Better Newspaper Contest

2013 Award Winners

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

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Division 6 Best General Commentary/Category 4 First place Frank Gray The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) Comments: Finding good stories and telling them in a compelling narrative gets to the heart of good commentary. Congratulations! Second place Jerry Davich Post-Tribune (Merrillville) Comments: Powerful writing, strong topics made this entry strong. Third place Tim Ethridge Evansville Courier & Press Comments: This writer has impeccable tone throughout his writing. Doesn't take himself too seriously, but certainly respects his readers. Nice job. General category comments: Indiana readers are lucky to have some very strong commentary writers working at their newspapers. Strong category that put the spotlight on great writing and compelling stories. Best Editorial Writer/Category 5 First place Stacey Stumpf The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) Comments: This newspaper was an obvious winner in this category. Excellent writing. Second place Karen Francisco The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) Comments: Nice job all around. A coin-flip could have settled first and second in this category. It was that close. How marvelous to have such depth of writing talent at one paper. Third place Doug Ross The Times (Munster) Comments: Prayer editorial required courage. General category comments: The Journal Gazette's consistent formula of mixing strong writing, good topic selection and innovative presentations made their work the obvious winner in this strong category. Best Business/Economic News Coverage/ Category 6 First place Plant workers in 'dangerous territory' Tony Cook The Indianapolis Star Comments: Hard-hitting story that is the product of gumshoe journalism. The story reflects the reporter's solid efforts to go after the news and draw attention to an important issue. Second place Ex-Navistar staff say aid slow going Sherry Slater The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) Comments: This story has a powerful human connection that does a good job in projecting the frustration a lot of people experience after the loss of jobs. Plenty of good can come from any street By Frank Gray The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) Last week, an article appeared on Sunday's front page about a 12-year-old boy who had gunned down a man on the street one night and killed him. That boy is now 26 and has been released from prison. As a boy, he lived on East Lewis Street, the story noted, a place at the time known mostly for its drug activity. So it came as little surprise, some said, that the boy turned out the way he did. That comment prompted a call from one woman, Debra Butler, who lived across the street from the man we wrote about. She still lives in the same place. Over the course of a couple of conversations, she acknowledged that East Lewis Street wasn't a garden spot. She talked about when she was younger and lived nearby and how she would see prostitutes and heroin addicts in the area. And yes, in the early 1990s, crack arrived, delivered by gangs. There were drugs and killers on East Lewis Street – young killers, in some cases, dared to or bullied into committing violent crimes, and yes, they ended up in prison. Butler had a point to make, though. Just three months before that story on the 12- year-old killer appeared in the paper, neighborhood residents had pitched in and bought a banner to put in Butler's yard. It was a congratulatory banner, marking the day that Butler's daughter, Emmary, 27, just a year older than the killer we wrote about, had graduated from medical school at Indiana University. Her point was this: Just because you live in a place like East Lewis Street doesn't mean you don't have a chance, that you are destined for disaster. I talked to Butler about her family. She had five children. Her marriage was a disaster, she said, and she had raised her children by herself. But she used what she called For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Abstention habit one worth ending By Stacey Stumpf The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) City Council members who abstain from voting when they don't have a conflict of interest are shirking their duty to the constituents they represent. The rising number of abstentions from some council members is an indication they would rather demur than take a public stance on the difficult decisions they were elected to make. As Dan Stockman's Sunday story explained, the once-rare practice of abstaining from a vote has turned into a routine occurrence at Fort Wayne City Council meetings. City records show there have been 38 abstentions in the past three years. Council members are also, increasingly, not sharing their reasons for abstaining. But as Nancy Sylvester, an Illinois-based parliamentary procedure expert, explained, elected officials have a particular responsibility to cast a vote on all issues. The only time an abstention is appropriate is when the council member has a conflict of interest. Mitch Harper, R-4th, has by far the most abstentions at 15. And he frequently gives no explanation for his abstentions. More often than not, council members are given ample opportunity to explain their votes. Councilman Marty Bender, R-at large, comes in at second with eight abstentions, but as a deputy police chief, he abstains from any vote involving public safety or city employee benefits to avoid a conflict of interest. Former councilman Tim Pape, a local attorney, Plant workers in 'dangerous territory' By Tony Cook The Indianapolis Star When officials from Sensient Flavors explain their work, they sometimes compare it to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. But working at the food and beverage flavor manufacturer on Indianapolis' Southwestside is no child fantasy. In fact, health experts say, there are serious concerns about the health of employees. Some workers were exposed to more than 400 times the generally recognized safe level for a chemical associated with a life-threatening lung condition, according to documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star. The chemical, diacetyl, generally is used in butter flavorings for microwave popcorn and other foods. In other cases, workers were exposed to 10 times the permissible limit on hydrogen sulfide, a heavy gas that can cause shock, convulsions, inability to breathe, coma and even death. abstained seven times during the same time period. All of his abstentions were because of conflicts of interest, which he explained when abstaining. Russ Jehl, R-2nd, has abstained four times in his first year of service on the council. And not always because he has a conflict of interest, but because he did not fully support the proposal under consideration. In the future, council members should abstain from voting only to avoid a conflict of interest. And they should always give a clear and concise – with a particular emphasis on the word "concise" – explanation for the abstention. Otherwise, if a council For complete story, see Click on "Contests." The high levels of exposure at the plant are documented in safety orders recently issued by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "When you get up to 10 times the exposure limit, you are getting into dangerous territory," Jeff Carter, IOSHA's deputy commissioner of labor, said of hydrogen sulfide. Experts also expressed concern about the incidents For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Page 59

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