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Winners and finalists in the APME journalism awards

Friday, May 20, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jack Lail
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APME

Lead. Nurture. Innovate. 

 

 

ASSOCIATED PRESS MEDIA EDITORS ANNOUNCE WINNERS IN THE

2016 INNOVATION IN JOURNALISM AWARDS

 

May 19, 2016 -- The joint effort of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Tampa Bay Times to expose treacherous and violent conditions in Florida’s state-funded mental hospitals won top honors in the 2016 APME Innovation in Journalism Awards.

“Insane. Invisible. In danger.” won the Public Service Award for large news organizations, and the APME Foundation Sweepstakes Award as the best overall public service work. It also won the Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Reporting.

 “It stands above the rest in all ways,” the judges said. “Most important is that this work exposed shockingly horrible conditions in which both wards and the few workers who cared for them were at great risk for harm or death. And the action it drew was swift and impressive. It was the unanimous judges’ choice for the Sweepstakes award for its fantastic public service journalism, powerful storytelling, depth and immediate impact.”

The Herald-Tribune also won the International Perspective Award and the Community Engagement Award in the small news organization categories, and is one of three finalists for the Innovator of the Year award.

The latter award is unique in journalism. Finalists will make presentations at the joint convention of the Associated Press Media Editors and the American Society of News Editors in Philadelphia this September. The winner will then be selected by those attending the convention, joining the other APME winners honored at the Philadelphia gathering.

Other top winners for public service work done in 2015 were the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier and the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal. The News Journal was a double winner, also taking the award for Innovation in News Reporting in the small news organization category.

The Dallas Morning News was another double winner, taking top honors in the Community Engagement category for large news organizations, and Best Mobile App for its TDMN SportsDay.

Judges of the Community Engagement Award praised the Morning News’ Hispanic Families Network, which trained parents to become citizen journalists – reporting, writing, blogging and using social media to share information about access to kindergarten and literacy programs.

“The potential long-term benefits to society, and the individuals themselves, are lifelong,” the judges said. “Family trajectories can be changed.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won the Freedom of Information Award in the large news organization category, and the Tom Curley Sweepstakes Award for the best overall work in protecting and advancing First Amendment principles. Two Virginia newspapers – the Roanoke Times and the Newport News Daily Press – shared the FOI Award for medium news organizations, and the Virgin Islands Daily News won for small news organizations.

“The Journal Sentinel’s powerful coverage, strong engagement and classic watchdog reporting kept Wisconsin lawmakers from pushing through changes that would have dramatically weakened the state's public-access law,” judges said.

Like the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Journal Sentinel is also a finalist for Innovator of the Year. The Times of Northwest Indiana is the third contender, for its “Community Civility Counts,” which judges described as “beautiful in its simplicity.”

The Memphis Commercial Appeal won the Al Neuharth Award for small news organizations, for “Our Financial Mess.” “Unraveling the roots of Memphis’ long-standing fiscal problems in such a comprehensive fashion – and in a way the engaged so many readers – was an impressive example of public service journalism,” judges said.  

The Los Angeles Times won for Innovation in News Reporting in the large news organization category for its stellar coverage of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. “Detailed narrative writing, a vibrant Twitter feed, a database of victims, a remarkable multimedia presentation showing the pursuit of the killers – this was a prime example of all-around excellence,” judges said.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press won for Innovation in Deadline Reporting for medium news organizations for “A Nightmare for Our City.” Judges praised its comprehensive coverage, which included a live blog, photo galleries, videos, eyewitness accounts, national context – “and some particularly smart touches, such as a list of vigils, and FAQ box, and a ‘What we know’ list.”

The Wall Street Journal, with “Demographics 2050,” and Cleveland Plain Dealer, with “Hard Time In Cleveland,” won for Innovation in Storytelling in their respective size categories.

The Seattle Times won the International Perspective Award in the large news organization category for “Haiti: A Shaky Recovery.” The series “stood out against very strong competition in this category,” judges said. “In the end, we believed they did the best job bringing an international issue back home and connecting it with readers in a variety of ways.”

Finally, Arizona State University was honored as Innovator of the Year for College Students for the Public Insight Network Bureau, developed at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The annual APME competition rewards journalism excellence and advances the organization’s vision of fostering newsroom leaders, empowering journalists to succeed, and cultivating ideas that work.

