city’s Latino population.
Honorable mention: Jamesetta Walker, The Virginian-Pilot, “Sickle Cell Aside, Chesapeake Woman Making Her Way in NYC Modeling Scene”

The best your publication has to offer in printed A&E, features and lifestyle coverage.
First place: Staff, “Women to Watch,” The Baltimore Sun
Judge’s comments: This magazine-style special section featured a clean, consistent design and carried a great mix of stories.
Second place: Jill Silva and Tammy Ljungblad, “Fish to Table,” The Kansas City Star
Judge’s comments: It was a close call between second and third places in this category. The Star gained the edge with more consistent writing. And we actually learned much about fresh seafood in the Midwest through these thoroughly interesting stories.
Third place: Sam Hundley, Deborah Armstrong, David Simpson and Staff, “Lighten Up, Pilgrim. Maybe It’s Time to Ditch the Turkey,” The Virginian-Pilot
Judge’s comments: The story planning provided nice variety – not just standard-fare food writing – for this Thanksgiving special section. The mashed potato challenge was particularly enjoyable compared with most holiday recipe pieces.
Honorable mention: Staff, “Dining Guide,” The Baltimore Sun

The best examples of a niche product – such as a magazine or special section – published at least two times a year.
First place: Clay Barbour and Staff, Distinction, The Virginian-Pilot
Judge’s comments: This one has it all – stunning photography, crisp design and engaging writing. Loved the cover story about dogs who thrive in urban environments. This is a magazine you want to curl up with in a cozy chair and linger for hours.
Second place: Mark Gauert, Anderson Greene and Staff, Prime, Sun-Sentinel
Judge’s comments: Stunning covers – of Deborah Harry and Bruce Springsteen – invite readers in. The mix of short takes and longer pieces keeps them there. Loved the piece on five places to escape to before the summer fades away. Overall, a strong effort.
Third place: Staff, Arkansas Life, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Judge’s comments: The impressive covers lure readers in, and they find much to enjoy inside. Well-thought-out stories offer information as well as inspiration. Beautiful job.
Honorable mention: Gabe Hartwig and Staff, Go!, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

DIVISION 3 | Circulation 200,000 and up

These awards recognize the three publications that garner the most honors in the contest’s other 20 categories.
First place: The Washington Post
Seventeen awards, including five firsts (Best Digital Features Presence, General Feature, Food Feature, Sports Feature and Digital Innovation), seven seconds (A&E Feature, Short Feature, Narrative Storytelling, Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio, Video Storytelling, Best Niche Product and Headline Writing Portfolio), three thirds (Best Section, Narrative Storytelling and A&E Commentary Portfolio) and two honorable mentions (A&E Commentary Portfolio and Best Niche Product).
Second place: Los Angeles Times
Seven awards, including three firsts (Best Section, A&E Feature and Features Series or Project), three seconds (A&E Commentary Portfolio, Integrated Storytelling and Podcast) and one third (General Commentary Portfolio).
Third place: The Dallas Morning News
Five awards, including two firsts (General Commentary Portfolio and Podcast), two seconds (Best Features Digital Presence and Food Feature) and one third (Diversity in Digital Features).

The best regularly occurring printed features sections that focus on A&E, lifestyles or other features coverage.
First place: Los Angeles Times
Judge’s comments: The three special themed sections in this entry – on the Oscars, “Hamilton” and road trips – are stunning examples of what a features section can do. The topics are explored from a wide variety of angles with wonderful photography and writing. Most of all, these sections are well-planned, organized and executed. The other sections entered here are equally delightful to read and feel like L.A. –
trendy, smart, eclectic.
Second place: (Minneapolis) Star Tribune
Judge’s comments: The Star Tribune impresses with its ability to take on big subjects – such as the immigrants section – as well as with its great storytelling about everyday people – the vacuum cleaner kid. These sections are well-organized and well-written, and they capture that certain edginess of the Twin Cities. Overall, thorough and thoughtful.
Third place: The Washington Post
Judge’s comments: What a joy to get lost in these sections. The sheer size and scope of these sections is impressive, and the execution is beyond reproach.
Honorable mention: Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times

The best your publication has to offer in digital A&E, features and lifestyle coverage.
First place: Staff, The Washington Post,
Judge’s comments: A lively website, with exceptional writing, good photography and just enough attitude.
Second place: Staff, The Dallas Morning News,
Judge’s comments: Exciting and informative site.
Third place: Staff, CNN,
Judge’s comments: Some of the best long-form journalism around.

