SFJ 28th Annual Award Winners by Category

The SFJ Excellence-in-Features awards honor the craft of feature writing and the people who do it for a living at news organizations and wire services. Winners will be honored at SFJ’s national conference in Austin, Texas Aug. 10-13th.

DIVISION 1 | Circulation up to 90,000

 

Finest in Features Sweepstakes Awards

These awards recognize the three publications that garner the most honors in the contest’s other 18 categories.

First Place: The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post
Seven awards, including three firsts (Best Features Website, Entertainment Channel or App; Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio; General Commentary Portfolio), one second (General Feature), two thirds (Best Section, Short Feature) and one honorable mention (Video Storytelling).

Second Place: The (Nashville) Tennessean
Five awards, including four firsts (Arts & Entertainment Feature, Sports Feature, Video Storytelling, Integrated Storytelling) and one third (General Commentary Portfolio).

Third Place: (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union
Five awards, including two firsts (Arts & Entertainment Commentary Portfolio, Best Niche Product), two seconds (Sports Feature, Blog Portfolio) and one honorable mention (Arts & Entertainment Commentary Portfolio).


Best Section

The best regularly occurring printed features sections that focus on A&E, lifestyles or other features coverage.

First place: Edmonton (Canada) Journal
Judge’s comments: Across the board, stories were fascinating – and well-written. The package on domestic violence was fantastic – thorough and multi-faceted. Of all the entries in this category, these clearly had the most visual impact and “wow” factor.

Second place: The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call
Judge’s comments: Stories were varied and interesting. Columnists offered a strong voice to the overall mix. Good use of pullout information with many stories, and the sections gave readers a strong sense of place.

Third place: The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post
Judge’s comments: Excellent variety in story content. Airplane crash piece was highly engaging. Great idea to run stories on the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.


Best Features Website, Digital Channel or App

The best digital or online publications showcasing A&E, lifestyles or other features topics.

First place: Carlos Frias, PB Tapped, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post
Judge’s comments: What a great idea for an entertainment Web channel. Beer fans are crazy about their beer, and a site that’s all-things-beer is sure to be a success. The channel also looked good and read well, which added up to success.


General Feature

Feature treatment of any A&E, lifestyles or news topic.

First place (tie): Drew Atkins, “This Hacker Wears a White Hat,” Seattle Business magazine
Judge’s comments: Drew Atkins wrote about a 21st century criminal/hero who walked the fine line that separates passion from compulsion. Engaging.

First place (tie): Michael Mishak, “The First Cuban-American President,” National Journal
Judge’s comments: Excellent political reporting and writing from someone who is clearly a master – and a longtime observer of the political scene. The story was compelling to read, even long after Jeb Bush dropped out of the GOP presidential race.

Second place: Carlos Frias, “Animal Rescuer,” The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post

Judge’s comments: Another beautifully written piece from Carlos Frias. He could write about a toothbrush and make it compelling. Fortunately, he had a better subject – a somewhat controversial animal rescuer – and, as always, he made the most of his story.

Third place: Jonathan Guyer, “The Offending Art: Political Cartooning After the Charlie Hebdo Attacks,” Nieman Reports


Arts & Entertainment Feature

Feature treatment of an arts and entertainment topic.

First place: Cindy Watts, “Kip Moore Puts Doubts, Fears Aside on ‘Wild Ones,’” The (Nashville) Tennessean

Judge’s comments: A fascinating look at the creative process as we watched country singer Kip Moore go about writing songs. It was the moments of inspiration, as well as those of self-doubt, that kept the piece moving. And the ending – one of the few entries not to close with a quote – was perfect.

Second place: Emily Rolen, “The Last Step,” The Temple (Pa.) News

Judge’s comments: Well-done piece that took readers through a dance project at Temple University. Well-paced, with details that enhanced the characters.

Third place: Sandra Sperounes, “Private Practice,” Edmonton (Canada) Journal

Judge’s comments: What a great idea for a feature – going to the places where local musicians create their music. Loved the details, such as the “hamperwriter,”and the lively writing.


Short Feature

Tight, bright writing of fewer than 1,000 words.

First place: Tyler Jett, Facing Alzheimer’s, Mother Gets Tattoo of Her Son So She’ll Never Forget,” Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press

Judge’s comments: A complicated story, told simply. Tyler Jett’s work was filled with smart writing that delivered one sad punch after another. He put the reader in the mindset of the story’s subject, who has early onset Alzheimer’s, with lines like: “She wondered why she couldn’t write a work memo anymore, and why she put saltines in the toaster.”

Second place: Jodie Sinnema, “Intimate Questions,” Edmonton (Canada) Journal

Judge’s comments: Who buys used underwear? Better yet, who wants to talk to a journalist about it? The writer went well beyond the instant appeal of a taboo story idea and delivered a fun read on this niche aspect of secondhand shopping.

Third place: Staci Sturrock, “These Twins Are 100 Years Old! (How Sweet, Right? Well …),” Palm Beach (Fla.) Post

Judge’s comments: The writer showed great restraint – and risk – in what could have been an oh-so-cheery story about elderly siblings. She cleverly unpacked the long-running tension between these twin sisters with a writing style that was light but powerful.

Honorable mention: Elizabeth Withey, “Black Dress a Girl’s Best Friend,” Edmonton (Canada) Journal


Features Series or Project

Feature treatment of any lifestyle, A&E or news topic that has multiple parts.

First place: Carrie Seidman, “The S Word,” Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune

Judge’s comments: Innovative and well-done treatment of an under-reported and misunderstood condition, schizophrenia. The personal touch worked to tell the story. And there was a clever use of the main subject’s childhood story interwoven with her son’s. Great work all around.

Second place: Michelle Theriault Boots, Marc Lester, “Man Down: Chronic Alcoholism on the Streets of Anchorage,” Alaska Dispatch News

Judge’s comments: This project was thoroughly reported, well-written, important and visually compelling.

Third place: Fish Griwkowsky, “The Minimalism Project: Cutting Clutter,” Edmonton (Canada) Journal

Judge’s comments: Loved this project from beginning to end.