Here is the full list of winners, followed by judges’ comments. In several categories, other exemplary work was singled out for honorable mention.

2016 APME INNOVATION IN JOURNALISM AWARDS

Public Service Award

150,000 and up circulation:

Insane. Invisible. In danger,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Tampa Bay Times

“The depth and breadth of the reporting was as impressive as the writing and presentation. It stands above the rest in all ways. The joint effort by ‘competing’ Florida West Coast newspapers also is impressive. But most important is that this work exposed shockingly horrible conditions in which both wards and the few workers who cared for them were at great risk for harm or death. And the action it drew was swift and impressive. It was the unanimous judges’ choice for the Sweepstakes award for its fantastic public service journalism, powerful storytelling, depth and immediate impact.”

 40,000 to 149,999 circulation:

“Shots Fired," Post and Courier, Charleston, South Carolina

“In a sweeping investigation following the death of Walter Scott at the hands of police, Post and Courier journalists examined every police shooting in South Carolina since 2009. The damning news report exposed a stunning lack of accountability and revealed disturbing trends about race, justice and policing across the state. The project, which combined the best of data-driven journalism and digital storytelling, has driven statewide calls for reform. A push for increased police training is underway. This is public service journalism at its best.”

 Up to 39,999 circulation:

“Victims Next Door,” Pensacola News Journal

“This ambitious project exposed the staggering depth of child abuse in Florida's Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, and its cost. Presented in powerfully written stories, photos, video and insightful interactive graphics, the series brings a troubling national trend home to a local audience, using engaging storytelling populated by interesting and sympathetic characters. The newspaper's work played a pivotal role in getting the community to act on this problem, and that is what public service journalism is all about.”

 

APME Foundation Sweepstakes for best in category ($1,000 prize):

Insane. Invisible. In danger,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Tampa Bay Times

Innovator of the Year Award (Finalists) ($1,000 prize for winner)

 “Community Civility Counts,” The Times of Northwest Indiana

“Beautiful in its simplicity. And the paper certainly has a lot of organizations on board. The turnout in the hundreds for the “Civility Day” was impressive, and the event received a lot of coverage. We loved the anti-bullying videos from students. Some of them were quite powerful.”

 “Precious Lives: Kids, guns and how we can stop the violence,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and media partners (WUWM and WNOV radio, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and 371 Productions)

“Breaking down each shooting, talking to the people it touched, is so important in a culture that treats them as normal. The partnership with radio is a great idea, especially making sure to pick two stations that reach a greater audience. The podcasts are terrific. Precious Lives clearly is having impact … which is its purpose. We love the app idea, which has a  very strong public service element. It could save lives.”

“Unravel,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune

unRavel.us is a great idea. A news app developed by and for young professionals is something that is needed in the industry. The stories that are clearly for this brand have a very strong voice.  The potential for this kind of app moving forward is huge. Any newsroom can take this idea and cater it to their community, which is a big part of this competition.”

First Amendment Award 

150,000 and up circulation:

"A push for openness," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“The Journal Sentinel’s powerful coverage, strong engagement and classic watchdog reporting kept Wisconsin lawmakers from pushing through changes that would have dramatically weakened the state's public-access laws. When lawmakers tried to slip last-minute changes into the budget during the Fourth of July weekend, the Journal Sentinel rallied readers through insightful reporting and a strong column from Editor George Stanley. Within two days, the governor and majority leaders backed away from the damaging changes. The Journal Sentinel team didn't stop there. They dug through emails and records to show the governor's team had actively been involved in pushing for the restrictions. This was outstanding attention to the importance of open government, from the Journal Sentinel's thorough coverage of the developing news to its strong pursuit of finding out who was behind the backdoor move. In a strong field of entries, this effort stood out for its responsive and thoroughness under deadline pressure due to the pending close of the legislative session.”