Feature treatment of any A&E, lifestyles or news topic.
First place: Dan Zak, The Washington Post, “After the Blast”
Judge’s comments: A stunning story – about a fire and explosion in the Texas town of West – that received the reporting and writing it deserved. It was particularly impressive how the writer wove together so many threads while keeping the reader’s interest engaged. Beautifully written.
Second place: Christopher Spata, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, “Want to be Santa? Be Ready for Tough Questions and Heartbreaking Requests”
Judge’s comments: It takes a writer of true talent to approach this story about the things that department-store Santas hear with a delicate and graceful touch. A lovely feature.
Third place: Thelma Glover, The (Portland) Oregonian, “City Police Cost 98-Year-Old Black Woman Her Home. Here’s Why She Won’t Get it Back.”
Judge’s comments: Writer Glover did a fine job of explaining and personalizing a complex history in this story about a woman who lost her home. An excellent example of why a features approach is often the most effective way to make readers feel the historic injustices of a complex situation.
Honorable mention: Monte Reel, Bloomberg, “How to Rebuild Puerto Rico”

Feature treatment of an arts and entertainment topic.
First place: Deborah Vankin, Los Angeles Times, “Artist John Wullbrandt Lost Vital Paintings in the Thomas Fire, But Found Renewal in Fighting the Flames”
Judge’s comments: Vivid writing, incredible details and a narrative structure combined to make this story feel like a dramatic piece of short fiction – in a good way. The headline foreshadows some of the events, but readers still can get swept up in the story and wonder, “What will happen next?” We didn’t want it to end.
Second place: Peter Marks, The Washington Post, “Places, Please! A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How ‘The Front Page’s’ Cast and Crew Get into their Groove”
Judge’s comments: A great use of immersive storytelling. The video and audio clips were well placed as part of the online narrative, not online extras. Warm, funny and educational. It’s fun to see celebrities in their work element in a different way as well.
Third place: Chris Riemenschneider, (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, “Prince Inc.”
Judge’s comments: Not all stories have a beginning, middle and an end – we won’t know for years what will happen with Prince’s estate. Great details and engaging writing throughout, with complicated issues explained plainly.
Honorable mention: Michael Kaplan, New York Post, “This Artist is Making Mega-Millions Stealing People’s Work”

Tight, bright writing of fewer than 1,000 words.
First place: Mike Hixenbaugh, Houston Chronicle, “Conjoined Twins Head Home But Face Challenges Ahead”
Judge’s comments: A well-done piece that left us wanting more. The story features excellent, simple sentence structures, and the writer places readers alongside a young couple dealing with conjoined twins. A great, great poignant story.
Second place: Dan Zak, The Washington Post, “R.I.P. Gchat: You Let Us Pretend We Were Working – and That We Were Really Connecting.”
Judge’s comments: This clever and humorous piece was a pleasure to read. The story was enjoyable – and chuckle-inducing.
Third place: Laura Reiley, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, “Publix No Longer Offers You That Free Slice of Meat at the Deli Counter”
Judge’s comments: Well-told story on a potentially dry topic – the delicatessen that no longer offers free samples of its products. The writer used fun phrasing and colorful, detailed writing.
Honorable mention: Mike Fisher, Toronto (Canada) Star, “Find the Beating Heart of the Blues in Memphis”

A single story focusing on food, not including reviews or commentary. Can be a trend story, personality profile, narrative piece, how-to or other feature treatment of a food topic. Each entry consists of one story.
First place: Tom Sietsema, The Washington Post, “Chefs Say a Dishwasher Can Make or Break a Restaurant. So I Signed Up for a Shift.”
Judge’s comments: Excellent sources, topic and execution in this interesting look at the job of dishwashers in the restaurant business. The story was educational and entertaining, and we hope the piece got passed around to many of the people doing this crucial job in restaurants.
Second place: Leslie Brenner, The Dallas Morning News, “Dallas’ New Wave of Chinese Regional Dining is Sizzling Hot”
Judge’s comments: Excellent look at a trend – the emergence of more Chinese dining options in the Dallas area – that are making a mark on the culinary scene. Backed up by population statistics that show why this trend is a growing one in the Texas city.
Third place: Brett Anderson, The New York Times, “At 91, Ella Brennan Still Feeds (and Leads) New Orleans”
Judge’s comments: Delightful profile of this important restaurant family matriarch, including the fact that she probably can’t cook but sure knows how to run a restaurant empire.
Honorable mention: Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, “Fired Up Chefs Embrace Open Flames”

