Boston Globe, Wash Post among winners of ASNE best of 2013 awards

American Society of News Editors

The Boston Globe won ASNE’s breaking news writing award for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, ASNE announced Thursday.

The ASNE said in a release:

“Judges appreciated how thoroughly and honestly the Globe reported what it knew and what it did not about suspects and potential motives without speculating or giving undo credence to unverified rumors and theories. Stories were tightly written and edited, packed with information and context about the tragedy. Every quote mattered.

“Poignant stories, gathered and written within hours of the blasts, captured the human toll as doctors at the city’s famous research hospitals dealt with catastrophic war zone injuries for the first time in their lives while a mother waited for a son to come out of surgery after losing his leg — the second of her children to have a leg amputated that night.”

Associated Press reporter Alberto Arce won the ASNE Batten Medal for his work covering the strife in Honduras.

The judges noted:

“Alberto Arce writes with stunning power and pace. Under the most difficult circumstances, he tells stories from violence-torn Honduras with an authenticity that reveals to readers terrible realities and the victims but with an elegance that suggests there are no false notes. We are brought into Honduras by a journalist who seems fearless but not reckless. That lends an elegance to the work. His work in recent years and the quality of his dispatches are very much in the spirit of the work championed by Jim Batten.”

The Deborah Howell Award for Nondeadline Writing went jointly to Ellen Gabler, Mark Johnson and John Fauber from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for “Deadly Delays,” a series on the breakdown of screening programs for newborn babies that has resulted in changes in testing procedures across the country, and to Eli Saslow of The Washington Post.

The judges said: “Eli Saslow’s stories demonstrated how powerful great narrative writing can be. His articles in the Washington Post covered the human toll of poverty and hunger, a family’s loneliness in the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting and how learning to use guns is just a matter of growing up in some parts of America. All great stories, all great storytelling. Judges found the reporting and writing in this collection moving and revealing about the state of our culture.”

Other awards went to:

Tony Messenger of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who won the Burl Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership recognizing editorial writing that makes an impact in a community.

•  Marc Perrusquia and Jeff McAdory of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. They were awarded the Punch Sulzberger Award for Online Storytelling for their online presentation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last hours.

Kevin Cullen of The Boston Globe received the Mike Royko Award for Commentary/Column Writing. Judges particularly noted his columns on the Boston Marathon bombings “for their humanity and the way they captured the defiant spirit of a city simultaneously reeling from a devastating attack.”

Michael Grabell of ProPublica was honored with the Distinguished Writing on Diversity Award for the series “Temp Land” that spotlighted the trend of employers filling least-attractive, dangerous jobs with temporary workers. The stories led to Labor Department investigations and a tightening of temp-agency safety rules.

Debbie Cenziper, Michael Sallah and Steven Rich of The Washington Post were recognized for their investigative series “Homes for the Taking.” The stories highlighted how homeowners, often poor or elderly, lost their houses in tax lien sales.

Jim Gehrz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune won the Community Service Photojournalism Award. The judges said his project “Life in the Boom – Trade for Oil” provided “an outstanding sense of place and captured the lives of people: home and work in the evolving fabric of America.”

“The judges were gratified by the quality of the work we saw and by the range of news outlets that submitted entries — including not only newspapers, but also television and radio stations, digital-only outlets and nonprofit news centers,” said David Boardman, ASNE president and dean of the Temple University School of Media and Communication. “It is clear that America’s journalists are rising to the economic and technological challenges they face, finding new ways of telling the stories the public needs and deserves.”

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