Photo courtesy of Paul J. Spetrini Photography

Staff members from Edward A. Sherman Publishing, which produces the Newport Daily News, Newport Life Magazine, Mercury, South County Independent, North East Independent and South County Life Magazine, show off their awards following the 2015 Rhode Island Press Association Awards Banquet. 

2015 Rhode Island Press Association Contest Winners

Results for the 2014 Rhode Island Press Association Editorial Award Competition. Presented April 24, 2015

The Rhode Island Press Association is pleased to provide comments from judges for the 2014 Editorial Contest. The contest was judged by the Idaho Press Club. The winners and comments, when provided by judges, are provided in place order. To skip sections, please click one of the links below. 

Writing             Photography             Design             Distinction

Writing

 

1. News Story (Short)

* First place: Amanda Milkovits, The Providence Journal, “Cianci warning”

Judge’s comments: Wow. A short news story that shows evidence of good watchdog reporting, and even has a great laugh in the 2nd graf, when the former mayor refers to his time in prison as 'living in a gated community.' 2nd: Excellent reporting, very complete. 3rd: Great lead; a moving and nicely written piece.

* Second place: Russ Olivo, The Call, “Gambling bust”'

* Third place: Josh Bickford, Barrington Times, “Resident rebounds after fire” * Honorable mention: Donita Naylor, The Providence Journal, “Sea Rescue”

 

2. NEWS STORY (IN-DEPTH)

* First place: Tom Mooney, The Providence Journal, “”Grease Brothers”

Judge’s comments: Highly entertaining crime story. Well organized and clearly written; multiple sources used to provide different perspectives.

Photo: Paul J. Spetrini

Tom Mooney, of the Providence Journal, second from left, won first place in the News Story (In-Depth) category for ”Grease Brothers” during the 2015 Rhode Island Press Association Awards Banquet.

* Second place: W. Zachary Malinowski and Amanda Milkovits, The Providence Journal, “Mean Streets”

* Third place: Kelcy Dolan, Warwick Beacon, “Langevin. Kilmartin spotlight tragedy of ‘re-horning’ “

 

3. SPOT NEWS STORY

* First place: David Tranchida, The Westerly Sun, “3 pulled from burning downtown building”

Judge’s Comments: Really well-done report with gripping, on-the-scene accounts from the victims telling exactly what they'd just experienced, along with plenty of detail and context. Top-notch spot-news reporting.

* Second place: Bruce Burdett, Sakonnet Times, “Tragedy on the harbor”

* Third place: Paul Edward Parker, The Providence Journal, “Circus fall”

 

4. INVESTIGATIVE/ANALYTICAL NEWS STORY OR SERIES

* First place: G. Wayne Miller, Paul Edward Parker, Paul Davis, The Providence Journal, “Mental Health in RI”

Judge’s comments: A thorough look at the problem on multiple levels. Great writing.

* Second place: W. Zachary Malinowski, The Providence Journal, “Rhode Island Housing”

* Third place: Amanda Milkovits, The Providence Journal, “Sex trafficking”

* Honorable mention: Joseph Fitzgerald, The Call, “House of horrors”

 

5. BUSINESS STORY

* First place: Jen McCaffery, Rhode Island Monthly, “A Delicate Proposition”

Second place: Joseph Fitzgerald, The Call, “Cranberries”

* Third place: Kate Bramson, The Providence Journal, “Middle Class Squeeze”

* Honorable mention: Julie Tremaine, Providence Monthly, “Providence by design”

 

6. EDUCATION STORY

* First place: Casey Nilsson, Rhode Island Monthly, “School for Supernovas”

Judge’s Comments: Casey Nilsson's article on a charter school for pregnant and parenting teens was beautifully written and sourced with interviews from students and educators directly involved in the school. The focus on the students and their daily struggles breathed life into the story to life and gave readers a unique insight into why this school works for them.