Feature treatment of any lifestyle, A&E or news topic that has multiple parts.
First place: Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times, “Dirty John”
Judge’s comments: A phenomenal story told in riveting words, with exhaustive research and interviewing. This might make online dating difficult for a while, because who really knows what’s lurking on the other end of that profile? Just exceptional.
Second place: Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Wisconsin Trails on the Road”
Judge’s comments: The most personal and lovely travel story we’ve seen in a long time. Loved the pride that was taken in showing off one’s state and in doing so in such amazing detail.
Third place: John Blake and Tawanda Scott Sambou,, “This Could Be Awkward”
Judge’s comments: This one is hard to read and listen to because it’s so real. This is what journalism is supposed to do – make us uncomfortable and affect us. So well done.
Honorable mention: Staff, The (Portland) Oregonian, “The Loneliest Polar Bear”

A single story told in a narrative style, using techniques such as character development, use of dialogue, sense of place, scene building, narrative arc and adherence to theme.
First place: Patricia Callahan, Chicago Tribune, “Doomed by Delay”
Judge’s comments: Masterful storytelling of a mother and child’s journey when the personal intersects with bureaucratic failures. There’s strong reporting here, as well as an expert balance of scenes and detail with more explanatory passages. Callahan’s writing forces readers to put themselves in the shoes of Natasha Spencer – and it’s excruciating.
Second place: David Montgomery, The Washington Post, “The Collision”
Judge’s comments: This exceptional story – about an incident and a Confederate monument – could easily have been reduced to outrage fodder but instead is given a humane, nuanced treatment. The citizens of Demopolis are fully realized. This treatment offers a complex understanding of our nation’s history of and current grappling with Confederate monuments.
Third place: Monica Hesse, The Washington Post, “Lending a Hand at the End of a Pregnancy”
Judge’s comments: Writer Hesse sensitively explores a role unknown to most readers – the abortion doula. The story looks at how controversial abortion remains in our society while reflecting the incredible intimacy of the doulas’ work.
Honorable mention: Craig R. McCoy, Philadelphia Media Network, “Horror on the Mountain: 11 Boys, 1 Ice Ax, and Unforeseen Heroism”

Three stories by the same writer on one features specialty topic, such as arts and entertainment, fashion, food, health, religion, technology or travel.
First place: Jason Nark, Philadelphia Media Network
Judge’s comments: Nark finds beautiful stories in everyday existences and brings them to life. Even when writing about something as seemingly absurd as deer urine, he spins a fascinating tale that could easily have devolved into potty humor.
Second place: Geoff Edgers, The Washington Post
Judge’s comments: This portfolio is strong on storytelling. Edgers’ writing is elegant and precise. He lets stories unfold without getting in the way.
Third place: Laura Reiley, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times
Judge’s comments: Reiley proves that food writing is more than covering restaurants and publishing recipes. She weaves history, personalities and delicious moments into her stories.
Honorable mention: Bob Tedeschi, Stat

A collection of three columns or essays by the same writer on any human interest or specialty topic, excluding editorials.
First place: Cassandra Jaramillo, The Dallas Morning News
Judge’s comments: These are deeply thoughtful pieces about the struggle to balance assimilation and cultural pride in the writer’s immigrant family. The way she thinks through her identity and examines the way others in her family do helps illuminate the seminal American immigrant experience for a new generation.
Second place: Will Bunch, Philadelphia Media Network
Judge’s comments: How lucky are Bunch’s readers because they get to view the upheavals of American society and politics through the compassionate, clear eyes of this masterful writer.
Third place: Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times
Judge’s comments: With a population drawn from all corners of the world, a global entertainment industry and extremes of wealth and climate, L.A. is presented here as a snapshot of world and national trends.
Honorable mention: Wei Chen, Houston Chronicle