Honorable mention: Staff and contributing writers, “Race and Reporting,” Nieman Reports


Narrative Storytelling

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: Roy Wenzl, “BTK’s Daughter,” The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle

Judge’s comments: This story was compelling because of the circumstances, but the writer went deeper, looking at whether we can “forgive the seemingly unforgivable.” In this case, a serial killer’s daughter struggled to reconcile the loving father she remembered with the brutal man he also was. We saw how hard it was to work toward forgiveness, and we found ourselves rooting for her to gain some measure of peace.


Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio

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: Staci Sturrock, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post

Judge’s comments: Staci Sturrock provided stellar work with her personal journeys series, recounting the narratives of military heroes, Holocaust victims and a variety of everyday people who provided service during World War II.

Second place: Carrie Seidman, Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune

Judge’s comments: Carrie Seidman did a masterful job of pulling this reader – someone who usually has little enthusiasm for dance stories – into three fascinating pieces on the art form’s history, technique and influence.

Third place: Suzy Leonard, Florida Today

Judge’s comments: Suzy Leonard’s portfolio provides three different views of food, capped by the compelling profile of the Cuban family and its restaurant.

Honorable mention: Michael Mishak, National Journal


General Commentary Portfolio

A collection of three columns or essays by the same writer on any human interest or specialty topic, excluding editorials.

First place: Leslie Streeter, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post

Judge’s comments: Leslie Streeter’s essay about her journey through the grief of being a widow was powerful and well-written. “He was the co-author of my grocery list,” she wrote, “my roadtrip DJ.” In another provocative column, she defended her home city of Baltimore. A third column used the Rachel Dolezal story to address what it meant to be black. “Going to see U2 isn’t the same as bleaching my skin, getting a Donatella Versace wig, calling myself Deidre and inventing Irish immigrant parents.” Streeter has a voice that makes you think and feel.

Second place: Andrea Brown, The (Everett, Wash.) Daily Herald

Judge’s comments: Andrea Brown’s column “What’s Up With That?” introduced us to characters in her community. She used dialogue and descriptions that created a sense of place. The topics mentioned in the name of her entry said it all: “Curbside Crooner. Grouchy Chef. Mr. T’s attire.” Intrigued? You should be.

Third place: Jessica Bliss, The (Nashville) Tennessean

Judge’s comments: In her columns, Jessica Bliss brought inspiring people to life. These were tales of everyday people doing extraordinary things. She wrote simply and elegantly.

Honorable mention: Susan Ladd, (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record


Arts & Entertainment Commentary Portfolio

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: Amy Biancolli, (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union

Judge’s comments: These columns – on Caitlyn Jenner, “The Long Walk” opera and overexposure to the songs of Sam Smith – were engaging, honest and unafraid to challenge a prevailing point of view.

Second place: Tracey O’Shaughnessy, (Waterbury, Conn.) Republican-American

Third place: Liz Nicholls, Edmonton (Canada) Journal

Honorable mention: Steve Barnes, (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union


Sports Feature

Feature treatment of any sports topic.

First place: Jason Wolf, “Titans’ Delanie Walker Collects Records On, Off Field,” The (Nashville) Tennessean

Judge’s comments: Artful writing on Delanie Walker, showing the softer, more reflective side of a tough NFL tight end. Jason Wolf was masterful in weaving Walker’s family story with his love of vinyl and how it kept him connected to his childhood.

Second place: Jennifer Gish, “Dad Lives On In Every Pitch,” (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union

Judge’s comments: Jennifer Gish eloquently captured the unique relationship between a father and his daughter and the common bond they had with softball. She told their story without being maudlin.

Third place: Chris Anderson, “The Palmetto Inn Where Rights Trumped Racism in Baseball,” Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune

Judge’s comments: This was a compelling story on integration told through the history of a dilapidated hotel. An innovative approach to this topic.

Honorable mention: Ed Hardin, “Time Chasing Richard Petty,” (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record


Blog Portfolio

Three blog posts by the same writer on any feature topic, including commentary and reviews.

First place: Andrea Brown, “What’s Up With That? (The Unexplained Wonders of Our County),” The (Everett, Wash.) Daily Herald

Judge’s comments: Andrea Brown told stories of people that we see every day and wished we knew. She articulated their journeys in life with keen insights and a compassion that served readers well. She displayed an obvious and heartfelt connection with her subjects. (We’ve already made a reservation for the “Grouchy Chef.”)

Second place: C.J. Lais, (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union


Video Storytelling

The coverage of any A&E, lifestyle or specialty topic using a single video of not more than 8 minutes in length.

First place: Karen Kraft, Lindsey Turner, Jason Gonzales, “Project RESET,” The (Nashville) Tennessean

Judge’s comments: This was a cool way to explain a complicated and topic, and anyone would clearly understand the topic after watching this video. A great effort and great use of video storytelling.

Second place: Maura Friedman, Mary Helen Montgomery, “Chattanooga Strong: A City Mourns, A City Heals,” Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press

Third place: Michelle Mulak, “Try This: Challenge Course,” Florida Today

Honorable mention: Carlos Frias, Joe Forzano, Thomas Cordy, PB Tapped Videos, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post


Integrated Storytelling

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 (tie): Billy Cox, Jennifer Borresen, Dak Le, “Chasing the Ghost,” Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune

Judge’s comments: This exhaustively researched story about the great Wallendas was given an elegant digital presentation. The many videos added to the depth of the storytelling, and the interactive family tree aided in understanding this complex family saga. 

First place (tie): Staff, “CMA Coverage,” The (Nashville) Tennessean

Judge’s comments: This effort covered a big event, the Country Music Awards, thoroughly on all platforms, giving a complete picture of the night’s festivities. Through social media, videos and photo galleries, the coverage put the reader there.


Diversity in Digital Features

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic that highlights the diversity within a publication’s audience.