Honorable mention:

o   "Biolabs In Your Backyard," USA TODAY NETWORK

o   "Untested Rape Kits," USA TODAY NETWORK

o   "Guantanamo records redactions by Carol Rosenberg," Miami Herald 

40,000 to 149,999 circulation (co-winners):

“Finding their secrets,” Roanoke Times and “Daily Press vs. Supreme Court of Virginia,” Daily Press of Newport News

“When the administrative office of the Virginia court system slammed the door on access to a statewide database of court records — reversing a previous policy of open access — neither the Daily Press of Newport News nor the Roanoke Times took it lying down. Instead, the two news organizations did an end run around the state roadblock, enlisting the help of Code for America, a group of volunteers dedicated to advancing government transparency. The group devised algorithms that scraped court records around the state, enabling the two news organizations to produce high-impact journalism. The Roanoke Times was able to show how two major health care providers were able to hide wrongful-death settlements, which are open under Virginia law, by filing them in distant courthouses. The Daily Press reported that black defendants in the region were treated more harshly than whites in plea bargains and for parole violations and that only 5 percent of rapes in the region ever resulted in someone being sent to prison.”

 Up to 39,999 circulation:

“Transparency denied,” The Virgin Islands Daily News      

“The Virgin Islands Daily News has been relentless and unflinching in uncovering records and reporting on the governor’s excessive spending habits. The governor’s campaign promises for transparency haven’t matched his actions. The work by reporter Jonathan Austin and the Daily News team uncovered internal documents that had been rewrittenand falsified, and changed the tide of discussion among lawmakers and voters. This is classic understanding of how pursuing public access and records can change public policies.”

 Tom Curley Sweepstakes Award for best in category ($1,000 prize):

"A push for openness," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Innovation in News Reporting

 150,000 and up circulation:

“San Bernardino terrorist attack,” Los Angeles Times

“The Times did an extraordinary job of providing comprehensive, multi-platform coverage of the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11. Detailed narrative writing, a vibrant Twitter feed, a database of victims, a remarkable multimedia presentation showing the pursuit of the killers – this was a prime example of all-around excellence. While remaining true to its local focus, the work put the tragedy in an international context.”

Honorable mention:

“North Texas Tornado,” Dallas Morning News

 40,000 to 149,999 circulation:

“A Nightmare for Our City,” Chattanooga Times Free Press

“This is an outstanding example of comprehensive coverage, with a live blog, photo galleries, videos, eyewitness accounts, national context – and some particularly smart touches, such as a list of vigils, and FAQ box and a “What we know” list. The Time Free Press did an exemplary job of dealing with all the facets, from the victims to the shooter to the motive and beyond. Crisp, consistent writing throughout.

Honorable mention:

“The Death of Freddie Gray and Ensuing Riots,” Baltimore Sun 

Up to 39,999 circulation:

“Black Hawk Crash,” Pensacola News Journal

“In the immediate aftermath of a Blackhawk helicopter crash that killed all military personnel on board, the News Journal provided a virtual minute-by-minute story blog, supplemented by strong video and live-streaming of military updates. It’s coverage had a strong sense of urgency and place.”

Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Reporting ($1,250 prize for each winner)

 75,000 and up circulation:

“Insane, Invisible, In Danger,” Sarasota Herald Tribune and Tampa Bay Times

“Powerful, powerful reporting. The collaborative efforts of the two news organization revealed widespread abuse, neglect and sometimes deadly violence in Florida’s mental hospitals, in the process stripping away a veil of official secrecy and placing accountability for the horrific conditions squarely where it belongs – with state officials. The outrage grew with each new section, new piece of data or new video.  Lawmakers took notice immediately, increasing funds to hire more qualified people to care for the patients in the state’s mental hospitals. Terrific online design that used surveillance videos, interviews, graphics and interactive bios. The innovative partnership between news organizations of very different sizes is a great blueprint for future investigative projects.  Bravo!”

Up to 74,999 circulation:

“Our Financial Mess,” The Commercial Appeal

“Unraveling the roots of Memphis’ long-standing fiscal problems in such a comprehensive fashion – and in a way the engaged so many readers – was an impressive example of public service journalism.  This is a well-written series that adeptly explains how Memphis officials created their own financial troubles by extending boundaries in a quest for increased property tax revenues. It also examines the results of those decisions on the lives of people living within the original boundaries and those in annexed areas. Great work.”