A collection of three columns, essays or reviews by the same writer on any arts and entertainment topic, including dining reviews but excluding editorials.
First place: Inga Saffron, Philadelphia Media Network
Judge’s comments: Through these columns, Saffron shows why publications need to pay attention to their community’s architecture and infrastructure. It’s important for diversity, for a city’s health and for its residents’ mental health. And Saffron’s writing gives a vitality to these stories, with such great phrasing as “parking your bottom,” “gritty around the edges,” and the sense of having to “pry” union membership numbers from the group’s secretive hands.
Second place: Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
Judge’s comments: Chang’s movie reviews are more than reviews; they put the films in context of life experiences. Such reviews often are mere recitations of a film’s plot, and it’s wonderful that Chang elevates his work above that, with thoughts such as “Is there anything scarier than being a black man in America today?” and how “while mediocrities are a dime a dozen, a genuine, off-the-charts fiasco is something to cherish.”
Third place: Hank Stuever, The Washington Post
Judge’s comments: Television criticism at its best. Stuever is a storyteller with a message.
Honorable mention: Tom Sietsema, The Washington Post

Feature treatment of any sports topic.
First place: Kent Babb, The Washington Post, “There’s Nowhere to Run”
Judge’s comments: “What would it be like,” asks former NFL star Larry Johnson, “for this to be the day for people to find out you’re not here?” It’s a stunning question, and it’s answered by this stunning story. We learn that it’s a miracle that Johnson is still here. He battles demons that he says are symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disorder linked to more than 100 former
football players. It’s heart-wrenching storytelling, with perfect pacing and wording. It’s raw, and it’s real.
Second place: Howie Kussoy, New York Post, “Pop Stars, Athletes, Actors and Strippers: A Night Out with Floyd Mayweather”
Judge’s comments: Crude, rude, colorful, energetic and thoroughly entertaining. That describes this award-worthy piece and its subject, boxer Floyd Mayweather. At times, you’ll want to look away, but it’s hard to tear yourself from a story this engrossing. A funny, funky and fabulously descriptive feature, down to that mouthwash in a Hennessy bottle.
Third place: Max Blau, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Knockout: The Fast Rise and Slow Fade of Boxer O’Neil ‘Supernova’ Bell”
Judge’s comments: The writing, in places, hits as hard as boxer O’Neil Bell must have in his glory days. The result is a story that is unflinching, direct, emotional and subtly detailed.
Honorable mention: Dave McKenna, Deadspin, “The Kid Who Didn’t Die at Riverfront Stadium”

The coverage of any A&E, lifestyle or specialty topic using a single video of not more than 8 minutes in length.
First place: Jessica Greif, The (Portland) Oregonian, “About a Boy”
Judge’s comments: A compelling story well told, elevated by the time put in – we see the subject over several years – and the details shared by him, his mom and doctors and advocates. One decision about his life offered a window into his larger journey, and we were left wanting to hear what his next chapter would be.
Second place: Ashleigh Joplin and Katherine Frey, The Washington Post, “Meet Ella Murray: The 9-Year-Old with Skin as Delicate as a Butterfly’s Wing”
Judge’s comments: The video did a nice job of highlighting the problems of a family in a difficult situation. The narrative is well-paced, and we wanted to spend more time with the family and find out what happens next.
Third place: Staff, Fusion, “Young Viejo”
Judge’s comments: “I feel good,” says a guy who loves being on the diamond. “That’s why I come here.” We felt great watching this story of older men playing baseball. It’s not just the high-production values, which are impressive. We don’t always acknowledge that older people still have all the same interest and passions they’ve always had. This story does.

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic told through the integrated use of print, online, social media, video and any other platform.
First place: Nathan Eagle and Alana Eagle, Honolulu Civil Beat, “The Last Wild Place”
Judge’s comments: A gorgeous, lively, engaging, well-written, thorough and utterly fascinating look at a place most of us will never be able to go: the Northwestern Hawaii Islands. This multipart series uses every digital tool in the book – maps, video, music – to immerse readers and listeners in a remote and beautiful world.
Second place: Christopher Goffard and Andrea Roberson, Los Angeles Times, “Dirty John”
Judge’s comments: The story and accompanying podcasts present a riveting mystery about a con man with a shocking ending. Well-done graphics, fine photojournalism and engrossing writing. The Facebook chat was a great way to engage readers. An amazing package that uses digital media to full advantage.
Third place: Staff, The (Portland) Oregonian, “The Loneliest Polar Bear”
Judge’s comments: Quick videos that surprise viewers with polar bear sounds. Longer video interviews with tearful or determined vets and zookeepers. All that, plus interactive graphics, a well-told story and beautiful photojournalism distinguish this six-part series that took a year to research and create. It ends with ways to get readers engaged in fighting climate change and saving polar bears. Every aspect of
digital media is employed.
Honorable mention: Staff, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “50-Year Ache”