* Second place: Alisha A. Pina, The Providence Journal, “Bullying”

* Third place: Lynn Arditi, The Providence Journal, “Safer campuses”

 

7. RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY STORY

* First place: Jim Ignasher, Your Smithfield Magazine, “A spiritual journey along the Camino de Santiago”

Judge’s comments: A story well told. 

* Second place: Katie Mulvaney, The Providence Journal, “Police chief”

* Third place: Russ Olivo, The Call, “Sandwich Saints”

 

8. REPORTING ON THE ENVIRONMENT

* First place: Mary Grady, Rhode Island Monthly, “Stormy weather”

Judge’s comments: Really interesting, enterprising topic backed up with strong writing, good storytelling and a lot of research. A nice job incorporating the personalities with the issues, as well as translating the scientific ideas into concepts people can see in their daily lives. Nice work overall.

* Second place: Alex Kuffner, The Providence Journal, “Wind farms”

* Third place: Jen McCaffery,Rhode Island Monthly, “Salty Dames”

* Honorable mention: Richard Salit, The Providence Journal, “Bat fungus”

9. SCIENCE/HEALTH CARE STORY

* First place: Lynn Arditi, The Providence Journal, “Drug Addiction”

Judge’s comments: A well told story. A gripping writing style and structure and a very important issue.

* Second place: Jen McCaffery, Rhode Island Monthly, “My name is Anthony”

* Third place: Stephen Greenwell Jr, The North East Independent, “Babies teach valuable life lesson at EGHS”

 

10. PROFILE OR PERSONALITY STORY

* First place: Tom Mooney, The Providence Journal, “Gina Raimondo”

Judge’s comments: Great profile of both the human and political/professional side of this important public figure. An important service to readers and voters.

* Second place: Casey Nilsson, Rhode Island Monthly, “Keeping up with Kent Stetson”

Judge’s comments: Wonderful!

Photo: Paul J. Spetrini

Lynn Arditi, of the Providence Journal, won first place in the Science/Health Care Story category for “Drug Addiction” during the 2015 Rhode Island Press Association Awards Banquet.

* Third place: Annie Sherman, Newport Life Magazine, “Top Dog”

Judge’s comments: Very nicely done.

* Honorable mention: Ashlyn Mooney, SO Rhode Island, “The Bookish Type”

Judge’s comments: Really captures personality. Many strong entries in this category!

 

11. FEATURE STORY (SHORT)

* First place: Annie Sherman, Newport Life Magazine, “The stuck landing”

Judge’s comments: The Stuck Landing - The images in this story are so apt and vivid without being overwritten (boys resembling ping pong balls, for instance). Well done, a lovely and engaging read.

* Second place: Donita Naylor, The Providence Journal, “Elizabeth Micieli”

Judge’s comments: This is what a profile should be - colorful, delightful, and astoundingly, makes me want to spend some time at a local fast food joint to see if I meet a character like Micieli.

* Third place: Joe Ruggeri, South County Life Magazine, “In the dark ofthe night”

Judge’s comments: Well written, nicely reported, overall an educational and enjoyable read.

* Honorable mention: The Providence Journal: Carrie Simonelli, Salt therapy

 

12. FEATURE STORY (IN-DEPTH)

* First place: Casey Nilsson, Rhode Island Monthly, “The dark side of the sun”

Judge’s comments: I like how you wove together personal stories from community members with interviews from officials. Not only did you highlight the problem, but you took a look at how people are trying to fix it. Well done.

* Second place: Kate Bramson, The Providence Journal, “Being jobless”

* Third place: Alisha A. Pina, The Providence Journal, “Downtown living”

 

13. ARTS REVIEW OR CRITICISM

* First place: Channing Gray, The Providence Journal, “Lie of the Mind”

Judge’s comments: Nice, clear writing with just enough visuals and details to offer a glimpse into the theatrical world without overwhelming the reader. Clear and well-supported opinion.

