2011 Rhode Island Press Association Contest Winners

(Results for the 2010 Rhode Island Press Association Editorial Award Competition. Presented May 6, 2011)

The Rhode Island Press Association is pleased to provide comments from judges for the 2010 Editorial Contest. The winners and comments are provided in place order. Please note that the headlines, flood photos and editorial writing categories were not judged because of a lack of entries. 


News Story
Valley Breeze, Resident: City decimated my tree, squandered my tax dollars Ethan Shorey
Engaging, readable, great quotes, great diligence in attempting to find out information from city officials. Just really well-written, flows easily from start to finish. 
Westerly Sun, CEO has big ideas, Emily Dupuis
The story starts with a great lead and closes well. In between, the writing is clear and efficient. It's an interesting piece, and I like the way the writer gives readers a lot to ponder without trying to answer every question. If I was a subscriber and saw another story by this writer on the subject, I'd read that first.
Providence Journal, Central Falls to fire every high school teacher, Jennifer Jordan
This story caught my interest right away and kept it to the end. I think it did a great job of explaining what happened, and where all the parties are coming from.

 

Spot News Story
Providence Journal, FBI arrests 3 councilors on charges of extortion, Mike Stanton and Mark Reynolds
A classic Rhode Island political story well told! The writers wrote a story, not a report on a crime investigation. "Chicanery," "bilked," "Get outa the way," all great uses of quotes and language to involve the reader. This story is deep with information but also very entertaining. 
Sakonnet Times, Tragedy in Gull Cove, Bruce Burdett and Ted Hayes
What a thorough job on a breaking story and a sensitive treatment of a tragedy. The staff did a favor to its readers by breaking this into an obit/tribute and a crime/investigation story. Very good details that you can only get by going to the scene.
Westerly Sun, Stonington authorities read raptor the riot act, Leslie Rovetti 
This was an unusual eviction story and extremely entertaining! Although the subject matter isn't particularly earth shattering, it doesn't matter. This story does what spot news coverage should – it puts the reader at the scene.

 

Investigative/Analytical News Story or Series
Providence Journal, Boarding up Central Falls: Mayor awards lucrative work to friend Mike Stanton and W. Zachary Malinowski 
Hard-hitting – great perspective. Clear writing. Great work!
Providence Journal, R.I. truants who offend magistrates are sent straight to jail Lynn Arditi
Insightful story, well-written with great examples of cases involving truants.
Bristol Phoenix, Mt, Hope Farm in turmoil, Scott Pickering 
Super reporting. Reporter went the extra mile to get all sides, producing a readable account of how nonprofit needed more transparency.

Business Story
Providence Journal, Rhode Island looks to lure digital media companies with 38 Studios deal Paul Grimaldi and Philip Marcelo
Very well-written, easy to understand, weighed cons and pros of several types of community impact. Good job! 
Rhode Island Monthly, The SexEd Warrior-Queen, Tracey Minkin 
Very well written, interesting story. Very original.
Westerly Sun, Setting a new standard, Emily Dupuis
Very well written, original, interesting, easy to read and inviting.

Education Story
Providence Journal, In R.I. schools, October dominated by standardized testing Linda Borg
I like that you started from the child's point of view. You obviously did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people. 
Providence Journal, Central Falls teacher absences still on the rise, Jennifer Jordan 
Arresting lead – my first thought was, Holy Cow! I would have liked more attribution earlier in the story, and more quotes from more sources.
Providence Phoenix, Not waiting for Superman, David Scharfenberg 
The lead didn't exactly suck me into the story, but the longer I read, the more I appreciated the depth and the quality of the writing.

Religion and Spirituality Story
Providence Phoenix, Can God and Darwin co-exist, David Scharfenberg 
A superbly written and researched piece. It captures the man caught in between the polar opposite of the great religious debate. Wonderful job.
Smithfield Magazine, SHS physics teacher embraces the chance to make a real difference, Dick Martin 
This story wonderfully captured the man and his mission in life. The story was filled with rich quotes that gave it power.
Valley Breeze, The last Mass at St. Lawrence Church: prayerful hearts, tearful eyes Arline Fleming
A nice lead and ending. In between the writer captured the sad ending to a church victimized by our economy. 