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic that highlights the diversity within a publication’s audience.
First place: Panama Jackson, The Root, “How Trump Ruined My Relationship With My White Mother”
Judge’s comments: Wow. Just wow. This narrative had us shaking our heads and dropping our jaws. We could picture the scenes the writer described. We could hear the conversations the writer had with his mom. We could empathize with his feelings, torn and frustrated – and slightly guilty. A powerful column with a headline that doesn’t sensationalize – rather, it accurately nails the story in a few words and invites readers to find out why.
Second place: James E. Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “What Happened to Us?”
Judge’s comments: An incredible project with outstanding interactives. Tracking down everyone in your third-grade class and writing about it is no easy task. This is the anti “where are they now?” feature piece, a serious look at a tough time in history and how it’s affected the people in writer Causey’s class. Beautiful execution.
Third place: Dawn Burkes and Tiney Ricciardi, The Dallas Morning News, “Women of Color on Television”
Judge’s comments: The entries in this delicious subject – women of color in leading roles on TV – were hard to put down and thought-provoking.
Honorable mention: Ileana Najarro, Monica Rhor and Jenny Deam, Houston Chronicle, “Deeper Underground”

The best your publication has to offer in printed A&E, features and lifestyle coverage.
First place: Tim Campbell and Christy DeSmith, (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, “Fall Arts”
Judge’s comments: This special section’s variety of well-written stories and clean design set it above the competition even without the slick-magazine format used by the other entries. Particularly impressive are the feature stories and beautiful black-and-white portraits that anchor each of the major arts categories.
Second place: Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, “Summer of Love”
Judge’s comments: This is an enjoyable commemorative magazine for those who remember the hazy, crazy days of 1967.
Third place: Staff, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, “Fa La La La Love”
Judge’s comments: This holiday magazine captures the “Wow!” factor with its Vogue-like cover and elegant photo reproduction.
Honorable mention: Craig LaBan, Philadelphia Media Network, “Craig LaBan’s Ultimate Dining”

The best examples of a niche product – such as a magazine or special section – published at least two times a year.
First place: Melissa Aguilar, Jody Schmal and Staff, LuxeLife, Houston Chronicle
Judge’s comments: A stellar magazine, with stunning covers, engaging writing and gorgeous photography. It’s chock full of short reads – loved the look at unique earrings – and well-written narratives. The design is exquisite. Kudos to food writer Alison Cook for her yeoman’s effort on her top 100 restaurants in the city. She even tells you what to order! LuxeLife is lively, informative, interesting and fun to read.
Second place: Tom Sietsema and Staff, Spring and Fall Dining Guides, The Washington Post
Judge’s comments: Food writer Tom Sietsema is a treasure, and his takes on the best dining spots in the D.C. metro area are must-reads. The crisp writing and stunning photography are literally mouth-watering.
Third place: Staff, Bay, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times
Judge’s comments: A strong local magazine with a great voice. Well-written and well-edited, thispublication is executed perfectly.
Honorable mention: Staff, The Luxury Issues of The Washington Post Magazine, The Washington Post
Honorable mention: Sue Campbell and Staff, Star Tribune Magazine, (Minneapolis) Star Tribune


A collection of three headlines and accompanying decks by the same writer for feature stories or columns.
First place: Darel Jevens, Chicago Sun-Times
Judge’s comments: Deeper context on the “Mother!” movie review – “O, ‘Mother’: What Art Thou?” – elevates the clever word play. “Sesame seed fun” is just fun. And the Dear Abby headline – “So, Your Fiance? I’m Married To Him.” – shows that everything we do to engage audience matters, especially when you can generate new attention for an old-school feature.
Second place: Panfilo Garcia, The Washington Post
Judge’s comments: Clever, engaging headlines without being cliche or punny for the sake of being punny.
Third place: Gael Fashingbauer Cooper,
Judge’s comments: There’s a next-level commitment to a theme in all three headlines.

New or improved online ventures, including websites, apps, social-media experiments or other ways to share information in the digital world.
First place: Staff, The Washington Post, “The Lily”
Judge’s comments: This is whole new publication – aimed at bringing The Post’s stories to a wider audience and at focusing on stories important to women – that meets its intended audience where they are. Blown away by this initiative, from its content and platforms to its focused, well-defined personality.
Second place: William Houp, The Virginian-Pilot, “The Newest Way to Get the Latest Stories: Message Us on Facebook”
Judge’s comments: A clever way to get readers to look at your stories through Facebook.

