Better Newspaper Contest

2014 Award Winners

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

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Page 49 of 67

Page 50 Best General Commentary/Category 4 First place Thomas St. Myer The Star Press (Muncie) Comments: St. Myer showed courage in detailing his dad's deteriorating condition due to MS. He shared tough moments such as fighting back tears when he saw his hero lying helplessly on the bathroom floor and the guilt from not doing more to help his mom. He humbly admits he is not the knight in shining armor he hoped to be and instead struggles to find the right words to say to his parents. His honesty creates a connection with readers and offers a small window into his heartbreak and into the lives of all those struggling with MS. His other work shows a similar connection that draws read- ers into his world. Second place Rob Burgess Kokomo Tribune Comments: House of Burgess takes aim at censorship particularly Purdue president's quest to eliminate "A People's History of the United States" for credit. Burgess doesn't let President Mitch Daniels off the hook about his stance with repeated attempts to contact him and including his deflec- tions. Burgess then launches a book club on Twitter where he reads one chapter of the book each day and discusses it online at #zinnbookclub. It's a creative and digitally savvy way to reach beyond his local readers and pull a global audi- ence into the discussion. Third place Dave Bangert Journal & Courier (Lafayette) Comments: Dave Bangert tells the touching story of Nicole Jackson, a senior with Down syndrome who was elected homecoming queen at Frankfort High School. If the story were not enough to steal readers' hearts, the video clinched it. A beaming Jackson still wears her crown as the homecom- ing princesses tell her story. Footage from her coronation captures sheer joy of moment. Best Editorial Writer/Category 5 First place Mark Bennett Tribune-Star (Terre Haute) Comments: Strong and authoritative commentary of local relevance that invites reader comment. Second place Merv Hendricks Tribune-Star (Terre Haute) Comments: Clear and well-justified position on locally relevant issues. Third place Max Jones Tribune-Star (Terre Haute) Comments: A strong forum for community involvement, inspired by a clear editorial voice. Best Business/Economic News Coverage/ Category 6 First place Cummins/Nissan partnership Randy McClain & Boris Ladwig The Republic (Columbus) Comments: Great teamwork on a big local story. The pack- age answers readers' questions about a development that will affect many of their lives, examining many aspects of an economic development coup without cheerleading. Second place All eyes on the price Scott Smith Kokomo Tribune Comments: The auction is a fascinating story in itself, but the story uses it to open window through which readers can learn about the condition of the local agricultural economy. A nice mix of human interest and business reporting. Third place Factory or farm? Mark Webber The Republic (Columbus) Comments: The story does a good job of outlining residents' concerns about a big pork production facility, and puts the proposal in helpful context. Division 5 Thomas St. Myer The Star Press (Muncie) I always ask the question even though I already know the answer. Every time I see my dad, James St. Myer, I ask, "How are you feeling?" His answer is always the same, and yet it is always jarring. "I'm getting worse, but that's what the doctors told me would happen," he says. Without fail, he then says, "It could be a lot worse. I go for my treatments and I see people in there dying of cancer." Yes, it could be worse. He's right. But it's hard for me to accept that. See, my dad has primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). He was diagnosed in 2003. It's severe, and there's no cure. The disease has crippled him physically. He is relegated to a wheelchair. He can only take a step or two before he falls, and my mom has to call EMTs to come and pick him up. My mom called me once to help her get him in his wheelchair after he fell in a bathroom they invested thousands of dollars in to make handicap accessible. I nearly bawled my eyes out at the sight of him lying there helplessly. I literally had to bite my lip to hold back the tears. The next fall could be his last. That's a thought I can't shake. I despise MS. I despise it with every fiber of my being for what it's done to a man I idolized long before I understood what that word meant. My dad isn't my biological father, but he's my dad in every way that counts. He adopted me at age 2 and raised me as his own, even though I'm the spitting image of my biological father, a man he loathes. My dad's a former police officer that taught me the difference between right and wrong, who gave me every opportunity possible to succeed. He was the best man at my wedding, and that was Mark Bennett Tribune-Star (Terre Haute) A kid outside the popular clique impresses so many classmates – especially those belittled by the in-crowd – that she wins the election for class president. Irked by her encroachment into their hallway hierarchy, the preppies shun her. They snub her idea for school spirit rallies. They plan their own homecoming bonfire to compete with the traditional one she'll preside over. She arranges a wear-our-school- colors day for Fridays; they wear them on Thursdays. You have to wonder how a school principal or counselor would handle such behavior. What word would they use to describe such disrespect? Someone within the leadership of the majority party ruling Indiana government should step up and be the metaphorical football team captain who breaks ranks with the clique and shows up at the class president's bonfire. A Republican in a power position at the Statehouse should stand beside Glenda Ritz and affirm her authority to perform the duties of state superintendent of public instruction – the full duties of that job, just as an overwhelming number of Hoosiers elected her to do last November. Since taking office in January, Ritz has seen her office's powers usurped and circumvented by an ideological circle ruling Indiana government still stung by her surprising electoral defeat of Republican former state superintendent Tony Bennett. Though Ritz was a lifelong Republican, the veteran teacher ran as a Democrat to challenge Bennett, a national star of the school-reform movement. Though outspent by a 10-to-1 margin, Ritz received more than 1.3 million votes. Ritz polled more votes for superintendent than Mike Pence, a former Republican congressman, did in his narrow victory in the governor's race. The most powerful of Bennett's allies have yet MS can't take away his dad's sense of humor Cummins/Nissan partnership Bullying of Ritz must stop For complete story, see Click on "Contests." For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Randy McClain & Boris Ladwig The Republic (Columbus) Cummins plans to build a new light-duty diesel engine in Columbus, starting with a new global partner, Nissan, which will use the product in its next-generation Titan pickup. Cummins already has begun to add employees but will ramp up production next year, ultimately hoping to add as many as 500 jobs, more than doubling Columbus Engine Plant's current workforce of 300. The company said it will deliver the first new engines in the fourth quarter of 2014 to customers who will use the engine to power commercial vehicles, including buses, vans and light trucks. Cummins and Nissan formed the partnership to allow both companies to make inroads into the light- duty pickup market's diesel segment, in which they currently have no product. The 5-liter V8 engine would have an output of more than 300 horsepower and at least 500 pound- feet of torque, according to Cummins. In comparison, the 6.7- liter medium-duty engine Cummins makes for the Ram trucks generates in excess of 350 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Linebarger said Tuesday that some consumers have shied away from larger diesel trucks because of the higher price and because they do not need the power, he said. Cummins believes, however, that a segment of the truck-buying population will opt for a lighter diesel- powered truck because of the better reliability and fuel economy. Linebarger said that the new engine will provide dependability and a balance For complete story, see Click on "Contests."

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