Better Newspaper Contest

2014 Award Winners

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

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Page 60 of 67

Page 61 Division 6 Best In-Depth Feature or Feature Package/Category 10 First place Homeless in Evansville Jessie Higgins Evansville Courier & Press Comments: This entry shows what a paper can do by com- bining in-depth reporting with writing to tell a story that mat- ters to the community and the people who live there. Second place What's killing the region? Marc Chase The Times (Munster) Comments: Another example of a paper showing leadership – in a sense – to help readers. Third place 'A Christmas Story' Joseph S. Pete The Times (Munster) Comments: A fun story, one that readers enjoyed and talked about. Best Sports Event Coverage/Category 11 First place Carmel swimming state title Phil Richards The Indianapolis Star Comments: Great imagery sets the stage for this piece with swimmers "still dripping" from the pool and the contrasting descriptions of Hawaii and the Indiana cornfields. But what sets this story apart is the research and intimate knowledge of the team. The reporter captured the feel of the event, but he also stitched together context, personalities, and a legacy that show why the story matters. Second place Pacer Insider: Paul George Candace Buckner The Indianapolis Star Comments: "Play with power, wisdom, courage, bravery, will. Be a leader," becomes the mantra for not only Paul George in this piece, but creates this story's rhythm. The reporter deftly draws readers into George's world and how his drive shapes the team's future. Third place Bulldogs, at the buzzer Daniel Allar Evansville Courier & Press Comments: Good play-by-play descriptions make the reader feel as if they are cheering from the sidelines. Best Sports News or Feature Coverage Category 12 First place Day that rocked Butler Zak Keefer The Indianapolis Star Comments: Excellent pacing and structure. Fly-on-the-wall perspective gives story a sense of unfolding in real time. Writer's eye for detail is evident. Story takes a familiar event, peels away the layers and presents it in a way that feels fresh. Second place NIX's future comes with a big smile Eric Hansen South Bend Tribune Comments: Subject's personality comes through clearly in this profile. Writer didn't cut corners in compiling sources, and it shows. Story's focus wanders at times, and long quotes could be paraphrased to improve flow. Overall, very good writing and reporting. Third place Doing it his way Candace Buckner The Indianapolis Star Comments: Writer does an excellent job going beyond subject's public persona. Trust between writer and subject is evident, which gives story a sense of authenticity. Phras- ing and sentence structure detract from flow in a few places. Additional sources could have expanded profile's depth, but writer still presents a revealing picture of her subject. Jessie Higgins Evansville Courier & Press If Carlysa had more strength, she would have trashed this place. "Do you understand what you're doing?" she asked the social worker. "Everywhere else is full. You are forcing me out on a park bench somewhere." Carlysa Yourgans clutched the eviction notice so tightly her entire arm twitched. She was homeless. In the weeks and months that followed, she became one of the weary looking people who wander around Downtown Evansville. They line up for free meals at soup kitchens, sleep in the chairs at the Central Library and converge on shelters hoping for a bed. They have lost everything. Carlysa lost everything long before the evening of May 19 when she stood crying in her Lucas Place apartment, clutching that eviction notice. She thought she would move into that apartment and get it all back – housing, income, her children. Like most of Carlysa's plans, it didn't turn out that way. "I keep hoping something will work out right eventually," she wailed, angry tears streaming down her face. Carlysa rifled through her pill supply for a prescription pain killer. She sat down in her rocking chair and cried. It wasn't supposed to be like this. The 45-year-old had devoted most of her adult life to being a stay-at-home mom to her five children in Jasper, Ind. But over the years, serious problems took root in her marriage. "He left and never came back," she said of her husband's 2011 departure. "I thought, 'At some point, he's going to realize what a mess he's made and come back.' " The divorce proceedings went by in a blur. Carlysa was awarded custody of her four minor children (her oldest was grown) and $375 a week in child support, and was told to get a job. Homeless in Evansville For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Phil Richards The Indianapolis Star One might reasonably expect this sort of sustained supremacy from a high school swimming team in Honolulu, a lush, green speck in the vast blue reaches of the Pacific Ocean ... but not from Carmel High School, whose 23-lane natatorium is an oasis in the Indiana cornfields. No matter. These girls can swim. Carmel splashed to its 28th consecutive Indiana high school swimming championship Saturday amid ear-splitting shrieks in the echo chamber that is the Natatorium at IUPUI. The Greyhounds scored 399 points to leave second-place Crown Point (209) and the rest of the field bobbing in their wake. Carmel now stands a single title shy of the national high school all- sports record owned by the boys of Punahou High School in Honolulu (Barack Obama's alma mater), 1958- 86. Carmel started with a splash, winning the first two events, and ended with one. "Our motto is 'FTT: For The Team,'" Greyhounds coach Chris Plumb said moments before his girls heaved him into the pool. "We qualified 27 swimmers and one diver. All 28 scored and it was our 28th straight championship. "It think it's destiny, don't you?" Who's to argue? The championship was Plumb's ninth as coach. That tied him with Tony Young (1992-2000) for the most in program history. Fishers took third with 203 points, followed by Penn with 166 and Zionsville with 137. Nine state records were set Saturday, equaling the state finals record total of 1978. Carmel set six of them, and in all six cases, the records the Greyhounds broke were their own. Junior Amy Bilquist and sensational sophomore Claire Adams had a hand in four apiece. Bilquist's included the Greyhounds' run hits No. 28 The day that rocked Butler For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Zak Keefer The Indianapolis Star Brandon Gaudin sat in the front seat of his car, which sat in the parking lot of a Michaels arts and crafts store, which sat in the sweltering heat of the Fort Worth, Texas, summer. His air conditioning hummed while his emotions raced. An email had just flashed across his smartphone. "STEVENS HIRED BY CELTICS" read the subject line. In town visiting family, Gaudin, the radio voice of the Butler basketball team, had stopped by Michaels to pick up a Father's Day gift. Now, that would have to wait. This had to be a joke... Surely, he would've heard about the coach leaving before a news release popped up on his phone. Wouldn't he? Frantic, he fired off a text message to Josh Rattray, the Butler sports information assistant who'd sent the email out moments earlier. "Haha," Gaudin wrote. "That's funny." • • • Six hundred miles north of the Michaels parking lot, Roosevelt Jones lay flat on his back in a tattoo parlor in St. Louis. He was getting some new ink: a pair of wings covering his chest. A text message rolled in. "Call me ASAP," it read. It was from Brad Stevens. But Jones, at that point Butler's top returning player for the coming season, couldn't call anyone – not until the tattoo was finished. While the needle stung his skin, his mind scattered in anticipation. What could this be about? A half-hour later, he called his coach. Stevens spoke slowly, his carefully chosen words laced with torment. "I'm not going to be your coach next season," he began. Jones stopped him. For complete story, see Click on "Contests."

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