IRE, ASNE announce winners as awards season approaches Pulitzers

IRE | ASNE | Scripps Howard Foundation | Polk Awards
When the American Society of News Editors awards were announced this evening (full list below), they bolstered the pack of awards-winners heading toward the Pulitzer Prizes, which will be announced April 16. While I don't have anywhere near Roy J. Harris Jr.'s ability to handicap those, even a quick spin through what's won so far gives a glimpse of the work that's most frequently caught judges' eyes.

California Watch's "On Shaky Ground" series won an Investigative Reporters and Editors Medal and a Scripps Howard Foundation Public Service Reporting Award, and it was a finalist for the Online News Association's awards as well. California Watch also got a Polk Award for "Decoding Prime." Worth noting: California Watch has a similar business model to ProPublica, which won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting last year. Both organizations are nonprofits that focus on investigative reporting and share their content with other publishers.

The Seattle Times has won an IRE award and a Selden Ring award for "Methadone and the Politics of Pain."

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune won an IRE award and the ASNE award for local accountability reporting for "Unfit for Duty," which was a Scripps Howard finalist.

ProPublica won an IRE award for "Post Mortem: Death Investigation in America," and a Scripps Howard Foundation Award for its foreclosure-crisis work, which also got Society of American Business Editors and Writers Award.

Bloomberg News has won an IRE award for "The Fed's Trillion-Dollar Secret" and a Polk Award for "Wired for Repression"

The Patriot-News won the ASNE award for local accountability reporting for its its Jerry Sandusky investigation; it also won a Scripps Howard Foundation Award and a Polk Award for that series.

The Associated Press won a Goldsmith Prize for investigation into New York Police Department's Intelligence Division, which also got a Polk Award.

ASNE announced its award winners Monday evening. Here's the release:

ASNE Awards for 2011’s best journalism announced

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

This year's contest attracted 317 qualifying entries from news organizations throughout the United States.

“The American Society of News Editor is pleased to honor a wide range of extraordinary work and substance,” said Ken Paulson, president of ASNE. “Collectively these hard-hitting and illuminating reports and photographs remind us of the critical role our free press plays in protecting the disadvantaged and keeping an eye on the powerful.”

The winners


Danny Hakim, The New York Times. For his investigation into the more than 2,000 state-run homes in New York revealed widespread problems, including 13,000 allegations of abuse in a single year, with fewer than five percent being referred to law enforcement.


Howard Troxler, Tampa Bay Times. For hard-hitting opinionated columns to his laugh-out-loud column on what would have happened if there had been online commenting on the Declaration of Independence.


The staff of The Joplin Globe. For coverage of the deadliest U.S. tornado in more than 60 years. Despite the situation – nine of the newsroom’s 30 employees lost their homes in the tornado; one staffer was killed – this staff quickly turned to social media to get the word out to victims, their families and the nation.


The staff of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. For employing a variety of online tools and multimedia to add depth to the tremendous reporting on infant mortality in Milwaukee. The addition of a panorama of the neonatal intensive care unit. video clips and stories, interactive graphics, photo galleries and a timeline gave readers a better understanding of the issue.


Craig Walker, The Denver Post. For photographs depicting Brian Scott Ostrom, a 27-year-old Marine veteran battling post-traumatic stress disorder.  Walker’s focus on Ostrom showed with clarity and poignancy the invisible costs of war on our military.


Cary Aspinwall, Tulsa World. For a poignant story about Katie Hill, a 16-year-old who always felt that she was a girl trapped inside a boy’s body. Cary’s portrait of Katie showed what it was like to live as a transgender teen in a small Oklahoma town.


Peter Canellos, The Boston Globe. For editorials for The Boston Globe on topics that ran the gamut from Mitt Romney's religion to the broken busing and school-assignment process in the Boston schools.


Sara Ganim, The Patriot-News. For coverage of Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky’s long history of suspected sexual encounters with young boys.

Anthony Cormier and Matthew Doig, Sarasota Herald-Tribune. For their report on law enforcement officers in Florida who remained on the job after being cited for multiple offenses ranging from excessive use of violence, to personal drug and alcohol addiction, to stealing from crime victims.


