ASNE Awards 2003

ASNE announces 2003 award winners:
Posted 2/27/2003 5:44:00 PM

Winners of the 2003 ASNE Awards are
  • The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post: Elizabeth Clarke, Joel Engelhardt, Gary Kane, Christine Stapleton -- Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by a Team
  • Dan Barry, The New York Times -- Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by an Individual
  • Jonathan Tilove, Newhouse News Service, Washington -- The Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Outstanding Writing on Diversity
  • Michael Kelly, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald -- commentary writing
  • Amy Ellis Nutt, The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J. -- nondeadline writing
  • David Barham, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock; Andrew Malcolm, Los Angeles Times (tie) -- editorial writing
  • James Smith, Record-Journal, Meriden, Conn. -- passion for journalism writing
  • Ted Jackson, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans -- 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 10, during the Society’s convention in New Orleans. The winning entries and interviews with the winners and finalists are published in "Best Newspaper Writing 2003," by The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, Fla.

A look at the winners:

The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post team won the Jesse Laventhol Prize for coverage of the sex scandal in the Catholic Church. "The Catholic priest pedophile scandal has been written about in every newspaper in the country. But the Post, on the day of a bishop’s resigning in disgrace, showed the humanity of both priest and victim," the judges wrote. "The pieces caught the drama of the day’s events, adding context, motivation and compassion."

Barry won for his deadline coverage of Sept. 11, 2002, the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Barry’s work was a "classic job of strong, evocation deadline writing, with style, voice and narrative drive," the judges said.

Tilove won in diversity writing for his series of stories about his visits to many of the more than 500 Martin Luther King Avenues in communities across America. "His writing had great depth and energy, and it reflected a deep understanding of racial complexities in America," the judges said. As he noted, these were "streets united by struggle and circumstance, by history and happenstance. One leads to the next and next and back again."

Kelly won for his courageous columns about a horrific crime -- the abduction and rape of his daughter. He wrote "with style, compassion, and even restraint. In doing so, provided real value in the debate over whether to name rape victims, while providing insight into other issues such as crime and race," the judges said.

Barham and Malcolm deadlocked the judges in the editorial writing category. Barham won for editorials that broke the rules. "David Barham wrote long, used big quotes and seemed to totally enjoy what he was doing. It worked: His editorials were compelling, had personality, impact, character," the judges said.

Malcolm won for editorials that set a different tone from all the other entries. "It was graceful, clever, evocative, humorous. He played language like a musical instrument. His piece on the death of the editor of Roget’s Thesaurus was ‘dazzling..,’ or perhaps astonishing, fascinating, impressive, exciting."

Nutt won for nondeadline stories exploring five of the biggest unanswered questions of science. The judges called the task daunting, and said, "She succeeds not only because of superb topic selection, but because of her ability to weave literary devices into simple, explanatory prose. Amy Nutt knows how to reward her readers - both with a learning experience, and an occasional smile."

Smith took the passion for journalism competition, this year’s designated special category. The judges said his editor’s column is "an impressive example of a classic small town editor facing numerous challenges from powers unappreciative of the role of journalism in their community. Smith met those challenges head on and with courage, while finding the time to explain to readers his thinking."

Jackson was the winner in the photojournalism category. His work put an intimate face on the humanity of school testing introduced to meet federal mandates. "The uncertainty for students and their families was palpable as the photographer won the trust of his subjects and told the story of a challenging year in a series that clearly showed the stakes and the complexity of school reform," the judges said.

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

Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by a Team

The New York Times: James Bennet, Joel Brinkley, Serge Schmemann
The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.: Mickie Anderson, Yolanda Jones, Amos Maki, Stephen Price, Kevin McKenzie

Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by an Individual

Deanna Boyd, Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram


Kelley Bouchard, Maine Sunday Telegram, Portland
Stu Whitney, Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Commentary writing

Kate Nelson, The Albuquerque (N.M.) Tribune
Robert Jamieson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Nondeadline writing:

Barry Horn, The Dallas Morning News
Elizabeth Leland, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer

Editorial writing:

Mark Mahoney, The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y.

Passion for Journalism writing

James Strang, The Plain-Dealer, Cleveland
Don Wycliff, Chicago Tribune

Community Service Photojournalism:

Rodolfo Gonzalez, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman
Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times

This year’s contest attracted more than 500 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 has chaired 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 second 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 prizes. The Poynter Institute administers the competition. Keith Woods of The Poynter Institute will be the editor of "Best Newspaper Writing 2003."

The awards were made for work completed in 2002. 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.

Rich Oppel, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, chaired the Awards Board this year. Other judges were: Andy Alexander, Cox Newspapers, Washington; Jim Amoss, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans; Caesar Andrews, Gannett News Service, McLean, Va.; Gerald Boyd, The New York Times; Gregory Favre, The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Maria Henson, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman; Deborah Howell, Newhouse News Service, Washington; Ed Jones, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.; David Laventhol, New York; Pam Luecke, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.; Walker Lundy, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Tim McGuire, Plymouth, Minn.; Skip Perez, The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.; Maddy Ross, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Don Wycliff, Chicago Tribune; Carolyn Lee, The New York Times, chaired the photojournalism award panel. Three other photo experts joined in the judging: Ken Geiger, The Dallas Morning News; Naomi Halperin, The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa.; and Ken Irby, The Poynter Institute.

With about 820 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.

2003 ASNE Awards Judges’ Comments