First place: Sam Kennedy, Donna Fisher, “Being Young and Transgender,” The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call

Judge’s comments: This tale brought the Caitlyn Jenner story home with truths about the challenges – and the rewards – of transitioning. Readers came away with an appreciation of the bravery of these two kids and their journey to become the genders they were meant to be.

Second place: Marquita Brown , “Newcomers School Bridges Language Gap Among Guilford Students,” (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record

Judge’s comments: This was the full package: database reporting, noteworthy writing, and nice visuals and graphics. A creative way of putting a face on various immigrant communities.


Digital Innovation

No awards given.


Best Niche Product

The best examples of a niche product – such as a magazine or special section – published at least two times a year.

First place: Staff, 518 Life, (Albany, N.Y.) Times Union

Judge’s comments: Great variety in story selection, and you’ll want to visit the Albany area after reading these pages. Oh, yeah, and you’ll want to pig out there, too, after hearing of the dining offerings. Photography and writing were solid and, at times, exceptional. The piece on the city skyline was fun and engaging. And the stories on smart people in the region were truly inspired – and inspiring.

Second place: Staff, Insider’s Guide: Summer in the Valley, The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call

Judge’s comments: A must-have for anyone wanting to visit the area, with comprehensive looks at everything from the best hikes to the best lakes in the region.

Third place: Elisha Sauers and Staff, Capital Style, The (Annapolis, Md.) Capital

Judge’s comments: Well-done glossy magazine that offers a sense of place – and a sense of fun.

Honorable mention: Spring and Fall Restaurant Guides, The New Orleans Advocate


 

DIVISION 2 | Circulation 90,000 to 199,999

 

Finest in Features Sweepstakes Awards

These awards recognize the three publications that garner the most honors in the contest’s other 18 categories.

First place: The Virginian-Pilot

Eleven awards, including two firsts (Diversity in Digital Features, Best Niche Product), four seconds (Best Features Website, Entertainment Channel or App; Short Feature; Narrative Storytelling; Blog Portfolio), three thirds (Arts & Entertainment Feature, Narrative Storytelling, Integrated Storytelling) and two honorable mentions (Short Feature, Arts & Entertainment Commentary Portfolio).

Second place (tie): Baltimore Sun

Five awards, including two firsts (Blog Portfolio, Integrated Storytelling), two seconds (General Commentary Portfolio, Digital Innovation) and one third (Best Features Website, Entertainment Channel or App).

Second place (tie): The Kansas City Star

Five awards, including two firsts (Best Section, Sports Feature), two seconds (Arts & Entertainment Commentary Portfolio, Integrated Storytelling) and one third (Features Series or Project).


Best Section

The best regularly occurring features sections that focus on A&E, lifestyles or other features coverage.

First place: The Kansas City Star

Judge’s comments: The sections showcased storytelling columnists, with visuals and design that enhanced the work. Strong blend of story forms: columns, Q&As, profiles and graphics. Praise for the long-form pieces on Sunday, as well as the exceptional photos and illustrations. Strong composition and crops. Compelling fall-arts cover, and that turkey popped from the page. Copy tended to be engaging and conversational. Graphics text was crisp and focused. “The Week That Was” shared the highs and lows, with a pithy style.

Second place: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Judge’s comments: Well-written nuggets in Weekend magazine. Weekend’s events typography packed a punch, with abundant information in a spacious grid. But its text typography had jagged letter-spacing. Fun, compelling photo illustration for Thanksgiving. Recipes designed for clipping. Great illustration for sci-fi women. Strong one, too, for “Runner’s Ink.” Over-designed illustration for “In Hot Pursuit.” Text had an adult point of view, but sentence structure was bloated at times. Strong designs with clearly dominant visuals.

Third place: Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram

Judge’s comments: Great feature to kick off Valentine’s Day week. Compelling feature on cancer heroes. Meaty events section. Copy sometimes tended to state the obvious, and some text was marred by long, complicated sentences. But, overall, nicely done.

Honorable mention: Austin (Texas) American-Statesman

Judge’s comments: Sections encompassed the rich diversity of the city’s vibe – music, education, SXSW, generational influences on Thanksgiving dinner. Great work on the dining guide. Exceptional photos. Simple design. Sometimes, however, the writing needed tightening.


Best Features Website, Digital Channel or App

The best digital or online publications showcasing A&E, lifestyles or other features topics.

First place: Staff, SouthFlorida.com, Sun-Sentinel

Judge’s comments: Easy-to-navigate website and, thanks to tons of photos on the homepage, beautiful to look at. Dig inside, and the copy was well-written, too.

Second place: Staff, HamptonRoads.com, The Virginian-Pilot

Third place: Staff, BaltimoreSun.com/entertainment, Baltimore Sun


General Feature

Feature treatment of any A&E, lifestyles or news topic.

First place: Barbara Laker, “Shot of Heroine,” Philadelphia Daily News

Judge’s comments: Barbara Laker grabbed you from the beginning as we journeyed with a mother who was searching for her heroin-addicted son on the streets of Philly. Drug deaths are a longtime problem, but Laker made us care about the problem by zeroing in on Carol Rostucher, a hopeful woman who packed pretzels and granola bars for the strung-out souls she encountered as she desperately hunted for her son Drew. The details were telling, and she brought the characters to life with an ample use of dialogue. Does Carol find Drew? You had to keep reading to find out. But the payoff was worth it. Beautifully reported and perfectly structured. It was impossible to put it down.

Second place: Ron Wolfe, “How Are You Today?,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Judge’s comments: What a delightful read. Yes, on a story about medical coding! Who knew that these codes tell us so much about health trends in addition to treatments and cost. The storytelling was engaging, and ducks, bison and the rest sucked me right in. Ingenious.

Third place: Jeannie Roberts, “Missile Silo Fire Killed 53,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Judge’s comments: Engaging piece on a missile silo fire that killed all but two of the workers inside. Well-paced.

Honorable mention: Hector Saldaña, “Death of ‘Little Oz’ Galvanized Football Team in 1975,” San Antonio Express-News


Arts & Entertainment Feature

Feature treatment of an arts and entertainment topic.

