2014 Winners


Click a category below to access the judges' comments, a video feature about the winners with their acceptance speeches, and their winning entry.


BREAKING NEWS


JUDGES' COMMENTS:"Soon enough, the nation would recognize Ferguson as a major story. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recognized that immediately, swarming the story from the first minute it learned of the shooting of Michael Brown and the unrest it precipitated. Using every resource at its disposal, the Post-Dispatch began reporting the story and telling it, first on social media and by morning in print. A news organization is never tested more thoroughly than when a major story breaks in its backyard. The Post-Dispatch was tested by a story that was fluid, emotional, important and not easily told with clarity and balance. It passed this test with textbook execution. Its reporters and photographers stayed on the streets, with apparent inexhaustible commitment. And its editors and layout team pulled together the results in vivid and compelling packages on day one, day two and beyond.”

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BUSINESS/ECONOMICS REPORTING - William Brewster Styles Award


JUDGES' COMMENTS:“Home care is a big issue that will affect everyone in the United States, and it's an underreported issue. During a two-and-a-half-year investigation, the Columbus Dispatch team overcame bureaucratic obstacles to uncover a home-care system rife with corruption and red tape, and a lack of regulation. The series explained the relationship between patients and care- givers in a poignant and informative way.”

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COMMENTARY


JUDGES' COMMENTS:"Stephen Henderson draws deeply from his own life experiences in analyzing Detroit's problems and possibilities. He knows and cares deeply about his hometown and makes non-Detroiters care, too. His work is easy to read -- and learn from.”

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COMMUNITY JOURNALISM


JUDGES' COMMENTS:“With painstaking and persistent reporting, the team at the Torrance Daily Breeze exposed not only the lucrative pay and benefits package of the Centinela Valley school superintendent, but a web of relationships that cemented his position and perks. Their stories were thorough, well documented, sharply written and carefully edited for context, clarity and completeness. The resulting criminal probes by the FBI and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office underscore the impact of the newsroom’s efforts.”

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DIGITAL INNOVATION


JUDGES' COMMENTS: "The Wall Street Journal made use of a full range of digital tools to offer readers a unique online guided tour of what had been the Kowloon Walled City, once the world’s most densely packed urban community. The judges were struck by how multiple digital techniques were combined to provide readers with a pick-your-own-adventure journey through this crammed enclave, tucked into Hong Kong, where roughly 40,000 people lived literally on top of each other. The result was an immersive, fully interactive experience that relied on video and graphics - not text - that produced a story that was informative and emotionally engaging. A key component was a short documentary, the ‘City of Imagination,’ that became one of the most-watched videos on The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. The entire product was web-and-mobile friendly. All told, the package struck the judges as an example of the future of digital storytelling."

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EDITORIAL WRITING - Walker Stone Award


JUDGES' COMMENTS: “Kathleen Kingsbury’s editorials singled out the under-reported issue of low wages among restaurant workers and the impact that often-subsistence wages have on families, communities and the American economy. She laid bare the outsized impact of the restaurant sector on the U.S. economy, combining investigative reporting with hard-hitting facts and grace of writing. She outlines changes that should be made but doesn’t stop at calling upon the commonwealth to pass new laws. Kingsbury also details personal actions that every customer could take to make restaurant workers’ lives better.”

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ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING - Edward J. Meeman Award


JUDGES' COMMENTS: “The San Jose Mercury News gave front page breaking news treatment to an increasingly familiar background story: vanishing water resources. At a time when many newspapers with shrinking staffs are scrambling to cover important stories, they produced first class coverage on the thirsty elephant in the room, helping Californians to understand and cope with what seems to be a never-ending drought. Marshaling its resources, the newspaper committed talented reporters, writers, photographers and artists to tell in a compelling way a complicated story that many of us may not want to read. The value of this 12-part series over many months was augmented by a collaborative online project at cadrought.com, an ongoing public service, with 39 partner news organizations across the state. They delivered a complicated story that many of us may not want to follow, but inescapably will.”

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FIRST AMENDMENT - Edward Willis Scripps Award


JUDGES' COMMENTS: “The core of the First Amendment is standing up to government, whether it be federal, state or local. Imagine the courage it takes to stand up to the United States Military. Carol Rosenberg’s coverage of the trials at Guantanamo was impeded at every stage by the military and yet she persevered and continues to persevere in informing the world about what the U.S. military and federal government would like to keep secret.”