Reporting on the Environment 
Providence Journal, Professor's work at Brown University Batlab helps shed light on sonar Richard Salit
This was the most entertaining piece in the category, a well-written story that had excellent usage of description, humor and practical application. 
Rhode Island Monthly, Living on the Edge, Bob Wyss 
This story took what could have been a dull subject  – erosion – and incorporated a nice human and historical element.
North Kingstown Standard Times, Forum: Are cancer cases in NK rising? Lindsay Oliver 
Lots of nice background information on a serious subject. Well organized.

Science/Health Care Story 
Providence Journal, A salmonella mystery cracked in Burrillville, R.I. Felice J. Freyer
Fascinating account, well-written story.
Providence Journal, R.I. doctors tell why they OK medical marijuana requests, Katherine Gregg
Highly interesting angle on this national story. Getting the docs to talk was another achievement. 
Pawtucket Times, Pawtucket mom at war with disease, Jon Baker 
Heartfelt account – well-written.


Profile or Personality Story 
Narragansett Times, Local World War II veteran shares his story, Brett Warnke
Excellent work. Captivating. Congratulations. 
Woonsocket Call, Ernest Taft dead at 63, Russ Olivo
Well done. Your story made me read until the end. Congratulations. 
Providence Journal, RI Life: Two fathers of Little Falls, G. Wayne Miller
Nice work. I appreciate how you avoided cliche's seen too often in coverage of this topic. Congratulations. 

Feature Story (Short) 
Smithfield Magazine, Gliding across the hard water, Gordon Rowley 
I never thought I'd find myself reading about ice yachting, but this is an engaging story that drew me through to the end. A lovely writing style and great job of weaving in information.
Providence Monthly, Knives out, Julie Tremaine 
A delightful approach – light and entertaining. Julie does a nice job of lending a personal touch while describing the chef.
Johnston Sun Rise, Always on duty, Meg Fraser 
Great subject and nice treatment. I liked the tone, which was straightforward just like Mr. Velletri.

 

Feature Story (In-Depth)
Smithfield Magazine, Dancing in the dark, Harry Anderson 
What a great piece of writing. Could not wait for the end to see what it was. Love to have you work for us.
Providence Journal, Off and running, Tom Mooney 
A well-written piece with a great story. Only wish we could get all troubled kids to read it.
Providence Journal, Now on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, in 1955 "Whitey" Bulger was a little-known hoodlum from South Boston when he robbed a Pawtucket bank, W. Zachary Malinowski
Well written with good context. Kept my interest. 

Arts Review 
Providence Journal, Enter a 'Fiery Poll' of Mayan culture in Salem, Mass. Bill Van Siclen 
Well done! This review was full of interesting information. I learned something today. Congrats and keep up the good work.
Providence Monthly, 100 Pages of Solitude, Vikki Warner 
I thought this article did a great job expressing the artist's style and approach. Had me reading till the end. Thanks!
South County Independent, Trinity probes life after cell phones, Doug Norris 
This article made me feel like I grasped the underlying motifs and concepts of a play I would not begin to understand by seeing myself. Thanks!

Arts
Rhode Island Monthly, Folk Lore, Adam Braver 
Well done, I was hooked from the beginning! The flow and organization was fantastic.
Rhode Island Monthly, Stage struck, Ann Hood 
Great piece. I was especially pleased with the personal nature of a piece that could have easily felt more 'big business.'
Newport Daily News, Second chance at life, James J. Gillis 
The organization of this piece was easily the best of the bunch. I was drawn in early and eagerly awaited the information in the next section.

 

Food 
Smithfield Magazine, A taste of the town, Lauryn Sasso 
Very well written. Logical, organized and original.
Providence Monthly, Take a bite, Julie Tremaine, John Taraborelli 
Well written, very well organized. A variety of dining scenes of Providence with great photography. Very well presented.
The Bay, The great outdoors, Linda Beaulieu 
Great photography, very well written and explained, and well organized.