First place: Elizabeth Bloom, “Blessed Be the Reed Makers,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Judge’s comments: First, the reporter uncovered a little-known fact about oboists – that they make their own reeds. Then she meticulously watched and reported to reveal the process, the quirkiness and devotion of this group of musicians. And the story was so delightfully written, you didn’t even realize how much you were learning along the way.

Second place: Jason Nark, “Cool Ghoul Looks Back,” Philadelphia Daily News

Judge’s comments: Written with humor and detail and this gem: “He got the job because he already had an undertaker’s outfit.”

Third place: Rashod Ollison, “These Two Authors Have Navigated the Self-Publishing Pool and Made Good Money,” The Virginian-Pilot


Short Feature

Tight, bright writing of fewer than 1,000 words.

First place: Jason Nark, “Last Call,” Philadelphia Daily News

Judge’s comments: Wonderful sense-of-place piece that proved a great story doesn’t have to be a long one. Beautiful descriptions and imagery.

Second place: Mike Hixenbaugh, “Seniors Show It’s Never Too Late For Love,” The Virginian-Pilot

Judge’s comments: Beautiful love story that showed much humor and grace.

Third place: Mark Gauert, “Joie to the World,” Sun-Sentinel

Judge’s comments: This was a poignant look at how, while everything changes, everything stays the same.

Honorable mention: Stephanie Arnold, “Walking Houses: A Way to Get Norfolk Excited About its Public Art,” The Virginian-Pilot


Features Series or Project

Feature treatment of any lifestyle, A&E or news topic that has multiple parts.

First place: Juliana Keeping, “Save the Last Dance,” The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman

Judge’s comments: This four-part series centered on a renowned flamenco dancer and teacher who transformed the lives of youths in her community. Juliana Keeping spent months reporting and observing this diverse community as the dancer coped with cancer while trying to preserve the annual recital and her legacy. You’ll find yourself thinking about this story long after you finish it.

Second place: Danielle Dreilinger, “Sean’s Story: A New Orleans Senior Struggles to Graduate,” NOLA.com/(New Orleans) Times Picayune

Judge’s comments: Danielle Dreilinger went beyond the statistics and humanized the trend of “bad students” by telling the story of Sean. She followed him as he hit bottom, transferred to another school and fought to graduate. Great job of showing and not telling.

Third place: Laura Bauer, “Little Boy Lost,” The Kansas City Star

Judge’s comments: This was a gripping piece about the search to find and save Govi, a young boy left alone in an attic, and about the people who saved and healed him over time.


Narrative Storytelling

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: Dan Horn, Cara Owsley, “Finding Her Way,” Cincinnati Enquirer

Judge’s comments: You’ll find yourself cheering for Nadia throughout the story – desperately wanting her to succeed. The elegant, straightforward narrative deftly blended color, dialogue and action. The online presentation helped to make the story a joy to read. It was not surprising that the community opened its heart and its pocketbook because this tale surely melted readers’ hearts.

Second place: Lorraine Eaton, “The Ham That Fell,” The Virginian-Pilot

Judge’s comments: This tale about the history of country ham transported readers through language and offered an astounding sense of place. Lorraine Eaton slid facts throughout this narrative that left readers enchanted from lede to kicker.

Third place: Joanne Kimberlin, “How the Office Creeper Conned Her Way into Buildings – and Eventually Got Caught,” The Virginian-Pilot

Judge’s comments: In a narrative that wove together information culled from records and a jailhouse interview, Joanne Kimberlin managed to portray the audacity of her subject by simply telling it straight. The story likely left many readers wondering whether the spare change in their desk drawers had disappeared into the creeper’s hands. A wonderfully told tale.


Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio

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: Hector Saldaña, San Antonio Express-News

Judge’s comments: These stories undoubtedly introduced some readers to conjunto – and to ranchera – and to people who were not “stars” in the traditional sense but who shone locally and sought to teach new generations about the lovely, historic sounds. Hector Saldana showed a depth of writing and insight and an ability to make his characters pop off the page.

Second place: Anya Sostek, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Judge’s comments: These are experience-filled stories that not only touch on vital topics but also are tight, direct and ultimately extremely effective. Well-sourced and well-written tales.

Third place: Daniel Neman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Judge’s comments: Practical, easy, non-elitist writing and recipes for the nonfoodies among us. Food shouldn’t be intimidating make us want to crawl under the table because of our lack of extensive knowledge, and these stories were written for those of us who like to eat but don’t know all the ins and outs of the culinary scene.

Honorable mention: Jeanne Jakle, San Antonio Express-News


General Commentary Portfolio

A collection of three columns or essays by the same writer on any human interest or specialty topic, excluding editorials.

First place: Brett Anderson, NOLA.com/(New Orleans) Times-Picayune

Judge’s comments: Great food and dining writing in one of America’s great food cities – that’s what you get from Brett Anderson. A good food writer always makes you hungry, and I’ve got to go eat dinner right now ….

Second place: Susan Reimer, Baltimore Sun

Third place: Emily Spicer, San Antonio Express-News

Honorable mention: Aisha Sultan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Arts & Entertainment Commentary Portfolio

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: Brett Anderson, NOLA.com/(New Orleans) Times-Picayune

Judge’s comments: Is it possible to taste food just by reading about it? Not quite, but Brett Anderson made it almost seem that way.

Second place: Robert Trussell, The Kansas City Star

Judge’s comments: One thing about opinions: Everybody’s got one. But it takes a skilled writer and reporter to lay out the research, the history and the context to back up those opinions. Robert Trussell did just that.

Third place: Jake Cline, Sun-Sentinel

Honorable mention: Jamesetta Walker, The Virginian-Pilot


Sports Feature

Feature treatment of any sports topic.

First place: Sam Mellinger, “Michael’s Pain,” The Kansas City Star

Judge’s comments: A beautifully written, heartbreaking story that will grip sports fans and nonsports fans alike. Great stuff.

