Better Newspaper Contest

2013 Award Winners

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

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Page 57 of 67

Division 6 Best News Coverage Under Deadline Pressure/Category 1 First place Alleged rapist should have been in jail Vic Ryckaert & Alex Campbell The Indianapolis Star Comments: Very thorough journey through the labyrinth of the legal system to reveal the truth about a needless tragedy. Nothing flashy here, just solid, painstaking reporting on deadline. Second place Enforcing civility or blocking dissent? Jon Murray & Chris Sikich The Indianapolis Star Comments: Well-sourced, balanced reporting on a story that has broad appeal in this age of social media. Third place Gunman killed by police Jeff Wiehe The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) Comments: Present-tense approach was unexpected and the identity of the deceased should have been much higher, but I give the reporter kudos for detail and narrative. Imminently readable account of a tragic event. Best News Coverage With No Deadline Pressure/Category 2 First place Ethics questions arise over I-69 land deals Ryan Sabalow & Tim Evans The Indianapolis Star Comments: This was a very difficult category to judge based on the number of great entries, all of which were solid examples of watchdog journalism. While no entry really stood out head and shoulders above the rest, I chose this one for first because it did the best job of identifying a problem with public officials abusing public trust, calling attention to it and getting results to rectify the matter after it was exposed. Second place Investigating the hoax Margaret Fosmoe & Erin Blasko South Bend Tribune Comments: A great breakdown on a bizarre story that grabbed headlines from coast to coast. Third place Who's king of your castle? Thomas B. Langhorne Evansville Courier & Press Comments: This was a well-executed effort to explain an important issue that many homeowners probably do not pay attention to. Best Ongoing News Coverage/Category 3 First place Project hitting new turbulence Keith Benman The Times (Munster) Comments: Excellent job of slicing and dicing very complicated numbers, something more of us wish we did well. Your community got a real look at what is happening. Second place Richmond Hill explosion Staff The Indianapolis Star Comments: Great enterprise work, great leg work with a tragedy that affected a lot of people. Good job in finding them to tell their own stories. Third place One winning entry disqualified. No award given. General category comments: One of the best set of contest entries I've judged in quite a while. You are doing very worthwhile work – some on broad topics, others on very personal levels. You all should be proud of the fine journalism displayed in all these entries. Page 58 Alleged rapist should have been in jail By Vic Ryckaert & Alex Campbell The Indianapolis Star Det. Dan Smith knew that prosecutors had decided an assault case against convicted rapist Shawn Corbally had fallen apart. He knew that in a matter of hours Corbally would be released from Marion County jail. But he also knew there just might be a way to keep Corbally locked up. It all hinged on a seemingly innocuous detail. Corbally had told police he lived in Indianapolis. Corbally was a sex offender, but he was currently registered in Clinton County. He needed to register in Marion County within 72 hours of moving to Indianapolis. Not doing so would be a felony for failing to register as a sex offender, and a probation violation a scenario that would have kept him in jail and then likely sent him back to prison for potentially five years. So, Smith hurried over to talk to deputies in the Marion County Sheriff's sex offender compliance unit. Sheriff's Deputy Michael Stevenson was dispatched to the address Corbally had given. It was his mom's home. Stevenson reported back that she told him her son had been living there for a month. She even signed a witness verification form. Stevenson seemed to sense the moment. He fired off an email to his supervisor, Lt. Bob Hanna and Richard Veen in the Marion County prosecutor's office, seeking guidance on how to proceed. "When I file for failing to register," he asked, "what time frame do you want me to use? Just let me know." "What time frame?" That question mattered. If it was believed Corbally had been living here for longer than 72 hours, he was already out of compliance. If not, they would wait 72 hours after he was released to see if he re-registered, and then try to obtain a warrant for his arrest. Marion County Sheriff's officials initially agreed to release the ensuing email exchange between Stevenson and Veen, but then declined. Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Col. Louis Dezelan said ultimately it was decided to For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Ethics questions arise over I-69 land deals By Ryan Sabalow & Tim Evans The Indianapolis Star Troy Woodruff had more than one interest in the sale of property along the proposed route for I-69 through Southern Indiana. Woodruff was a top official at the Indiana Department of Transportation – the agency purchasing the property. And he and his family owned land right in the freeway's path. Yet Woodruff never disclosed to state ethics officials his or his family's dealings with INDOT. Instead, they engaged in a series of deals that ultimately yielded an 83 percent gain on a piece of land Woodruff owned with his father and brother – a scenario that an array of taxpayer advocates, government watchdogs and legal experts say raises concerns. "The facts raise enough serious questions to where a formal ethics investigation seems to be in order," said Aaron Smith, founder of the taxpayer advocacy group Watchdog Indiana. or his family. "I had no involvement whatsoever with property purchases on I-69," he said, "other than the parcel I owned with my brother and father." And he said an investigation has already cleared him. Woodruff said he stands behind a report compiled in 2010 by the Inspector General, the state's top ethics policeman, who found no wrongdoing in a land sale he made with the state. The office of former Gov. Mitch Daniels concurred. An Indianapolis Woodruff, a former state lawmaker who oversaw 500 employees at the INDOT district through which I-69 passed, said he didn't use For complete story, see his influence or political connections to enrich himself Click on "Contests." Project hitting new turbulence By Keith Benman The Times (Munster) Less than one year from its completion deadline, the Gary/Chicago International Airport is scrambling to fill the last financial potholes in its $166 million expansion project. • In its latest financial road map drawn up in October, the airport plans to use its taxpayer-funded Airport Development Zone to secure up to $49.8 million. That is far more than in earlier plans. • This week, the airport authority is expected to vote on a contract that will allow it to tap a $30 million grant from the Northwest Indiana Development Authority, which has been on hold for a year-and-a-half. • Last week, in a move to head off any cashflow problems and keep contractors on the job, the airport authority at its Monday meeting extended the deadline for repaying a $12 million loan it pulled from the Airport Development Zone in June. "With this shortfall we have, we are trying to get some cash," said Airport Authority President Nathaniel Williams after the authority's meeting. Williams also revealed that although the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority approved a grant of $30 million for the airport expansion 17 months ago, the airport has not yet seen a dime of that money. "I don't know what's going on on their side," Williams said when asked why the RDA money was not forthcoming. "But we are hoping we can finalize this piece, so we can get those dollars and pay our bills and transfer the $12 million back to the Airport Development Zone." The RDA's side The $30 million the RDA board of directors approved for the project in May 2011 was held up while the agency For complete story, see Click on "Contests."

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