Better Newspaper Contest

2014 Award Winners

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

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Page 60 Division 6 Headline Writing/Category 7 First place March gladness; These dummies are smarter than they look; Pickup sales picking up Staff South Bend Tribune Comments: The smarter dummies hed was the one that reeled me in, hook, line and sinker. Pickup sales picking up seemed a little obvious, but it worked for the business story it headlined. Second place Sourdough 101: Starter course; Day cares to bark home about; Bake the season bright Corey McMaken The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) Comments: These headlines were good examples of fun with word play. Made sense for the story and was playful. Third place After 25 years, it's spill the same; Cinemamas; HIP replacement Keith Elchert The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) Comments: Liked the main hed on Exxon Valdez story, but almost discounted the package because the use of "absorbed" in second deck was over the top. Too much. But still liked the original. Best Short Feature Story/Category 8 First place Loving the game he will never see Zak Keefer The Indianapolis Star Comments: Wonderful storytelling and great details. What a remarkable story. Second place Winning by losing – 500 lb. student Vic Ryckaert The Indianapolis Star Comments: This story drew me in immediately. The image of this overweight boy stuck in his desk set the tone. Third place In the name of Jake Vanessa Renderman The Times (Munster) Comments: A compelling story that I wish could have gone higher than third, but two very remarkable stories were in front of it. But it was very well-told. Best Profile Feature/Category 9 First place Teenager works it out Steve Warden The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) Comments: A nicely written and structured story on a sensi- tive subject. The writer captures a teenager's world well, with good use of quotes an description, to produce a story that is inspirational but not saccharine. Second place Turning trash into treasure Joseph S. Pete The Times (Munster) Comments: An interesting, well-researched story on a man who truly found treasure in trash. The writer shows the impact that one man had on an industry. Third place Back in the classroom Thomas B. Langhorne Evansville Courier & Press Comments: Very nice lead, with good descriptive detail. This is an engaging story that takes the reader inside this young woman's world as she explains how she was able to fight her way back from a horrific accident. Loving the game he will never see • March gladness • These dummies are smarter than they look • Pickup sales picking up Staff South Bend Tribune Teenager works it out Zak Keefer The Indianapolis Star It's his passion that pulls him out of bed each morning – 7 a.m. sharp – so he can sit in front of his laptop in Room 125 of the Hale House dormitory and listen while a digitized voice spits out the college basketball news of the day. It's his initiative that has his phone buzzing a few hours later. Who might it be today? Brad Stevens? Rick Pitino? Billy Donovan? So impressive is his catalog of coaching connections it would make even the most sought-after high school recruit envious. And it's that unmistakable ambition, relentless and unabashed, that has Bryce Weiler set to graduate from the University of Evansville in May with a 3.66 GPA, on the dean's list four straight semesters and president of the Sports Management Student Marketing Group. It has him singing the national anthem before men's basketball games, sitting on the bench during them, broadcasting others on the radio. No matter that he holds no official role on the team. No matter that he's never played the sport. No matter that he's never even seen a basketball game. Wait. He can't do that, right? Not when he's been blind since birth, never able to discern what his parents and three younger sisters look like, never able to watch his favorite sport, never able to marvel at the hardwood beneath the players' feet or the competition unfolding upon it. But that's the thing. It stopped being about what Bryce Weiler can't do a long time ago. He wanted to call games on the radio. How, without being able to see the action? Bryce prepares for hours, memorizing the rosters of each team, their statistics and each coach's game plan. He draws on that knowledge to complement what the play- by-play announcer says. He has done this on student radio and a local station. "He blows me away," said his on-air partner Alex Gould. "Ninety percent of the time when we're calling a game, I forget he's blind." He wanted to learn how to shoot a basketball. So he asked one of the Evansville assistant coaches to stand underneath the net and clap once, the echo allowing Bryce to navigate where the basket was. Friends say he shoots 70 percent from the foul line. He wants to work in sports. So a few years ago, For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Steve Warden The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) Salem Albayyari finds an unattended treadmill inside the bustling Parkview YMCA, inserts his ear buds, cranks up Kanye West and begins a run that will end after 2 1/2 programmed miles. With a sweat broken, he moves across the room to the elliptical machines, and from there to the bench press. Put everything together, including a session with a pair of heavy ropes, and it's an intense but typical afternoon workout for the 17-year-old Northrop High School senior whose journey to this moment has been far from typical. Wearing his black shirt and long blue shorts, and Kim Kardashian's latest conquest rapping in his ears, the kid certainly looks normal; a jogging picture of health; a young man and his music. But you should've seen the picture two years ago, to this very day. "It was on Jan. 14, 2012, when I clocked in at that," Albayyari says. "That" refers to a previous weight of 274 pounds – 94 more than the 180 he's at now. The 274 was not just his highest weight; it was also his lowest emotional point. So on that January day precisely, Albayyari, the personable, chubby kid who was the victim of too many fat jokes in middle school, then at Northrop, took the first step on quite possibly one of those many treadmills inside the Parkview Y. Early into his teens, wearing a yellow T-shirt a size or two too small, Albayyari takes a selfie picture into a mirror that reflects the bright flash. His face, round and full, shows a jokester with his tongue hanging out. Turns out he was lying into the mirror, even then. "I felt like a slob," he says. "I always made up excuses. I was never happy. I always seemed happy, but I really wasn't. I'd always put on fake smile 'cause I knew. "I was wearing size XXL. I would wear Hollister stuff. Everybody in eighth grade used to wear that, and I always wanted to wear it, so I'd buy the biggest shirt size, and I'd stretch it out to where it would fit, but it really didn't fit. But I'd wear it. Looking back, it was awful. It was the worst thing I could wear. It just made my stomach bulge out. I always wanted to fit in with the skinny people; the fit people, y'know." He had had enough. Simple as that, Albayyari says. He said he got out of the shower, looked at his stomach and "teared up." Albayyari had felt these pangs of guilt before. Many times he promised himself he would lose weight. Swore it. Vowed it. At least two times, maybe three, he promised his parents, who kept buying him a YMCA membership, only to have it go unused. For complete story, see Click on "Contests."

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