Second place: Marcus Hayes, “Trait Secrets,” Philadelphia Daily News

Third place: Bobby Ampezzan, “Torii Kedar Hunter,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Honorable mention: Mike Finger, “Smart Doesn’t Just Win Games,” San Antonio Express-News


Blog Portfolio

Three blog posts by the same writer on any feature topic, including commentary and reviews.

First place: David Zurawik, “Z on TV,” Baltimore Sun

Judge’s comments: David Zurawik did an outstanding analysis of how the social-media world has influenced the mainstream media. His insights and observations brought the clout of social media to the forefront of today’s evolving news reporting.

Second place: Rashod Ollison, “Behind the Groove,” The Virginian-Pilot


Video Storytelling

The coverage of any A&E, lifestyle or specialty topic using a single video of not more than 8 minutes in length.

First place: Amy Beth Bennett, “One-Wheel Wonders,” Sun-Sentinel

Judge’s comments: This video was entertaining, informative and extremely well-executed. It was brilliantly edited, with images and action linked to the narration and interviews. The still photos and past video were smoothly woven into the new video.


Integrated Storytelling

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: Staff, “Fitness Heroes,” Baltimore Sun

Judge’s comments: Loved the way readers were involved in the process, and the presentation was spectacular – from the short, fun video to the questions asked of the trainers. Who doesn’t want to know the unhealthy snacks fit people crave? And, in the end, this was a great reader service.

Second place: Cindy Hoedel, “36 Hours of Mud, Grit and Glory,” The Kansas City Star

Judge’s comments: To tell the story of a “bucket-list” gravel road bicycle race that draws 2,000 grandmas and pro racers to Kansas each year, Cindy Hoedel used a preview column, an iPhone video on race day and aggregated Instagram posts from riders along the route to build a digital and social-media audience for a deep-dive Sunday narrative piece that tracked the journey of a first-time rider from Canada.

Third place: Staff, “Memories of Vietnam,” The Virginian-Pilot

Judge’s comments: A beautiful look at the local people involved in the Vietnam War to mark the 40th anniversary of the conflict’s end.

Honorable mention: Phillip Valys, Barbara Corbellini Duarte, Talia Medina, “Art Basel,” Sun-Sentinel


Diversity in Digital Features

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic that highlights the diversity within a publication’s audience.

First place: Jamesetta Walker, “Virginia Beach Woman Faces Her Struggles With Acceptance, Purpose,” The Virginian-Pilot

Judge’s comments: A beautifully written tearjerker that was both inspirational and sad. Jamesetta Walker crafted a story that artfully sprinkled the details of her subject’s life into the narrative.

Second place: Francisco Vara-Orta, “Talking It Out: One Middle School Community’s Fight to Disconnect the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” San Antonio Express-News

Judge’s comments: A well-researched and well-written take on a subject that often focuses on problems rather than solutions.

Third place: Nancy Flores, Kelly West, “Austin Gente Series,” Austin (Texas) American-Statesman

Judge’s comments: In a year when stereotypical and fallacious comments about Latinos were making headlines in the presidential race, this series put a wonderful face on Austin’s varied community.

Honorable mention: Barbara Corbellini Duarte, “Dance Portfolio,” Sun-Sentinel


Digital Innovation

New or improved online ventures, including websites, apps, social-media experiments or other ways to share information in the digital world.

First place: Ian Froeb, Gabe Hartwig, Josh Renaud, “Ian Froeb’s STL 100,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Judge’s comments: This was great fun – with fresh design and tons of reporting – and you felt like you got a comprehensive grasp of the St. Louis dining scene. But the real genius was the easy, responsive design of the restaurant search. It was fast and easy to choose your niche cuisine (food trucks! Turkish!) and/or price range, and see a photo grid of results to click into for more details.

Second place: Adam Marton, Patrick Maynard, Greg Kohn, DishBaltimore.com, Baltimore Sun

Judge’s comments: With its gorgeous photography and great design, this project showcased the depth of the Sun’s reporting on the city’s restaurant scene.


Best Niche Product

The best examples of a niche product – such as a magazine or special section – published at least two times a year.

First place: Staff, Distinction, The Virginian-Pilot

Judge’s comments: This magazine stood out for its well-curated collection of stories. Its staff was thoughtful and writerly; photography was energetic and beautiful. The hard work and smart planning were evident in this super-readable section. Well done.

Second place: Staff, Arkansas Life, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Third place: Staff, Distinction, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


 

DIVISION 3 | Circulation 200,000 and up

 

Finest in Features Sweepstakes Award

These awards recognize the three publications that garner the most honors in the contest’s other 18 categories.

First place: The Washington Post

Sixteen awards, including six firsts (Best Section, Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio, General Commentary Portfolio, Arts & Entertainment Commentary Portfolio, Video Storytelling, Digital Innovation), four seconds (Best Features Website, Entertainment Channel or App; Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio; Blog Portfolio; Headline Writing Portfolio), four thirds (General Feature, Sports Feature, Digital Innovation, Best Niche Product) and two honorable mentions (Feature Specialty Writing Portfolio, Digital Innovation).

Second place: Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times

Nine awards, including one first (Sports Feature), six seconds (Best Section, General Feature, Short Feature, Narrative Storytelling, Arts & Entertainment Commentary Portfolio, Best Niche Product) and two thirds (Blog Portfolio, Diversity in Digital Features).

Third place: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Six awards, including five firsts (Best Features Website, Entertainment Channel or App; Arts & Entertainment Feature; Feature Series or Project; Integrated Storytelling; Diversity in Digital Features) and one honorable mention (Best Niche Product).


Best Section

The best regularly occurring features sections that focus on A&E, lifestyles or other features coverage.

First place (tie): Los Angeles Times

Judge’s comments: Well-done. Every section front was visually engaging. The Oscar section is always awesome, and this year’s was no different. So sophisticated, sleek and very Oscar-like. Whether you love or hate the awards, you can’t deny that this section reflected the event, the people and the party atmosphere. Kudos for the pet issue – what a wonderful idea. Well-done on every level, and readers surely loved it. Overall, a true standout.