Most Unusual/Unexpected 
Barrington Times, Man challenges cruelty charge, Josh Bickford
Stories like this happen more than a lot of people think. But many times, they go unreported, because rarely do we look that hard at the type of crime, or sometimes the parties involved won't talk. On this occasion, the stars aligned and the reporter did a great job presenting the story of a man who obviously loves his dog, but can't afford medical care. On one hand it is humorous that this guy would just operate himself, and that it wasn't the first time! But sad that he couldn't find the money and help when he truly needed it. A very deserving winner in a really tough category.
Newport Life, Pedicab, Rachel Carter
I always wondered what kind of person would take a job doing bicycle taxi  –  now I know. Very engaging story. There were entries that were more unusual and unexpected, but very few that were as compelling. Great job! 
Newport Daily News, Irish-themed shirts bring out protesters, Matt Sheley 
I'm not really sure what to make of this, being Irish myself, you know, that most put-upon of minority groups. The reporter, though, did a great job of letting the absurdity of the situation speak for itself when he very easily could have made more jokes, puns or asides in the story. The writing put this entry in the top three in a very tough category.

 

Sports 
North Kingstown Standard Times, Scarlet Knights capture Division II title, Paul J. Spetrini 
Very well written. It would be easy for the circumstances to have outdone the win and the game itself, but you balanced it perfectly. The game description was vivid and easy to follow  –  both very important in sports reporting. It makes me want to catch a game this season.
Chariho Times, The wait is over: Chargers win, Eric Rueb 
I really enjoyed your story. I don't know if it is common practice for a game story to be accompanied by a feature, but I like it and the depth it adds. The game description was great  –  I know nothing about lacrosse but was able to follow it easily.
Providence Journal, For players on R.I. Thunder Gold, it's not softball, it's life, Carolyn Thornton 
Well done. The piece is easy to read – and very engaging.

 

Sports Feature 
Newport Daily News, Physical therapy, Josh Krueger 
An excellent job of describing a man's struggles.
Barrington Times, Tearin' up the rink, Jim McGaw
A fun story about an oddball sport.
Newport Daily News, Road to recovery, Scott Barrett 
This story is an excellent documentation of a ballplayer's battle.

Sports Column 
Warwick Beacon, William Geoghegan
Geoghegan brings big-league style and a distinctive writing voice to the column. I found all three samples a joy to read  –  unusual subject matter and fine story telling. Really a great talent.
Providence Journal, Bill Reynolds 
Reynolds does a very nice job on both personal and feature columns. Engaging style and a very sweet tone.
Providence Journal, John Gillooly
Interesting and diverse topics, each approached with humanity and a nice eye for quotes and details.

Columnist 
Providence Journal, Bob Kerr 
Kerr's columns could be the template for what a great metro columnist should do. His columns show relevance with no obsession on 'me, me, me.' Many times columnists are obsessed with their own lives, when readers may have little interest. Even in the one example given where Kerr inserts himself into a column, it is to show how special someone else is. This is good, old school journalism that too often have been forgotten.
South County Independent, Doug Norris 
Norris is a fluid and natural writer. His prose comes across as very natural and conversational, although doing so is not always an easy task. Nothing seems forced, and I'm sure his readers may be baffled sometimes about where he is going, but are more than willing to go along on the journey. Great writing, great subjects!
Pawtucket Times, Jim Baron
Baron has obviously spent a lot of time and effort covering state politics in Rhode Island and has a thorough knowledge of his subjects. A lot of journalists do, but that doesn't always mean they can give an opinion in a convincing manner. I'm sure Baron probably has many people who are angry by what he writes, but they probably will always read it. Very thought-provoking, whether you agree or not.

News Photo 
Westerly Sun, Reale's sentence: 8 years, Daniel Hyland 
Captures the emotions of events that should not happen.
Sakonnet Times, Off Sakonet, a beacon rebuilt, Richard Dionne
Great display of photo. Worth the attention of readers. Captures never-ending battle.
South County Independent, bubbles, Selena Millard 
Fun photo of life at its best.

Spot News Photo 
Pawtucket Times, Rollover leads to charges, Butch Adams
Visually arresting, well composed, memorable.
Providence Journal, Taking a double wallop, John Freidah
This is a photo you can look at for a long time. It's art. 
Westerly Sun, Flying high, Susannah Snowden
I like the composition  –  the photo gives me a soaring, untethered feeling.

The judges did not provide comments for the feature photo, personality photo/portrait, sports photo or photo series/pictorial categories.

