Better Newspaper Contest

2013 Award Winners

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

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Page 48 of 67

Division 5 Best News Coverage Under Deadline Pressure/Category 1 First place Record flood Mike Fletcher, Lindsey Ziliak & Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune Comments: Reporters did a good job of covering as many angles as possible. The subject called for lots of local coverage, despite the continuing national news of the Boston bombings stealing headlines. From shelters, to pets and heroics by emergency responders, the stories hit home. Second place Shooting shocks Pendleton Stuart Hirsch The Herald Bulletin (Anderson) Comments: Good story, well-written. Sidebars on the bystander shot and the K-9 dog were especially good reads. Third place Alleged abuse victim jumps to freedom Lisa Trigg Tribune-Star (Terre Haute) Comments: Good job of explaining a horrific story. Police details added much to the overall story. Best News Coverage With No Deadline Pressure/Category 2 First place Injured baby case raises questions Abby Tonsing The Herald-Times (Bloomington) Comments: Dogged reporting, compelling writing. Excellent job seeking answers and holding officials accountable. Second place Annexation: 20 Questions Stuart Hirsch The Herald Bulletin (Anderson) Comments: Reader-friendly presentation, thorough reporting. Outstanding example of explanatory journalism on an important community issue. Third place Muncie loves its guns Staff The Star Press (Muncie) Comments: Comprehensive multimedia package localizing a major national issue. Very readable. Good selection of story angles. Best Ongoing News Coverage/Category 3 First place Teacher evaluations Mikel Livingston Journal & Courier (Lafayette) Comments: The series brought the "big" issue of evaluations into a personal way and made me want to know how these teachers and schools came out. Data also was useful. The writing was crisp and descriptive, too. Great, colorful work. Second place Homelessness in Bloomington Jon Blau The Herald-Times (Bloomington) Comments: Homelessness is a serious subject, which came to a head in Bloomington. The topic deserves continued attention. The writing style was compelling. Third place Reckless disregard Seth Slabaugh The Star Press (Muncie) Comments: What an eye-opener for all your readers. Stay on this topic, make it real, as you did with these, and you will have done your community a great service. Excellent work. General category comments: Fine entries throughout the category. The compelling and lively writing by the winners is one compelling difference to lift them above the others. They also took issues, analyzed data and wove personal stories into them. Most of the other entries surrounded breaking news that continued across several days or months. Hopefully the writers will continue to monitor the status of their issues – most seemed like subjects that will continue and need attention to culmination of some kind. Good work, everybody. Record flood By Mike Fletcher, Lindsey Ziliak & Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune Record flooding in Kokomo kept city officials busy Friday rescuing residents in low-lying areas along the Wildcat Creek after the water way running through Kokomo poured over its banks. As of 2 p.m., the Wildcat Creek reached 18.61 feet, nearly a foot more than it was during the July 4, 2003, flood, which reached 17.75 feet, said Larry Smith, director of the Howard County Emergency Management Agency. The creek is expected to crest tonight. The Kokomo Fire Department rescued dozens of residents from flooded homes and homes surrounded by water. Their efforts were hampered by people stopping to look at the flooding. The flooding also shut down a number of northsouth streets including Main and Union streets and Washington Street at Park Avenue heading downtown. Both Highland and Foster parks were completely under water. The number of actual rescues is unknown since some crews went to rescue one person and saw two or three more who needed help. "We're still in an emergency situation," O'Neill said. "We've had a few basements collapse, one small electrical fire and Duke Energy is pulling meters in structures deemed dangerous," he said. "It's still an ongoing operation. It's been a very taxing day and we're continuing emergency operations. I've worked the last two big floods, and this is significantly more water than in the past." To deal with the number of calls for help, the city set "We've rescued about a dozen people so far," O'Neill said at 4 p.m. For complete story, see Click on "Contests." "We really need people to stay home if they can," said Pat O'Neill, chief of the Kokomo Fire Department. O'Neill sent out a press release at about 2 p.m. after traffic jams impeded emergency workers in their rescue efforts. Injured baby case raises questions By Abby Tonsing The Herald-Times (Bloomington) Reports that a baby girl was being abused by her father had already been made to the Monroe County Department of Child Services. So why, then, did a DCS case worker instruct the infant's parents to find their own transportation and take the child to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis after a head scan at IU Health Bloomington Hospital revealed the baby had a subdural hematoma – a bleeding injury to her brain? That's one of the questions surrounding a March 22 incident that ended in the arrest of the parents after they did not show up with their child at Riley. Bloomington Police Chief Mike Diekhoff also wonders why his department was not notified when the original abuse report was made or when the brain injury was discovered at Bloomington Hospital. He wonders why the injured baby wasn't taken immediately by ambulance to Riley, which would have negated the need for police to search several hours for the baby and her homeless parents. Here's how the incident unfolded, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed by Bloomington Police Detective Randy Gehlhausen in the court case of the parents, John Richard Allen and Heather J. Miller. Tom Irvine, a case worker with child protective services, said his department had received a report of abuse and had been made aware the 4-month-old was having seizures. Based on the reports, local pediatrician Dr. Brechin Newby ordered a head scan for the baby the afternoon of March 22. The infant's parents took her to Bloomington Hospital for the test, which showed the baby had the injury. Irvine and Newby told the parents to take the child to Riley Hospital for Children immediately, given the seriousness of the injury. Irvine instructed the parents to find their own transportation and take their baby to the Indianapolis hospital, 50 miles north of Bloomington. By 9 that night, Allen and Miller had failed to do so. That's when Irvine contacted police, who found the baby and parents several hours later. For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Teacher evaluations By Mikel Livingston Journal & Courier (Lafayette) To the teachers gathered in Tecumseh Junior High School's multipurpose room late last month, Principal Brett Gruetzmacher spoke frankly. "This is going to be quite an undertaking for all of us," Gruetzmacher said. "A learning process for all of us as well. I can assure you even 10 years down the road it will still be a learning process." It was a Friday, the first day for teachers to return before Lafayette School Corp. classes started on Aug. 27, and all 73 of Tecumseh's teachers assembled to hear Gruetzmacher outline the yearlong teacher evaluation process. The 2012-13 school year marks the first time, under a 2011 state law, that teachers will be evaluated annually. They'll be observed, interviewed and judged in a way never before seen in Indiana. As LSC officials hammered out specifics of their evaluation system – a modification of the statedeveloped RISE model – teachers were kept informed. But for many this two- hour staff meeting was the first time they saw some of the tweaks made to the model over the summer. Gruetzmacher and his two assistant principals can't answer all the questions, yet. But they're doing the best they can with the new system, which gives the school's three administrators the following: • Eight school days to conduct 73 half-hour, preconference meetings between Tecumseh's three For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Page 49

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