First place (tie): The Washington Post

Judge’s comments: Always another standout. Articles were well-written, with strong headlines and ledes that pulled readers in. Beautiful use of typography and visuals throughout the sections. Loved the Eddie Murphy section front. The image, and the way it was played, was as much a part of the storytelling as the words themselves.

Second place: Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times

Judge’s comments: Bay magazine contained eye-popping photos that were a testament to the excellent art direction. It was well-written, well-designed and easy to navigate.

Third place: (Minneapolis) Star Tribune

Judge’s comments: Well-written stories on a wide variety of topics. “Refuge on the River” piece was especially interesting. Design was solid. 


Best Features Website, Digital Channel or App

The best digital or online publications showcasing A&E, lifestyles or other features topics.

First place: Alison Sherwood, Fresh, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Judge’s comments: A beautifully designed and well-written online magazine. It was simple and elegant, and it was filled with useful info for the reader on a number of different features and entertainment topics.

Second place: Staff, WashingtonPost.com/lifestyle, The Washington Post

Third place: Staff, CNN.com/longform, CNN.com

Honorable mention: Staff, GuideLive.com, The Dallas Morning News


General Feature

Feature treatment of any A&E, lifestyles or news topic.

First place: Margie Mason, “Seafood From Slaves: 22 Years a Slave,” The Associated Press

Judge’s comments: Impeccably reported and beautifully written, this disturbing piece took a year’s reporting to come to life. Bravo to The AP for investing the resources necessary, and bravo to Margie Mason for showing what could be done with them.

Second place: Lane DeGregory, “Dear Birth Mother,” Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times

Third place: Monica Hesse, “The Long Drive to End a Pregnancy,” The Washington Post

Honorable mention: Jesse Pesta, Preetika Rana, “In Indian Families, the Dangerous Meeting of Women and Fire,” The Wall Street Journal


Arts & Entertainment Feature

Feature treatment of an arts and entertainment topic.

First place: Kathy Flanigan, Chelsey Lewis, “A Beer Tour of Wisconsin’s Driftless Region,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Judge’s comments: Loved the voice of this piece. The writing was flavorful and poetic, while being informative for folks who had no idea of such great history. The writer had me at the line: “It’s important to them.” That set the tone of the piece.

Second place: Neal Justin, “Last of the Red-Hot Sportscasters,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune

Judge’s comments: An incredible personality profile, marked by wonderful quotes that showed the subject’s character and painted a picture of the man through the eyes of those around him. The reporter spent time with his subject and did a superb job of capturing him. Readers could see him even though the entry didn’t include photos. The profile was just the right length, too.

Third place: Barbara Hoffman, “Off the Wall: Chuck Connelly,” The New York Post

Judge’s comments: The story gave a feel for the subject’s chaotic personality, with its excellent use of color and quotes.

Honorable mention: Brian McCollum, “Kid Rock Before the Fame: The Definitive Detroit Oral History,” Detroit Free Press

Judge’s comments: Great approach by having people around Kid Rock describe his life, and a nice use of direct quotes. (Loved that the paper allowed the profanity; that was important to the flavor of the story.) Just thought the piece went on a little too long.


Short Feature

Tight, bright writing of fewer than 1,000 words.

First place: Laura Coffey, “Last Known Surviving 9/11 Search Dog from Ground Zero Enjoys ‘Sweet 16’ Bash,” Today.com

Judge’s comments: Some great storytelling done in a nice tight reader-friendly space.

Second place: Jay Cridlin, “Lucille Falls Silent,” Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times

Third place: Laura Coffey, “Shelter Dog Helps Boy With Autism Hug, Kiss His Mom for First Time,” Today.com

Honorable mention: Tom Hallman Jr., “Trying to Make a Hood River Girl’s Last Birthday Party Special,” The Oregonian


Feature Series or Project

Feature treatment of any lifestyle, A&E or news topic that has multiple parts.

First place: Ashley Luthern, “Precious Lives,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Judge’s comments: The scope and ambition of this project was remarkable, but it was the reporter’s thoughtful writing and storytelling that made this the winner in an extremely competitive category. The writer put readers in the room with the people she interviewed, made the most of pertinent details and never let her own presence get between the human lives she was illuminating and the reader.

Second place: Jeffrey Fleishman, “Inside the L.A. Phil,” Los Angeles Times

Judge’s comments: Too often arts writing is seen as the kind of luxury that a news organization no longer can afford. In this thoroughly reported, engagingly written series, Jeffrey Fleishman brought to life one of the city’s institutions, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and resoundingly proved otherwise. The cohesive visual presentation and digital extras made this a winner.

Third place: Stefano Esposito, “Evi & Walter: A Love Story in Any Key,” Chicago Sun-Times

Judge’s comments: This was a beautifully presented story, with photos, video and layout that set the tone but never distracted from the writing. And what beautiful writing it was. Readers couldn’t help but get lost in the story of Evi and Walter in the way one gets lost in a good book. Readers also couldn’t help but gain insights into the challenge so many face – or may face – at the end of life, loving and helping someone they love with dementia. The story was touching yet never maudlin or cloying.

Honorable mention: Gracie Staples, “Starving for Nutrition: Food Deserts in Metro Atlanta,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Narrative Storytelling

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: Tristan McConnell, “Close Your Eyes and Pretend to be Dead,” Foreign Policy

Judge’s comments: I did not want to read this story. It was about a complex, tragic situation in a country mostly unfamiliar to me. But then, I started. And then? I couldn’t stop. As a reader, I lived and died with those people in that mall. I was terrified. I was grief-stricken. After the truth came out, I was disgusted with the government. I was sick to think that this – THIS! in all its excruciating, vividly painted detail – is what is happening in so many places around the world, and I was much, much better educated on the politics and logistics of this one attack. Finally, in the end, I was left strangely hopeful, even knowing attacks by terrorists continue. That is because Tristan McConnell somehow captured and put into words the ineffable, the unquenchable of the human spirit, and for that I am thankful. I wish it could be made required reading for all journalists and journalism students. In addition, the accompanying photography was incredibly powerful, and the way all the elements were displayed online made for the ultimate in reader ease.