Innovation in Storytelling  

150,000 and up circulation:

“Demographics 2050,” Wall Street Journal

“An ambitious and at times startling look at how demographic trends are reshaping the world's economy, the environment and the way we live.  Beautifully designed, with rich data and interactive graphics that do much of the storytelling. Vivid photography and clear, accessible writing throughout the series. The bold, non-traditional storytelling delivered a big payoff.”      

Honorable mention:

o   “Taken Hostage,” Wall Street Journal

o   “Unsolved: A Murder Mystery, 40 Years Later,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

40,000 to 149,999 circulation:

“Hard Time in Cleveland,” Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A gripping narrative that used the unique sentencing of a real estate scam artist to take readers inside the insular world of Slavic Village, a blue-collar neighborhood leveled by hard times. The project sucked you in from the beginning with crisp writing and strong multimedia elements.”

Honorable mention:

o   “Chasing the Ghost,” Sarasota Herald Tribune

o   “Divided by Law,”  Arizona Daily Star 

Up to 39,999 circulation:

No winner.

International Perspective Award

 75,000 and up circulation:

“Haiti: A Shaky Recovery,” The Seattle Times

“This series stood out against very strong competition. In the end, we believed the Times did the best job bringing an international issue back home and connecting it with readers in a variety of ways. The project was ambitious and creatively funded. It was good explanatory writing, punctuated with incredible photographic storytelling. We also appreciated the accountability piece of this project. Everyone remembers the obsession with mobile financing five years ago after this natural disaster. But that was five years ago. The Seattle Times showed us what can go wrong in five years when a program like this lacks oversight and slips from public awareness. The ArcGIS interactive timeline was a nice touch and a good use of the digital tools available.” 

Up to 74,999 circulation:

“Shortcut to the American Dream,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune

We admired the way a small piece of information from an earlier investigation triggered reporter Josh Salman’s instincts for this series. The result unearthed something special – a data-heavy story that nonetheless was easy to digest, thanks to the digital presentation and the organization of the writing. Judges came away having learned something new about the world of immigration and business. The work showed an extraordinary commitment to journalism and the search for truth.”

Community Engagement Awards

75,000 and up circulation:

“Hispanic Families Network,” The Dallas Morning News

“The Dallas Morning News' Hispanic Families Network project empowered a community that is a vital and integral part of the Dallas area. The potential long-term benefits to society, and the individuals themselves, are lifelong. Family trajectories can be changed. The DMN did not forget its most marginalized, often forgotten citizens. It stood up for the children.”

Honorable mention:

o   “Silent Suffering,” The Columbus Dispatch

o   “Precious Lives,” Journal Sentinel

o   “Nashville transit system,” The Tennessean 

Up to 74,999 circulation:

“The S Word: The Stigma of Schizophrenia,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“The Sarasota Herald-Tribune's "The S Word: The Stigma of Schizophrenia" project is a perfect example of unifying great journalism with community engagement to help solve problems. The Herald-Tribune tackled the difficult subject of schizophrenia in a sensitive yet informative matter. Staff Writer Carrie Seidman presented a portrait of mental illness from the inside out, taking readers on the personal journey of her 22-year-old son's battle with the disorder. Not only did the stories define and point out the struggles of schizophrenia, but the Herald-Tribune invited members of the community into the newspaper to participate in panel discussions with health and government experts about the disease. A first-rate effort all around. We salute the Herald-Tribune for tackling a troubling disease that is often ignored.”‘

Honorable mention:

o   “Florida Medicaid,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune

o   Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald collaboration

Mobile Platform Award

 “TDMN Sports Day,” Dallas Morning News

“This mobile experience gathers a substantial amount of comprehensive information and some smart user experience, such as being able to pause the sports talk radio livestream and replay later). Another strong point is the effort to actively engage readers with elements such as the fun meme-maker using their photos.”

Honorable mention:

o   “Disneyland Mobile,” Orange County Register

o   “What's News,” Wall Street Journal 

Innovator of the Year Award for College Students

 “Public Insight Network Bureau,” Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

“Students paired their shoe-leather reporting skills and street-smart use of new media tools to tell the untold stories in Phoenix communities. The program helps students develop critical listening skills, and ways to engage with ordinary people in extraordinary ways.”


Associated Press Media Editors

APME is a professional network, a resource for helping editors and broadcasters improve their news coverage and newsroom operations.

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