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HUMAN INTEREST STORYTELLING - Ernie Pyle Award


JUDGES' COMMENTS: “How does a family honor a lost son and brother? How does a family heal from the deep wounds of losing a child in a national tragedy while still healing from their own physical injuries - a lost leg, damaged eardrums, impaired vision? In showing us how the Richard family heals, how they contemplate ‘one less plate at the table’ for Thanksgiving, how they celebrate young Jane’s new prosthetic leg, David Abel helps readers heal from an American tragedy. But Abel’s powerful writing never lets the reader fall into melodrama or sentimentality. It’s truly a tale in the spirit of Ernie Pyle: everyday people facing extraordinary challenges.”

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INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING - Ursula and Gilbert Farfel Prize


JUDGES' COMMENTS: “The Arizona Republic turned the Department of Veterans Affairs upside down with this compelling investigation that uncovered the manipulation of wait-time data taking place within the VA. Its reporting shined a spotlight for a mainstream audience on the deaths of several veterans who were waiting on appointments with VA doctors. It became a story that seemingly every outlet — both big and small, local and global — picked up and moved forward. But no one pursued this story with the hunger for exposing truth and holding officials accountable the way that the Republic did.”

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JOURNALISM & MASS COMMUNICATION ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR - Charles E. Scripps Award


JUDGES' COMMENTS: “Albert Tims doesn’t just talk excellence, but walks the proverbial walk when it comes to developing 21st century media experiences for his students and faculty.”

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JOURNALISM & MASS COMMUNICATION TEACHER OF THE YEAR- Charles E. Scripps Award

Carol Schwalbe from the School of Journalism at The University of Arizona receives the Charles E. Scripps Journalism and Mass Communication Teacher of the Year Award and $10,000.


JUDGES' COMMENTS:“From course design to the execution of a high-quality science journalism program, from grant-writing to promotion of student work, Carol Schwalbe offers students an innovative, creative science journalism education that produces forward-thinking, creative writers.”

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PHOTOJOURNALISM


JUDGES' COMMENTS: “The images bear witness in the most poignant, relevant and revealing storytelling way. Berehulak’s body of work is pure, eye-to-eye impact. He is a visual servant for humanity, teaching us so much about the initial horrors of the Ebola outbreak.”

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PUBLIC SERVICE REPORTING - Roy W. Howard Award


JUDGES' COMMENTS: “It's easy to be swept-up in the exhaustive reporting, damning detail and expert analysis of ‘Fatal Flaws.’ But what mustn't be overlooked is the incisive, emotional quality of every story, headline, graphic, photo and caption of this multi-part, multiplatform masterwork - emotion that effectively conveys the urgency of the subject matter: Thirteen lives lost. Millions of affected consumers. And an auto manufacturing Titan laid low. This is the New York Times at its best. Its expose of serious safety defects at General Motors, Honda and its suppliers, plus its reporting on the neglect by regulators, contributed to the recall of 60 million vehicles. It brought the story home with profiles of the 13 who died in auto-related accidents tied to these defects. Accident photos and explanatory graphics also went a long way toward telling the story in a compelling way. The New York Times reporting exposed what auto makers worked for years to keep hidden from consumers - the frighteningly lax response to serious safety issues. To punctuate the public service, the NYT's gave readers a tool to sift through wave after wave of recalls and search for their own vehicles. This reporting has undoubtedly saved lives and made driving safer.”

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RADIO IN-DEPTH COVERAGE - Jack R. Howard Award


JUDGES' COMMENTS: “’Serial’ broke new ground in engaging an audience in long-form investigative reporting. Sarah Koenig’s journalism and her storytelling made the public stop and just listen. Her ongoing search for the truth, as well as her transparency and humility in the reporting progress, was engrossing and set a new standard for all of us.”

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TELEVISION/CABLE IN-DEPTH LOCAL COVERAGE - Jack R. Howard Award

JUDGES' COMMENTS: “This story produced national results involving the biggest food distributor in North America. District attorneys in 10 California counties opened investigations and the companies settled in an extraordinary $19.4 million settlement. Government inspectors missed the problem. The TV station spent countless hours working undercover for good reasons; this is a public health issue. And there is no question that what the station discovered is both true and accurate.”

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TELEVISION/CABLE IN-DEPTH NATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE - Jack R. Howard Award

JUDGES' COMMENTS: “Correspondent Holly Williams repeatedly risked her life to tell the story of the early emergence of ISIS in Syria and Northern Iraq. At one point she was pinned to the ground by ISIS gunfire, she was less than a mile from ISIS troops. In another instance, Williams was 10 miles from ISIS fighters who were approaching a Christian village in Iraq as the town leaders armed themselves and prepared to be killed. She interviewed ISIS fighters to show that sometimes they are just young boys who joined ISIS purely to save their lives. This early reporting of what is now an international crisis is heroic, farsighted and truly a public service.”

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