Second place: Lane DeGregory, “The Space Between Life and Death,” Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times

Judge’s comments: True confession: I got so caught up in this feature emotionally and intellectually that I forgot to make judging notes during my first read-through of it. Such a timely, important and near-universal topic, such great story flow. Lede just draws you in, and the next thing you know you feel like you are a part of both the families and the staff. And then you begin to realize that you are also feeling what it would be like if you were ever a patient in hospice care. You are, in fact, so caught up in your feelings that you don’t realize you are being gently and thoroughly educated on the technical points about how hospice works – and how the physical, mental and emotional processes of dying work. Had the competition not been so fierce from the first-place winner, this piece by Lane DeGregory would have merited the top award. It is also worth noting that the photography accompanying the story is outstanding, and the online display of all elements made it easy for the reader to navigate.

Third place: Catherine Dunn, “A Rental Named Desire,” International Business Times

Judge’s comments: Excellent way to approach a trend feature, through personalization. By the time the story was over, I felt like I had really gotten to know this family, and I could empathize with their situation, although no part of it has ever (yet) been mine. In short, Catherine Dunn managed both to educate this reader and to evoke compassion, while at the same time doing a great job with the business end of business reporting – for example, providing important details regarding the number of vouchers and housing units and clear definitions of terms like “overly cost-burdened.” Vivid painting of word pictures, good quote selection. Deft inclusion of national statistics and perspective to make sure the reader knew that while this one family might be in New Orleans, similar situations are going on nationwide. Nice photography and easy to navigate online display.

Honorable mention: Wayne Drash, “The Massacre That Didn’t Happen,” CNN.com


Feature Speciality Writing Portfolio

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: Ben Terris, The Washington Post

Judge’s comments: Snazzy, free-flowing writing. Ben Terris proved that the 2016 campaign has been a gift not only to late-night comedians but also to political reporters. The Trump golf story was a hoot – maybe something that will prove to be much less funny down the road. In the meantime, we can take pleasure in sentences like this one, from his piece on tiny Dixville Notch, N.H.: “On a visit in late July, it was a humid and musty place, like walking through a recent sneeze.” Bless you, Ben Terris.

Second place: Michael Cavna, The Washington Post

Judge’s comments: The alternative storytelling was wonderful, but the conventional storytelling was spectacular. The “Peanuts” piece was brilliant, with life imitating art.

Third place: Daniel Burke, CNN.com

Judge’s comments: Daniel Burke was up to the task of retracing the pope’s footsteps and produced a deeply mined piece on one of the most important personalities in the world. His personal story on a brush with disaster was anything but a train wreck. He produced a clever story through the filter of his beat. And the atheism piece brought home the reality that maybe all of us doubt more than we want to acknowledge.

Honorable mention: Geoff Edgers, The Washington Post


General Commentary Portfolio

A collection of three columns or essays by the same writer on any human interest or specialty topic, excluding editorials.

First place: Lonnae O’Neal, The Washington Post

Judge’s comments: Searing commentary on the riots in Baltimore, the death of Freddie Gray and the Confederate flag, and each piece was as elegantly structured, paced and insistent as it was unforgettable.

Second place: Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times

Third place: Ralph Strangis, The Dallas Morning News


Arts & Entertainment Commentary Portfolio

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: Hank Stuever, The Washington Post

Judge’s comments: Hank Stuever is not merely a television critic; he uses the medium to probe and puncture noxious societal trends, especially our fawning over all aspects of celebrity culture. In these columns, he noted how harmless game shows and reality TV series were ominous commentaries about who we are as a society. And, needless to say, he was a joy to read.

Second place: Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times

Judge’s comments: The pieces on Harper Lee’s “To Set A Watchman” were eloquent, well-reasoned examinations of the book’s flaws and why it caused such a furor upon its release. And the story about the writer’s love of “Little Women” showed the depth of her passion and caring for the art of reading and literature.

Third place: Mark Lamster, The Dallas Morning News

Judge’s comments: Mark Lamster showed us that architecture is not esoteric, but central to our lives even when it’s hiding in plain sight. His stories on a small-town scuffle over a historic site and how the design of modern hospitals affects our well-being were smart and insightful.

Honorable mention: Alison Cook, Houston Chronicle

Judge’s comments: Alison Cook is a wonderful stylist whose word choices made her restaurant reviews powerful and palatable.


Sports Feature

Feature treatment of any sports topic.

First place: Staff, “One Wild Ride,” Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times

Judge’s comments: What a terrific reminder of how rich sports beats are with great people stories and adventures. 

Second place: Casey Parks, “Team of Dreams,” The Oregonian

Third place: Kent Babb, “Chip Kelly, Football’s Most Intriguing Figure, Is Also Its Most Unknown,” The Washington Post

Honorable mention: Helena Oliviero, “House of Hoops,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Blog Portfolio

Three blog posts by the same writer on any feature topic, including commentary and reviews.

First place: Sam Wood, “Health – Clean Plates,” The Philadelphia Inquirer

Judge’s comments: This reporter did what journalists are tasked to do: be a watchdog for readers. After reporting the delay in health inspections reports for Philadelphia restaurants – potentially putting the health of diners at risk – the city changed its policy and began releasing details of inspections much sooner. A job well-done.

Second place: Caitlin Dewey, “The Intersect,” The Washington Post

Third place: Jay Cridlin, “Soundcheck,” Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times


Video Storytelling

The coverage of any A&E, lifestyle or specialty topic using a single video of not more than 8 minutes in length.

First place: McKenna Ewen, “Circus Nuns: These Sisters Are No Act,” The Washington Post

Judge’s comments: This was a story with heart: surprising and poignant, with just enough humor. The beginning of the video, using time lapse and graphics, signaled that this wouldn’t be an ordinary circus story. Everything – from the way the video and sound were captured to the editing – was first-rate. The little montages of images and music helped give rhythm to the video.

Second place: Staff, “The Dignity of Living: America’s Home Care Aides,” Equal Voice News

Judge’s comments: This video was elevated by powerful still images and well-edited video with music that matched the tone of the story.

