Better Newspaper Contest

2013 Award Winners

Hoosier State Press Association - The Indiana Publisher - Better Newspaper Contest

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Page 30 of 67

Division 3 Best News Coverage Under Deadline Pressure/Category 1 First place ISTEP crashes Dan Davis The Tribune (Seymour) Comments: Solid, next-day coverage of a story that some may not consider as 'breaking news." Good use of sources and sidebars to explain situation and impact for all involved. Second place Downtown fire rousts residents Staff The News-Banner (Bluffton) Comments: Newspaper office's proximity to fire aided greatly in coverage. Good use of multimedia to relay story. In print, sidebar went beyond basics. Third place Drum, Bugle Corps suspended Grace Stamper & Lisa Brinker Peru Tribune Comments: Nice gathering of facts from local and distant sources. Best News Coverage With No Deadline Pressure/Category 2 First place On the inside Jessica Williams The News-Banner (Bluffton) Comments: Great imagery. I actually felt like I was walking into the prison with the writer. Second place Deadly heat Aubrey Woods & Dan Davis The Tribune (Seymour) Comments: None given Third place Law blocks firefighting tradition Matt Getts The Star (Auburn) Comments: None given General category comments: This was one of the most difficult contests I have ever judged. There were so many wonderful stories on a wide variety of interesting topics. All these newspapers should be proud of their writers. Best Ongoing News Coverage/Category 3 First place Franklin County auditor troubles James Sprague Connersville News-Examiner Comments: Due diligence done well. Work represents what newspapers can do best. Staff obviously cares about community and uses newspaper's resources to improve it. Second place Body found in Whitley County Nicole Ott Columbia City Post & Mail Comments: Well-written. Quotes from sources used very effectively. Each story had punch to keep reader engaged to find out what next. Third place Board says no to ban on CAFOs Steve Garbacz The Commercial Review (Portland) Comments: With these stories the newspaper played pivotal role in guiding county's citizens to reasonable compromise on issue that is environmentally challenging yet economically vital to community. General category comments: All excellent entries. Choices difficult. Four not considered for lack of accompanying summary statement. ISTEP crashes By Dan Davis The Tribune (Seymour) About 27,000 Hoosier students taking online ISTEP+ exams Monday found themselves repeatedly kicked out of the test or locked out entirely, local and state school officials said. Some districts in the state suspended testing for the day while others, including Browntown Central and Seymour Community Schools, plugged away. A spokesman for the Indiana Department of Education said the vendor – CTB McGraw Hill of Carol Stream, Ill. – expected to resolve what was described as a server issue in time for testing to resume this morning. If schools have trouble rescheduling students and completing the test, the education department may extend the prescribed 10-day time frame, spokesman Daniel Altman said Monday afternoon. The company, which has a four-year, $95 million contract for the testing, assured state education officials that students' answers were being logged properly and secured, Altman added. Crothersville Community Schools Superintendent Terry Goodin, however, said parents and educators alike should ask whether those scores are properly recorded and what kind of effect the interruptions could have for children. "It would have a huge impact on the students," Goodin said of the On the inside By Jessica Williams The News-Banner (Bluffton) Fredrick Baer showed off his pet cat to visitors Tuesday morning, allowing his feline to be pet on the chin and behind its ears. Baer, sporting a buzzcut haircut for the summer, is quiet as he holds up his pudgy grayish brown cat. He shares his love for the little "creature," promising he'd never do anything to hurt it. Baer, 41, could be the next individual to be executed in Indiana. He was convicted of the two 2004 murders of a Lapel area mother and her 4-yearold daughter and has been on death row since 2005. He is one of 11 men at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City on "X Row," with the most recent inmate, Kevin Isom, sentenced to death earlier this year. An appeal is pending in the Indiana Supreme Court, but Baer said earlier this year he is considering dropping it. The method of execution – which is done on the Indiana State Prison campus – has been lethal injection since 1996. Between 1897 and 2010, 94 people have been executed in Indiana, according to the prison's 150th anniversary brochure online, with the most recent in December 2009. It's estimated 80 percent of the felons in the state prison have committed a violent crime against another person. The prison, built in 1860 to hold Civil War prisoners, is a maximum security facility on 100 acres in LaPorte County, just off of Lake Michigan. Infamous bank robber interruptions. "These kids know this is high-stakes testing. All of a sudden there's a problem, and some kids will go into panic mode. It just destroys their testtaking abilities." Cortland Elementary School Principal Diane Altemeyer said that's a valid concern. She also is the district test coordinator for Seymour Community Schools. "We're still waiting for guidance on the validity of test interruptions, what with the flow of the test and concentration levels," Altemeyer said. Brian Rodman, technical services manager for Seymour schools, said For complete story, see Click on "Contests." and native Hoosier John Dillinger served time at the prison in the 1920s and early 1930s; later a group of his friends escaped from the same facility, according to the FBI. Of the acreage, 24 make up the actual prison compound with 53 buildings. There is also a minimum security facility onsite known as Lakeside. There are 10 gun towers, which are manned 24/7, on the 40-foot-high perimeter wall, the last 10 feet of which is razor wire. For this wall the prison earned its reputation for being a "city within a city." Population of that city: 2,000 of Indiana's most violent felons. "Always remember you For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Franklin County auditor troubles By James Sprague Connersville News-Examiner The situation of an oftenabsent local government official who has been asked to resign has become more tangled. Last month, Franklin County Commissioners and the head of the county's Republican Party called for the resignation of auditor Erica Hudson – elected in 2010 – alleging neglect of her office due to her excessive absences from work since the beginning of the summer. Despite her absences from the auditor's office, the summer appears to have been busy for Hudson, involving losing a civil suit brought against her by a credit bureau in Fayete County, domestic issues with her ex-husband, being seen around the area partying and reportedly having cancer. The News-Examiner has been unable to find her to speak with her, however. Commissioners have attributed a $4,000 fine from the Internal Revenue Service to her. The county received a notice of erroneous payroll tax deduction paperwork. Hudson had instructed her deputies in the auditor's office to leave her mail unopened on her desk while she is out of the office. The IRS notice of the error sat on Hudson's desk unopened for three weeks and so it had not been corrected and returned to the IRS, resulting in the fine. Commissioners plan to recover the fine from Hudson. Hudson, 24, has also not had contact with her office and can't be reached by phone, according to commissioners, leaving For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Page 31

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