* Second place: Brad Hevenor, The South County Independent, “The Visit”

* Third place: Andy Smith, The Providence Journal. “Bob Dylan”

 

14. ARTS OR ENTERTAINMENT STORY

* First place: Melanie Saunders,The South County Independent, “Got Art?”

Judge’s comments:Fantastic lede followed by an approachable, educational and enjoyable story. Well done.

* Second place: Channing Gray, The Providence Journal, “Ballerina”

Judge’s comments: This story really stuck with me. The writer did an excellent job of illuminating the intersection of aging and passion, a life's work and grief, by letting the quotes do the talking.

* Third place: Pippa Jack, Rhode Island Monthly, “Richard Rules”

Judge’s comments: Great questions and the trimming was seamless.

* Honorable mention: Alyssa Giacobbe, Rhode Island Monthly, “Tempest in a Tearoom”

Judge’s comments: Writer deserves kudos for such a well-researched story.

15. FOOD & DINING STORY

* First place: Alastair Cairns, The Bay magazine, “For the love of clam shacks”

Judge’s comments: This had really strong writing and managed to make readers feel a little nostalgic, even if they had never even seen a clam shack. Nice job highlighting not only the food, but the culture and the personalities behind it.

* Second place: Grace Lentini, SO Rhode Island, “Take comfort”

* Third place: Jamie Coelho, Rhode Island Monthly, “Entertaining with Claudine”

* Honorable mention: Elyena de Goguel, SO Rhode Island, “The RI Food Encyclopedia”

 

16. UNIQUE/MOST UNEXPECTED STORY

* First place: Sandor Bodo, The Providence Journal, “Chess pieces”

Judge’s comments: Well-written, moving, and filled with the unexpected

* Second place: Donita Naylor, The Providence Journal, “Rune stone”

Photo: Paul J. Spetrini

Alastair Cairns, of the Bay magazine, right, won first place in the Food & Dining Story category for “For the love of clam shacks”

* Third place: Bruce Burdett, Sakonnet Times, “Hurt cormorant seeks help”

* Honorable mention: Dale J. Rappaneau Jr, The Bay Magazine, Back to School

 

17. SPORTS STORY

* First place: Brian MacPherson, The Providence Journal, “Elbow injuries getting respect”

* Second place: Kevin McNamara, The Providence Journal, “Quahog Cup”

* Third place: Leslie Jaffe, Your Smithfield Magazine, “Make the biggest splash”

 

18. SPORTS FEATURE STORY

* First place: Paul Kandarian, Rhode Island Monthly, “He’s got game”

Judge’s comments: A revealing portrait of a longtime local sports personality who's usually on the other side of the notebook.

* Second place: Courtney Toomey. Newport Life Magazine, “The game of kings”

* Third place: John Larrabee, Russ Olivo, Rhode Island Monthly, “Run like the wind”

* Honorable mention: Brian MacPherson, The Providence Journal:, High price

 

19. SPORTS COLUMNIST

* First place: Jim Donaldson, The Providence Journal

Judge’s comments: It was a tough decision between all three places, as each had columns on subjects that were captivating. In the end, however, I felt Mr. Donaldson writing was constantly playing to his audience.

His column on Steven Spieth, at times, touched on the humorous side, particularly the tidbits about his famous brother, Jordan, refusing to play him in one-on-one. It also gives great insight into the relationship the brothers have, particularly how they support each other.

The column on the Little League World Series did a good job of setting the scene and letting the reader know what was going through Dave Belisle's head as he gave a speech which was seen by a lot of people around the country.His World Series column added a nice touch of nostalgia.

Mr. Donaldson did a great job of touching on his experiences with the World Series without making it about himself. From tales of running home to watch the series as a kid, to heartbreak suffered by Red Sox Nation, to winning the series in 2004, I got the sense that even if the reader weren't a baseball fan, they could get the sense of just how special the World Series was.

