ASNE Awards 2004

ASNE announces 2004 award winners
Posted 2/19/2004 5:01:00 PM

RESTON, Va. -- The American Society of Newspaper Editors has selected the winners of its annual awards for distinguished writing and photography.


Winners of the 2004 ASNE Awards are:

  • The Boston Globe: Ellen Barry, Douglas Belkin, Thomas Farragher, Michele Kurtz, Raja Mishra, Michael Paulson -- (tie) Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by a Team
  • The New York Times: William Broad, James Glanz, David Halbfinger, Richard Oppel Jr., David Sanger -- (tie) Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by a Team
  • Anthony Shadid, The Washington Post -- Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by an Individual
  • S. Lynne Walker, Copley News Service, San Diego-- The Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Outstanding Writing on Diversity
  • Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times -- commentary/column writing
  • Cathy Frye, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock -- nondeadline writing
  • Mark Mahoney, The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y. -- editorial writing
  • Tommy Tomlinson, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer -- profile writing
  • Brian Vander Brug, Los Angeles Times -- community service photojournalism


The Jesse Laventhol prizes each carry a $10,000 cash award; all of the others will receive $2,500 prizes. The awards will be made April 23, during the Society’s convention in Washington, D.C. The winning entries and interviews with the winners and finalists will be published in "Best Newspaper Writing 2004," by The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, Fla.


A look at the winners:


The team from The Boston Globe won for its empathetic coverage of the Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 and maimed scores. The judges said, "Informed by their collective solid street reporting, this team put you in the center of a horrific event."


The team from The New York Times won for its vivid account of the breakup of the shuttle Columbia, which, the judges said, "exhibited comprehensive, well-organized and seamless news writing seasoned with appropriate drama, meaningful context and authoritative background."


Anthony Shadid of The Washington Post won the Laventhol prize for individual deadline reporting for his coverage of the war in Iraq. The judges said, "Shadid delivered from Iraq with an enormous descriptive range and great lyrical power. He did it all from the base of great reporting strength."


S. Lynne Walker of Copley News Service, San Diego won The Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Outstanding Writing on Diversity for her account of the changes in a town brought by an influx of immigrants. The judges praised her blunt honesty. "It is a slice of America also written about by others, yet in this case delivered in a compelling way that offers a deeper understanding."


Dan Neil of the Los Angeles Times won the commentary/column award for being what the judges called "the most uncommon auto columnist in the country." "He delivers great leads, allows no fall off in the writing as he delivers little treasures throughout and yet always rewards the reader at the end," the judges said.


Cathy Frye of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, won the nondeadline writing award for her account of a 13-year-old girl’s fateful venture into the Internet chat room culture. The judges praised Frye’s use of recovered e-mail conversations as a powerful device. "In a riveting, novelistic style, Cathy Frye weaves the details of dogged reporting masterfully, pulling the reader through a journey despite a sense of dread about the ending," the judges said.


Mark Mahoney of The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y., won the editorial writing award for his "pointed and persuasive ways." The judges said, "He gets quickly to the point, exhibits humor when appropriate and shows a broad range. Most important, he never leaves his point-of-view or suggested remedies in doubt."


Tommy Tomlinson of The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer won the profile writing award, a special competition for this year only, because he "captures readers quickly and keeps them engaged," the judges said. "In powerful narratives that resist the push to be maudlin, the writer displays a great gift for showing subjects through a variety of lenses."


Brian Vander Brug of the Los Angeles Times won the community service photojournalism award for his stark and powerful photos about murder victims and those left behind. "The faces of murder -- those shot and those left behind -- are powerful, impactful and memorable images that deliver understanding of the high cost of these tragedies," the judges said.


The ASNE judges also recognized the work of other newspaper journalists as finalists:


Deadline news reporting by a team

  • The Wall Street Journal: Susanne Craig, Ianthe Jeanne Dugan, Kate Kelly


Deadline news reporting by an individual

  • Terence Hunt, Associated Press, Washington
  • Somini Sengupta, The New York Times


The Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Outstanding Writing on Diversity

  • Jill Leovy, Los Angeles Times
  • Amy Argetsinger, The Washington Post


Commentary/column writing

  • Robert Jamieson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  • Howard Troxler, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times


Nondeadline writing

  • Robert Lee Hotz, Los Angeles Times
  • Lane DeGregory, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times


Editorial writing

  • Randy Bergmann, Asbury Park Press, Neptune, N.J.
  • Andrew Malcolm, Los Angeles Times


Profile writing

  • Chuck Culpepper, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.
  • Amy Ellis Nutt, The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.


Community service photojournalism

  • Alan Spearman, The Commercial-Appeal, Memphis
  • Rob Finch, The Oregonian, Portland


This year’s contest attracted more than 550 entries from news organizations throughout the United States and Canada.


The Jesse Laventhol Prizes are named in honor of a longtime Philadelphia newspaperman. They are endowed by his son, David A. Laventhol, a former editor and executive for Times Mirror, who is now chairman and editorial director of the Columbia Journalism Review. Laventhol has been a member of ASNE for many years and serves as a member of the ASNE Awards Board. He said he wanted to encourage excellence in a key aspect of newspaper reporting -- "to recognize the best deadline work and to encourage more of it."


This is the third year diversity has been recognized as a permanent category in the ASNE competition. The Freedom Forum, which has partnered with ASNE on many diversity efforts, funds this award.


The ASNE Foundation -- which is supported by gifts from ASNE members, newspaper companies and foundations -- funds the other awards. The Poynter Institute administers the competition. Keith Woods of The Poynter Institute will be the editor of "Best Newspaper Writing 2004."


The awards were made for work completed in 2003. All daily newspapers and wire services in the United States or Canada are eligible to enter. Also eligible are other newspapers in the Americas that are headed by an active member of ASNE. The work must be in English.


Tim McGuire, Plymouth, Minn., chaired the Awards Board this year. Also judging were: Jim Amoss, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans; Caesar Andrews, Gannett News Service, McLean, Va.; Gilbert Bailon, The Dallas Morning News; Amanda Bennett, The Philadelphia Inquirer; ASNE President Peter Bhatia, The Oregonian, Portland; Neil Brown, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times; Jerry Ceppos, Knight Ridder, San Jose, Calif.; Milton Coleman, The Washington Post; Gregory Favre, The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Deborah Howell, Newhouse News Service, Washington; David Laventhol, New York; Pam Luecke, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.; Rich Oppel, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman; Chris Peck, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.; Skip Perez, The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.; Maddy Ross, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Janet Weaver, The Poynter Institute; Jim Willse, The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.


Carolyn Lee, New York, chaired the photojournalism award judging. Three other photo experts joined in the judging: Vin Alabiso, Associated Press; Marcia Prouse, The Orange County Register, Santa Ana, Calif.; and Kenny Irby, The Poynter Institute.


Judges abstain from discussion when there is either a personal or professional conflict of interest.


With about 800 members, ASNE is the principal organization of American newspaper editors. It is active in a number of areas, including open government, freedom of the press, journalism credibility and ethics, newsroom management, diversity and readership.

2004 ASNE Awards judges' comments