 

Feature Photo
Providence Journal, Watching the heavens, Freida Squires 
Rhode Island Monthly, John Casey comes back to South County, Dana Smith 
The Post, Furious fun, Richard Dionne 

Personality Photo or Portrait 
South County Independent, Good times, Selena Millard 
Providence Monthly, Jonathan Joseph Peters, Krzystyna Harber 
The Post, Spittin Images, Richard Dionne 

Sports Photo
Woonsocket Call, softball collision, Ernest Brown
NorthEast Independent, At long last, Michael Derr 
Providence Journal, Patriots photo, Mary Murphy 

Photo Series/Pictorial
Smithfield Magazine, dangerous decisions, Albert Tavakalov 
Smithfield Magazine, Neil Salley, Albert Tavakalov
Rhode Island Monthly, Frozen assets, Paul Rezendes

 

Special Section 
Providence Journal, NCAA tournament section
Getting the NCAAs to come to your hometown doesn't happen that often, but you guys show why it should return to Providence. This is a great guide not only for local readers, but the many visitors who come to watch. Great job. 
Cranston Herald, 100th anniversary, city of Cranston
And a close second at that. You guys did an awesome job pulling this together. Good use of color, good story line up, good planning. Not overly designed, but very professional. Should set the standard for smaller news groups on putting these things together. In a tough category, this section stood out.
Warwick Beacon and Cranston Herald, Turkey Bowl
The color register is off, but I couldn't ignore the effort the sports staff put into this. Covering so many local teams can sometimes feel like herding cats, but you all pulled together a very engaging section. I plan on stealing your template for our paper. Very nice, especially with as little advertising support. It's a problem we're all facing and it's nice to see community newspapers doing this despite the red ink.

Front Page 
Providence Journal, 3/31, Swamped, Babette Augustin 
This page is an example that shows sometimes less is more. It is well balances despite having one large photograph and just two on the page. Very dramatic art and headline, and the reader's eye travels nicely to the stories below the fold. A story like this deserves a strong layout, and this page delivers. Nice job!
Providence Journal, 1/3, 10 People to watch, Cecelia Prestamo 
The Gordon Fox photo carries the page well, and the names down the side in a light grey is a nice touch.
North Kingstown Standard Times, 11/25, Paul J. Spetrini 
The fold cuts the lead photo in an awkward spot, but the art and headlines compliment the diner story well. A clean design.

Cover 
Mercury, 9/29, hair issue, Janine Weisman, Jacqueline Marque, Michelle Murken 
Just plain fun! Getting these men to pose for the shot couldn't have been easy, but it pays off. We know this is a fun story and issue because you have 'manly men' posing in a Bosby Berkley manner. Great use of headline writing. Great job in a real tough category. I found myself wanting to copy this for my own publication, which indicates a high regard.
Rhode Island Monthly, Patrick Kennedy, Patrick O'Connor 
Very simple and very effective. I didn't want to like this cover, but could not ignore its impact. The manipulation of the photo to give sharp focus on Kennedy's eyes draws the reader in. Good Plan to put his face off center and use white space for text, which uses the right amount of color. Not real fond of the sky box, but it neither detracts nor enhances the rest of the cover.
Providence Monthly, November, Kate Kelley 
The most important aspect of a good cover is to draw the potential reader's eye, then make him or her want to buy and read. Being vague works for publications with a built-in audience. Providence Monthly does a great job of luring us in. The photo illustration does a great job or promoting what I assume is the centerpiece story, which I'm also assuming is quite extensive. While some designers might be tempted to go with something busier and cluttered, this designer went simple with muted colors and design. But the message is clear  –  'We're looking at adult fun.' Great job.

 

Election Coverage 
Providence Journal
Exhaustive election coverage and data coupled with articles that helped make sense of it all, while keeping the political process fresh and worthy of reader engagement. Well done. 
Barrington Times
Covered elections, provided useful info for readers and kept issues lively with fresh writing. Nice work.
Valley Breeze 
Involvement and dedication of editorial staff is evident here. Keep up the good work.

Flood Coverage 
Westerly Sun
Extremely comprehensive coverage. I was waiting with bated breath to find out about the bridge!
Providence Business News 
Great integration of online and print content. A few surprising stories. Lots of contact information for those affected.
South County Independent 
Nice coverage with a small staff. Good photos and people stories.