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic told through a podcast.
First place: Staff, The Dallas Morning News, “My Aryan Princess”
Judge’s comments: This addicting podcast tells the story of Carol, the troubled informant who descends into the world of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, and her role in bringing down the gang. The podcast warned listeners that it would be a wild ride, and it truly is.
Second place: Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times, “Dirty John”
Judge’s comments: The storytelling in this series has a soap opera-thriller feel to it, and the podcasters do a great job of hooking listeners. A captivating story where listeners root for all those involved and hope justice is served to Debra’s “Mr. Right/Mr. Wrong.”
Third place: Joanne Kimberlin, Gary Harki and Randall Greenwell, The Virginian-Pilot, “The Shot”
Judge’s comments: Given the whodunit feel in this podcast – mixed with the voices of those still looking for Officer Victor Decker’s killer – we can see why this podcast received a five-star rating on iTunes. Listeners want to know what happened to Decker, even as they learn about his dark side.
Honorable mention: Ian Coss, Heidi Shin and Qainat Khan, The GroundTruth Project, “The New American Songbook”


The top collegiate features journalists, based on an entry of up to three stories
First place: Sam Fortier, Syracuse University 
Judge’s comments: Fortier writes with an authoritative voice, weaving compelling narratives. We especially liked the human element in his stories, the many voices he corrals and the depth of reporting in the “St. Anthony’s Unanswered Prayer” piece.
Second place: Natalie Schwartz, University of Maryland
Judge’s comments: Schwartz shares voices that her readers might otherwise not hear – Trump supporters on a liberal campus, a DACA student struggling with uncertainty about the future and transgender people learning to change their voices. She captures their stories well, propelling her narratives with well-chosen quotes.
Third place: Hannah Neumann, Baylor University
Judge’s comments: Neumann has a nice voice, and the tale of post-traumatic stress disorder is informative and poignant. The story is nicely structured and makes good use of quotes and various voices.

SFJ diversity fellowship seeks journalists of color to join us in New Orleans


Are you a journalist of color interested in features writing? Do you know someone who is?

The Society for Features Journalism is again sponsoring the Penny Bender Fuchs Diversity Fellowship Program for U.S. journalists of color in conjunction with its annual conference, which this year is in New Orleans.

Diversity Fellows will learn what’s happening in features departments nationwide while networking with outstanding journalists specializing in lifestyle, culture and entertainment coverage.

Fellowships cover SFJ conference registration, airfare within the U.S. and hotel. Fellows also will be reimbursed for expenses toward baggage and transportation.

What’s required?

RESUME + ESSAY: A resume and single-page essay explaining what you love about your job and how you have distinguished yourself in arts and/or features coverage.

PHOTO: A photo of yourself for the conference program and SFJ website.

LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION: One letter from someone who can talk about your work.

› For writers, three storytelling examples.
› For editors, three samples of sections you edited with comments on how stories were generated or edited.
› For copy editors, three headlines with attached stories, plus two stories with editing comments.
› For designers, three samples of layouts.
› For journalists with online-only work, list website links in your application letter.

Deadline for applying is May 25.

Selections will be announced by June 10. Email applications, with attached PDFs, to Jeneé Osterheldt at

See poster for details!


SFJ18 writing contest seeks: best print section



Enter our annual Excellence-in-Writing contest’s Best Section category! The sections must have been published in 2017. Deadline is March 2.

To see all our categories, click here.

To go directly to our contest website, click here.

The best your publication has to offer in printed A&E, features and lifestyle coverage.

Submit five sections from the 2016 calendar year. One must be an arts-and-entertainment-themed section, and one must be a Sunday section. (If your publication doesn’t print on Sunday, submit one section from Saturday or from your premiere weekly section and add a note of explanation).

The other three are the editor’s choice from regularly appearing features sections. Entries are judged on content, which includes the range of topics, depth, voice and style; service, which includes the inclusion of everyday people, useful information and the level of reader interaction; and design, which includes the use of photos and illustrations, headlines, navigational tools and the “wow” factor. One hard copy of each section is required. One entry consists of one copy of each of the five sections and PDFs of three of the submitted section fronts (PDFs of the section fronts only).

On the back of each section, attached a printed version of the entry label, which automatically appears after each entry is submitted.

Mail entries to SPJ-SFJ Contest 2017, Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46208. Entries must be postmarked by March 2, 2018. Also, attach PDFs of the front or cover page from three of the submitted entries.