* Second place: John Gillooly, The Providence Journal

* Third place: Bill Reynolds, The Providence Journal

 

20. EDITORIAL WRITER

* First place: Edward Achorn, The Providence Journal.

Judge’s comments: Bold, well-researched, engaging and to the point. Achorn's editorials stood out from the pack not only because of his authorial voice and writing style, but because of the significance -- exposing a corrupt political campaign propped up up by the good ol' boy network.

* Second place: Chris Keegan, The North East Independent

* Third place: Bruce Burdett, Sakonnet Times.

 

21. NEWS/FEATURES COLUMNIST

* First place: Edward Fitzpatrick, The Providence Journal

Judge’s comments: Your voice and personality truly shows in your columns. It's not often I see writers who can do both humor and profound writing.

* Second place: Karen Lee Ziner, The Providence Journal

* Third place: Alex Kuffner, The Providence Journal

 

22. ARTS/NICHE COLUMNIST

* First place: John Kostrzewa, The Providence Journal

Judge’s comments: Persuasive, well-written and pointed collection of columns taking on issues that affect the future of the community.

* Second place: Gail Ciampa, The Providence Journal

* Third place: Gary Ruff, The Newport Daily News

* Honorable mention: Ron Scopelliti: Your Smithfield Magazine

 

23. HEADLINE WRITING

* First place: Janine Weisman, Mercury:

* Second place: Peter Donahue, The Providence Journal

* Third place: Robert Laux-Bachand, The Westerly Sun

* Honorable mention: Seth Bromley, The Call

Photography

 

* Second place: Mary Murphy, The Providence Journal, “Flooding”

Judge’s comments: Tough conditions, but nicely photographed, even to the droplets of water. We were reaching for our raincoats. And commiserating about the photographer's lens..

* Third place: Kathy Borchers, The Providence Journal, “Tate”

Judge’s comments: How often does something like that happen? This was the best moment by far, but was dinged by technical issues.

 

26. FEATURE PHOTO

* First place: Michael Cohea, BAY Magazine, "Brown (University) east Bay roots”

Judge’s comments: Just a lovely composition, well-lit and luscious.

* Second place: Robert Whitely, BAY Magazine, "Roll with it"

Judge’s comments: Cool idea of old and new; the perspective is perfect. Love the hand holding the photo to complete the composition. (Shoot your designer.)

* Third place: Richard Dionne, Barrington Times, “So long summer, hello school”

Judge’s comments: A nice, honest, storytelling moment.

* Honorable mention: Richard Dionne, Bristol Phoenix, “Aerial Attackers”

 

27. PERSONALITY PHOTO OR PORTRAIT

* First place: Dana Smith, Rhode Island Monthly, The Big Picture”

* Second place: Brian DeMello, SO Rhode Island, “Bold strokes”

* Third place: Brad Smith, Providence Monthly, “The glass dreamscape”

 

28. SPORTS PHOTO

* First place: Paul J. Spetrini, The South County Independent, “The thrill of victory”

Judge’s comments: Great emotional contrast.

* Second place: Kris Craig, The Providence Journal, “Division 2”

Judge’s comments: Good peak action.

* Third place: Richard Dionne, Barrington Times, “Eagles lose heartbreaker”

Judge’s comments: Good moment similar to first place but with a bit less distinction.

 

29. PHOTO SERIES/PICTURE STORY

* First place: Trisha Kelley, Annie Sherman, Newport Life Magazine, “Fashion is Freedom”

Judge’s comments: A big concept project handled professionally and photographed very well.

* Second place: Michael Cevoli, Rhode Island Monthly, “Salty Dames”

Judge’s comments: Another big project that required a lot of time and effort—executed well.

* Third place: Alexander Nesbitt, Rhode Island Monthly, “Surf’s Up!”

Judge’s comments: This package had some nice moments but many are redundant.

