Better Newspaper Contest

2014 Award Winners

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

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Page 31 of 67

Page 32 Best General Commentary/Category 4 First place Jack Ronald The Commercial Review (Portland) Comments: Jack won the coin flip to break my tie between the top two entries. I liked the storytelling approach to his style of writing and his conciseness. Writing was clean. His first piece, "Attendant showed perfect kindness," was a great read and an example of being in the right place at the right time for a story – great detail and observation. Well-done. Second place Matt Getts The Star (Auburn) Comments: Sorry, Matt, you lost the coin flip that broke my tie between the top two entries. Writing was very clean. The "Navigating snowy mine fields" piece was a good example of storytelling. The meth piece was one of the few columns submitted in this category that actually hinted at an opinion. Third place Donna Cronk The Courier-Times (New Castle) Comments: The "Missing Max" piece was one of the best single examples of enjoyable, strong writing in this entire division. It is what earned you an award. "Holding on for dear life" was also fairly solid. What cost you a chance at pos- sibly placing higher was the "Lincoln Funeral Train" piece. It seemed out of place in this category; it was more of a gen- eral feature or profile rather than a column or commentary piece. Best Editorial Writer/Category 5 First place Jack Ronald The Commercial Review (Portland) Comments: These editorials take on tough, complicated local issues and arrive at firm conclusions. Lively writing strength- ens the arguments. Second place Mark Miller The News-Banner (Bluffton) Comments: The editorials provide good examples of a news- paper fulfilling its role as a watchdog of local government. Third place Nate Smith Washington Times-Herald Comments: These editorials provide a helpful explanation of the reasons for insisting on transparency in government, and add a solid dimension of analysis to what might otherwise have been a routine get-to-the-polls comment. Best Business/Economic News Coverage/ Category 6 First place Tax proposal pits local against state; Cities, schools oppose business tax cut proposal; State rep: Tax repeal needs work Boris Ladwig Greensburg Daily News Comments: Extremely well-written and clear explanation on the complexities of taxation. Great job detailing who would suffer, why and by how much. Well-done! Second place Pushing the 'sound barrier' Lindsey Stevens The Reporter-Times (Martinsville) Comments: I LOVED the narrative lede in this story! Sucked me in right from the first word. Great story! Third place SCI REMC settling in Brian Culp The Reporter-Times (Martinsville) Comments: Wonderfully written marriage showing how his- tory and progress can co-mingle. Great job! Division 3 Jack Ronald The Commercial Review (Portland) The plane was late arriving. And passengers were starting to get grouchy. That was understandable. The flight was just a puddle- jumper, one of those little commuter flights that connects Point A to Point B when most of the passengers are flying on to Points C through Z. A delay on the first leg of a holiday weekend journey could turn the trip into a nightmare. But the crew acted quickly to turn things around, and within a few minutes after arrival, the plane was ready to take off to Point B. That helped improve the mood of the passengers. The flight attendant helped even more. A kind of pudgy guy with glasses, he made this trip dozens of times a week, yet he still managed to stay upbeat. And he was funny, turning the routine patter required for airline safety into an amusing, self-deprecating spiel worthy of open mic night at a comedy club. As he walked down the aisle, counting passengers, he stopped whenever he encountered a child. "How old are you?" he would ask. "Seven," might be the answer. Or "10" or "5." No matter, his response was always the same: "Holy cow! Really! Now, are you driving yet? Do you have your license? How about college? Are in you college already?" And soon the kids were giggling and the adults around them were smiling, no longer worried quite so much about making the next flight connection. It didn't matter that two rows later, encountering another kid, the flight attendant would launch into the same routine. It still worked. The kids still giggled, and the adults still smiled. But there was one adult who wasn't smiling at all. Two rows ahead of us, an older woman was miserable. Her hands gripped the armrests firmly. She looked out the window nervously. She was clearly fretting. The flight attendant spotted her right away, and Jack Ronald The Commercial Review (Portland) If Woody Allen was right, what does that say about the Jay County Regional Sewer District board? Allen's been quoted for years as saying that "80 percent of life is showing up." The comedian and film director has also said that represents his greatest life lesson. His point was that if you say you want to be a great novelist or composer or whatever, you first have to "do the thing." You can't be a great novelist if you've never written a novel. You can't be a great composer if you've never composed anything. And you can't be the board governing a regional sewer district if you can't put together a quorum to take basic action. Once again this week, the board came up short. Three members – Don Denney, Ralph Frazee, and Joe Sommers – were present. And a prospective board member – Phil Ford, who was appointed by Dunkirk Mayor Dan Watson – was also on hand. But board members Dwane Ford and Roy Bunch were absent, and there's another seat on the board that needs to be filled. The board's attorney, John Brooke, was also absent. Public service is, admittedly, time consuming and headache inducing. And the regional sewer district is venturing out into controversial territory that's relatively new to local government. Bringing rural homes into local sewer systems is complicated and fraught with tough issues. Those whose properties are affected can feel disenfranchised and resentful since they haven't had much voice in the process. And a case can be made that the rate structures established so far need thorough study and – probably – revision. But this isn't rocket science. It's wastewater treatment, environmental Attendant showed perfect kindness Tax proposal pits local against state Board members need to show up For complete story, see Click on "Contests." For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Boris Ladwig Greensburg Daily News Proposed state legislation that would cut about $1 million dollars in tax revenues from Decatur County schools, cities and towns, has angered local officials, who worry that the cuts will hamper popular services, such as snow removal and busing students to school. Gov. Mike Pence proposed late last year to completely eliminate the tax that businesses pay annually on their personal property, such as metal stamping machines, plastic injection molding machines, cars and other equipment. The tax is assessed essentially on everything that a business owns that would fall out of a building if you turned it upside down. Bills in the Indiana Senate and Indiana House tackle the tax in different ways, but both would eliminate just some of the tax. Proponents of the elimination of the tax say the tax hinders economic growth because it essentially punishes businesses when they invest in new machinery – and in each subsequent year so long as they own the equipment. Most other states either have eliminated the tax or assess it at a lower rate than Indiana. However, the tax brings in about $1 billion annually into the coffers of the state's local governmental units – including counties, cities, towns, townships, sanitation districts and libraries – and city and school officials say that if the state legislature does not find a way to replace the $1 billion, popular local services, on which residents rely daily, will suffer. The proposal has pitted the governor, some state legislators and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce For complete story, see Click on "Contests."

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