Shaun McKinnon, The Arizona Republic. For a four-chapter series about the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

The finalists

Batten Medal

  • Michael LaForgia, The Palm Beach Post
  • Marjie Lundstrom, The Sacramento Bee

Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary/Column Writing

  • Steve Lopez , Los Angeles Times
  • Bob Dyer, Akron Beacon Journal

Community Service Photojournalism

  • April Saul, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Lara Solt, The Dallas Morning News

Distinguished Writing Award for Deadline News Reporting

  • Staff, The Arizona Republic
  • Anthony Colarossi, Amy Pavuk, Bianco Prieto and Walter Pacheco, “Casey Anthony Verdict”
  • The Orlando Sentinel
  • Baird Helgeson, Mike Kaszuba, Eric Roper, Rachel Stassenberger, Paul Levy, Mary Lynn Smith, Star Tribune

Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Distinguished Writing on Diversity

  • Betty Reid, The Arizona Republic
  • Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times

Distinguished Writing Award for Editorial Writing

  • Bruce Ramsey, The Seattle Times
  • Christopher Evans, The Plain Dealer
  • Jac Wilder Versteeg, The Palm Beach Post.

Distinguished Writing Award for Local Accountability Reporting

  • Michael Finnegan, Gale Holland, Paul Pringle, Doug Smith, Ben Welsh,  Los Angeles Times.

Distinguished Writing Award for Nondeadline Writing

  • Lane DeGregory, Tampa Bay Times
  • Melissa Dribben, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Online Storytelling

  • Lynda Mapes, Steve Ringman, Genevieve Alvarez, The Seattle Times
  • Suzette Hackney, Romain Blanquart, Kristi Tanner, Kathy Kieliszewski, Detroit Free Press
  • Alan Zarembo, Francine Orr, Stephanie Ferrell, Armand Emamdjomeh, Anthony Pesce, Los Angeles Times

Cary Aspinwall of Tulsa World will receive $2,500 for winning the Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Distinguished Writing on Diversity. Funding for the award is provided by the Freedom Forum, which has partnered with ASNE on many diversity efforts.

Danny Hakim of The New York Times will receive $2,500 for winning the Batten Medal, which honors the memory of revered reporter, editor and newspaper executive James K. Batten. The medal is intended to celebrate the journalistic values Batten stood for: compassion, courage, humanity and a deep concern for the underdog. The award was established and funded by a group of editors from the former Knight Ridder company, and a corporate gift.

Aside from the Batten Medal, which covers work published since 2009, the awards were given for work completed in 2011. All newspapers, news services and news websites in the United States are eligible to enter. Outside the United States, news organizations that are headed by an active member of ASNE are also eligible to participate.

The awards were announced during this year's ASNE convention, which is being held April 2-4 in Washington.

In addition to ASNE President and Awards Board chair Ken Paulson, this year's writing judges were: Debra L. Adams Simmons*, editor, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland; Amanda Bennett, executive editor, Bloomberg News, New York; Brian Brooks, managing editor, Columbia Missourian; Lenore Devore, managing editor, The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.; Terry Eberle, executive editor and vp/content, The News-Press, Fort Myers, Fla.;Timothy Franklin, managing editor, Bloomberg News; Susan Goldberg, executive editor, Bloomberg News, Washington; *Valerie Hoeppner, director of education, Freedom Forum Diversity Institute; Don Hudson, executive editor, The Decatur (AL.) Daily; Martin Kaiser, editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Chris Peck, editor, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis;  Karen Peterson, executive editor, The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash.

*Served as a photo judge as well.

Carolyn Lee, New York, chaired the photojournalism award judging. Three photo experts also joined in the judging: Kenny Irby, senior faculty, Visual Journalism and Diversity, The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Tom Stanford, The Tennessean, Nashville; and Mike Stewart, regional photo editor/South, The AP.

ASNE is a membership organization for leaders of multimedia news organizations and deans and endowed chairs at accredited journalism schools. ASNE focuses primarily on open government and the First Amendment, journalism education, leadership and diversity.

For more information contact Cristal Williams Chancellor, 703-453-1138.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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