Photo: Paul J. Spetrini

Michael Cohea, of BAY Magazine, won first place in the Feature Photo category for "Brown (University) east Bay roots” during the 2015 Rhode Island Press Association Awards Banquet.

24. GENERAL NEWS PHOTO

* First place: Kathy Borchers, The Providence Journal, “Ebola”

Judge’s comments: Tough situation, but there's an immediacy to the photo with compelling emotion.

* Second place: Richard Dionne, Portsmouth Times, “A tall ship is born”

Judge’s comments: Unusual angle, framed perfectly. Both artistic and storytelling.

* Third place: Dave Hansen, The Newport Daily News, “Veterans Day 2014”

Judge’s comments: Nicely framed, interesting angle, great composition — and the expression on his face — all works together.

 

25. SPOT NEWS PHOTO

* First place: Eric Dickervitz, Bristol Phoenix, “Man rolls car”

Judge’s comments: First: Holy cow. Unusual situation and good hustle to get there when somebody is still in the car. And then to be able to see the emotion on his face — and the foot. Wow.

Design

 

* Honorable mention: Staff, Providence Monthly, October 2014

 

32. BEST FEATURE FRONT PAGE

* First place: Tom Murphy, The Providence Journal, “Go 4th”

Judge’s comments: Multiple elements are brought together quite nicely, and using the '4' as a flag banner to lead into photos was a grabber.

* Second place: Anne Peters, The Providence Journal, “Food memories”

* Third place: Melanie Saunders, The South County Independent, “Special delivery, North Pole””

* Honorable mention: Staff, SO Rhode Island, “The RI Food Encyclopedia”

 

33. BEST SPORTS FRONT PAGE

* First place: Scott Barrett, Newport Daily News, South Middleton vs. Portsmouth

Judge’s comments: A fine look-back on a 50-year rivalry. A strong anchor photo topping six others from the archives, all nicely framing the body copy.

* Second place: Ray Capobianco, The Providence Journal. “Rams Chances”

* Third place: Staff, The Providence Journal, “Champs”

Photo: Paul J. Spetrini

Tom Murphy, of the Providence Journal, won first place in the Best Feature Front Page category for “Go 4th” during the 2015 Rhode Island Press Association Awards Banquet.

30. BEST NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGE

* First place: Paul J. Spetrini, The South County Independent, “Tanzi, Filippi, Fogarty win big”

Judge’s comments: Lots of news on this front, presented clearly and anchored by the lead story, on the General Assembly race; this was accompanied by a photo of the glum challenger and one of the joyous victorious incumbent.

* Second place: Staff, The Providence Journal, “Eyes on predators”

* Third place: Chris Keegan, The North East Independent, “Incumbents cling to narrow leads”

 

31. BEST COVER

* First place: Staff, Providence Monthly, August 2014

Judge’s comments: Who’s on first?

* Second place: Tom Murphy, The Providence Journal, “Summer Guide”

* Third place: Carolyn V. Marsden, Rhode Island Monthly, “Best cocktails!”

Distinction

 

34. SPECIAL SECTION

* First place: Family Fun, The Providence Journal

Judge’s comments: Oh yes, this is fun.

* Second place: Wedding issue, South County Life

* Third place: All City, Warwick Beacon

 

35. GENERAL ELECTION COVERAGE

* First place: Staff, The Providence Journal

Judge’s comments: Very solid mix of rich profiles and watchdog reporting. Excellent website presence on Election Night.

* Second place: Staff. The Newport Daily News

Judge’s comments: Comprehensive, consistent coverage heading into the election. Very good Election Night coverage -- especially for a paper just making the transition to an a.m.

* Third place: Staff,North East Independent

Photo: Paul J. Spetrini

The Providence Journal won first place in the Special Section category for "Family Fun" during the 2015 Rhode Island Press Association Awards Banquet. Accepting the award on behalf of the Journal is Alan Rosenberg, center.