Third place: Samantha Okazaki, Carissa Ray, “Tattoos for Breast Cancer Survivors: Finding Vinnie Myers, Feeling Whole,” Today.com

Judge’s comments: An interesting topic. The visuals, editing and sound all matched the upbeat story, which featured a strong main character.

Honorable mention: Anna Bressani, “Subway Dancers Keep Moving Despite New York Ban,” BBC News Magazine (US)


Integrated Storytelling

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: Staff, “Unsolved: A Murdered Teen, a 40-Year Mystery,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Judge’s comments: The folks behind this project thoughtfully used all the tools at their disposal – from archival stories to a very of-the-moment podcast – to revisit a fascinating cold case.

Second place: Thomas Curwen, Evan Wagstaff, Lily Mihalik, “The Loneliest War,” Los Angeles Times

Judge’s comments: Not long ago, this would have been simply a nice text story with photos. But the gravity and emotional depth were magnified by the savvy use of video, Pentagon records and background information on the service members who died.

Third place: Rajini Vaidyanathan, “The Hurricane Station,” BBC News Magazine (US)

Judge’s comments: Audio was the appropriate complement to the tale of a radio station literally at the heart of the storm when Katrina hit, but the artful use of copious visual material thrust readers back to those moments in 2005.

Honorable mention: Stacy Altherr, “Long Island Winery Finder,” Newsday


Diversity in Digital Features

The coverage of any A&E, features or lifestyle topic that highlights the diversity within a publication’s audience.

First place: Staff, “Precious Lives,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Judge’s comments: A big and important story, well done.

Second place: Staff, “The Micronesians,” Honolulu Civil Beat

Judge’s comments: This was a thorough, informative, compelling, well-written and visually appealing package on an important and mostly unknown – at least on the mainland – subject.

Third place: Anna Phillips, “The Dreamer,” Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times

Judge’s comments: A beautifully written, compelling story that put a human face on the results of governmental decisions.

Honorable mention: Kristen Millares Young, “Misty Upham: The Tragic Death and Unscripted Life of Hollywood’s Rising Star,” The Guardian


Digital Innovation

New or improved online ventures, including websites, apps, social-media experiments or other ways to share information in the digital world.

First place: Michael Cavna, “#Draw4Atena: The Social-Media Experiment That Went Global,” The Washington Post

Judge’s comments: Beautiful in its simplicity. The community impact couldn’t be denied either. Loved this.

Second place: John Sutter, “You’re Making This Island Disappear,” CNN.com

Judge’s comments: Particularly good use of video to discuss the problem, but the Snapchat video gave a more casual look at the people. Photos were gorgeous. (The editorial tone at the end of the main video could have been edited to let the research and body of work make that point rather than the reporter.)

Third place: Alex Baldinger, Kennedy Elliott, “Holiday Cookie Generator,” The Washington Post

Judge’s comments: Great idea and wonderful execution. I will be using this during the holidays.

Honorable mention: Michael Cavna, “Experiments in Instagram Short-Lived Art,” The Washington Post


Best Niche Product

The best examples of a niche product – such as a magazine or special section – published at least two times a year.

First place: Staff, FD, The Dallas Morning News

Judge’s comments: Stunning visuals, elegant typography and solid storytelling made this the kind of magazine you wanted to curl up with in a comfy chair and stay awhile. Absolutely gorgeous covers.

Second place: Staff, Bay, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times

Judge’s comments: Another magazine you wanted to spend time with, with its lively mix of short pieces and longer stories. Beautiful images complement the strong writing.

Third place: Tom Sietsema, Staff, Spring and Fall Dining Guides, The Washington Post

Judge’s comments: A must-have for anyone wanting to savor the culinary scene in the D.C. metro area.

Honorable mention: Staff, Green Sheet, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


 

ALL DIVISIONS

 

Headline Writing

A collection of three headlines and accompanying decks by the same writer for feature stories or columns.

First place: Rand Wesker, Newsday

Judge’s comments: This headline from Rand Wesker said so much, so well: “The Who weighs the ‘when.’ Don’t get fooled again – this really might be the legendary band’s final tour.” The combination of song lyrics and the Who/when juxtaposition created a gem. The word play in “Exiting stage bereft” was a bit risky, but it worked on the story about Jan Maxwell’s retirement leaving theatergoers at a loss. “Screen test” for a story about movie trivia was catchy and appropriate.

Second place: Doug Norwood, The Washington Post

Judge’s comments: Doug Norwood’s headline submissions were catchy and informative. His “Showtime time for a mover and a Laker” employed a nice play on words without going too far, and “Crocus pocus: Finding magic in early spring” was enchanting, enticing readers into the story.

Third place: Rob Fouch, Newsday

Judge’s comments: Rob Fouch’s TV story headlines were fun. He used clever plays on words that work. “Spouse Odyssey” on a story about the “Astronaut Wives Club” was my favorite.

Honorable mention: Shawn Ryan, Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press


 

STUDENT DIVISIONS

 

Best College Features Journalist in the Country

The top collegiate features journalists, based on an entry of up to three stories

First place: Cody Stavenhagen, Oklahoma State University

Judge’s comments: Overall, this category featured a strong group of entries, with solid reporting and clarity. The biggest fault was a lack of voice on the part of the writers, and a tendency to tell rather than to let the subjects show us the story. One writer who did not lack voice was Cody Stavenhagen. His stories were compelling and drew us from the lede to the end. Well done.

Second place: Corey Williams, Auburn University

Judge’s comments: His entry, “Justin’s Legacy: The Death of Justin Weimer,” was well-told and moving without being maudlin. Loved the line about how if you met him, you’d dance with him. Information provided on a serious topic, in a compelling way.

Third place: Matthew Lieberson, Vanderbilt University

Judge’s comments: This collegiate journalist displayed lively writing, though a bit uneven, and showed a strong voice and a willingness to try different approaches. Nicely done.

Honorable mention: Baxter Barrowcliff, Columbia College

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