36: SINGLE-TOPIC ELECTION COVERAGE

* First place: Staff, The Newport Daily News: Casino question

Judge’s comments: Great mix of political coverage and angles on how it would affect the local community. The clear, focused writing helped explain why this was such a controversial issue.

* Second place: Staff, The Providence Journal: Providence mayoral campaign

* Third place: Barry Fain and Steven Triedman, East Side Monthly: Providence mayoral campaign

 

37. BEST DIGITAL PRESENTATION

* First place: Jamie Coelho, Carolyn Marsden, Nat Rea, Rhode Island Monthly, “Super seafood”

Judge’s comments: These entrants advanced the magazine version of the story with a vivid, well-produced video showing the process behind the plate. It gives the reader (or viewer, rather) a sense of what goes into seafood dishes, with the sights and sounds that can't be conveyed in print. A creative take on food writing and great complement to the print package.

* Second place: Elyena de Goguel,Providence Monthly, “Hey Rhody! Fall in love with Autumn”

* Third place: Elyena de Goguel, SO Rhode Island, “The RI Food Encyclopedia”

 

38. COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR / DAILY

Category received less than three entries and was not judged.

Photo: Paul J. Spetrini

The South County Independent won first place in the Community Newspaper of the Year/Weekly category during the 2015 Rhode Island Press Association Awards Banquet. Accepting the award is South County Independent Managing Editor Liz Boardman, center. 

39: COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR / WEEKLY

* First place: South County Independent

Judge’s comments: This was a close contest between first and second place. Obviously, both papers are very similar; they both provide lots of public records, lots of neighbor news and briefs, submitted photos, lots of sports, plenty of listings for things to do, clubs, honor rolls, arrests, courts briefs, police blotter, columns, an outdoors column, good community engagement through letters to the editor and guest opinions.

Both papers stood out well above the other entries just in terms of the sheer amount of local coverage and information. As well, both papers are well-designed, clean, modern.Both papers also do an excellent job of covering their respective government entities, from school boards and planning commissions to town boards.Both papers had an abundance of stories from municipal coverage.

In all, it would appear the North East Independent has an edge in terms of covering events in the community and among its institutions. However, the North East Independent’s coverage is almost entirely consumed by event and meeting coverage, with very little enterprise or in-depth independent reporting.The overall edge goes to South County because of a slightly better job of enterprise and independent features.

In the issues offered up for this contest, the South County Independent did a story looking at the apparent increase in the number of animals being brought into the shelter from abandoned and foreclosed homes. South County also wrote a strong story on a university student party gone bad. South County also runs a weekly business roundup that is an added feature for its readers.

In general, South County did a better job of balancing meeting and government coverage with enterprise and independent reporting along with added features.

* Second place: North East Independent

* Third place: Newport this week

* Honorable mention: Cranston Herald

 

40. DISTINGUISHED REPORTER OF THE YEAR

Category received less than three entries and was not judged.

 

41. NOTABLE NEW REPORTER OF THE YEAR 

Category received less than three entries and was not judged.

 

42. PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

Category received less than three entries and was not judged.

 

43. COMMUNITY OUTREACH AWARD

*First place: The Providence Journal, Publick Occurrences

Judge’s comments: The ongoing series of public forums took on ambitious topics that touch citizens’ lives deeply and personally, as evidenced by community interest and engagement. Community response is a testament to the importance of topics chosen as well as the credibility of the project partners and the panelists they selected. Excellent use of all publishing platforms to engage the community as widely as possible – print and digital platforms, but also multiple social media tools. All combine to clearly touch on real community needs and provide spaces for meaningful conversation

Photo: Paul J. Spetrini

The Providence Journal, won the Rhode Island Press Association's Community Outreach Award for the second year in a row for their Publick Occurrences forums. Accepting the award on behalf of the Journal is Providence Journal Executive Editor Karen Bordelea, center. At left is Rhode Island Press Association Vice President Susan Areson, also of the Providence Journal.

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