Photo: Dave Hansen

The Rhode Island Press Association presented 141 awards to Rhode Island journalists for writing, design and photography in its editorial contest for 2018. Above attendees listen to a speech given by Tom Ward, publisher and founder of The Valley Breeze, who was inducted into the Rhode Island Journalism Hall of Fame.

2019 Rhode Island Press Association Contest Winners

Results for the 2018 Rhode Island Press Association Editorial Award Competition. Presented April 26, 2019

The Rhode Island Press Association is pleased to provide a list of winners and comments from judges for the 2018 Editorial Contest. The contest was judged by the Idaho Press Club. The winners are provided in place order. Judges comments are included and accompanied with some categories.To skip sections, please click one of the links below. 

Writing             Photography             Design             Distinction

Writing

 

1. NEWS STORY (SHORT)

 

First place: Tom Mooney, The Providence Journal, “A fountain gushing flowers?” 

Second place: Kevin G. Andrade, The Providence Journal, “Fear of census common among immigrants

Third place: Ethan Hartley, Warwick Beacon, “DDay veteran sheds light on Holocaust photos”; Honorable mention: Jacquelyn Moorehead, The Valley Breeze, “Save Our Center.”

 

2. NEWS STORY (IN-DEPTH) 

First place: Katherine Gregg, The Providence Journal, “Missed appeal could cost millions” 

Second place: Russ Olivo, Woonsocket Call, “Police: Shooting a murder-suicide” 

Third place: Derek Gomes, The Newport Daily News, “13 victims confirmed in Flint case” 

Honorable mention: Mary MacDonald, Providence Business News, “After PawSox: What’s next for city?”

Photo: Dave Hansen

Diana Brazill of Rhode Island Monthly won first place in the Feature Story (Short) category of the 2019 Rhode Island Press Association contest for "Petal Power" Above, members of the organizations nominated in the category accept their awards.

Judge’s comments

First Place: In the "Missed Appeal" article, I was impressed with how clearly the reporter communicated to me, as an outsider, the scope of this complex situation, who was involved and what was at stake. I appreciated the reporter's use of not only court documents but the staff email sent by the Health & Human Services secretary. The reporter clearly explained what was happening and what had gone wrong, without bogging the reader down with legalese.

Second Place: The tragedy of domestic-murder suicide has hit our state, too, particularly hard in recent months. The reporter here provided a really in-depth picture of this family and what led up to the shooting. I appreciated the range of interviews, from police to neighbors to employees to the coalition against domestic violence.

Third Place: This story stuck with me because it calls into question the trust we place in business professionals. The reporter included a good level of detail from the investigation, including the disturbing quote from the police interview,  "Roy stated they typically wouldn’t ask unless the customer was pretty.”

Honorable Mention: Excellent sourcing in this story. The reporter painted a detailed picture of the plight of these business owners, and the hardship for this community in losing the ballpark.

 

3. SPOT NEWS STORY 

First place: Staff, The Providence Journal, “Teen shot, killed outside school”

Second place: Russ Olivo, Woonsocket Call, “Suspect captured after officer shot” 

Third place: Joseph B. Nadeau, Woonsocket Call; “Shooting in city leaves two dead”

Honorable mention: Amanda Milkovits, The Providence Journal, “Coming home”

 

Judge’s comments 

Good writing on "Teen shot, killed outside school." Sets the scene well, describes what happened well. Lot of sources.

 

4. BUSINESS STORY 

First place: Paul Edward Parker, The Providence Journal, “Economic scorecard”

Second place: Emily Gowdey-Backus, Providence Business News, “Diversity elusive in construction”

Third place: Dan McGowan, Providence Monthly, “Now hiring”

Honorable mention: Russ Olivo, Woonsocket Call, “Pot growing goes pro”

Judge’s comments 

First place: A deep dive into the state's economic well-being, grounded in solid numbers

Second place: Thoroughly reported

Third place: Well-written

 

5. EDUCATION STORY 

First place: Casey Nilsson, Rhode Island Monthly, “The promised land”

Second place: Madeleine List, The Providence Journal, “Disruption as bus drivers strike”

Third place: Linda Borg and Paul Edward Parker, The Providence Journal, “Our truth-telling moment”

Honorable mention: Bre Power Eaton, Newport Life Magazine, “Together we learn”

6. INVESTIGATIVE/ANALYTICAL NEWS STORY 

First place: Eli Sherman, Providence Business News, “How much debt is too much for R.I.?”

Second place: Mark Reynolds, The Providence Journal, “Firefighter sick benefit scrutinized”

Third place: Madeleine List and Kevin G. Andrade, The Providence Journal, “No respite, no refuge”

Photo: Dave Hansen

Ron Scopelleti, left, of The Smithfield Times, won first place in the Arts / Niche Columnist category during the 2019 Rhode Island Press Association Awards Banquet.

7. SINGLE-TOPIC SERIES 

First place: Alex Kuffner, The Providence Journal, Changes to R.I. Forests

Second place: Mark Patinkin, The Providence Journal, “Heart of the Matter”

Third place: Linda Borg, The Providence Journal, “School Buildings in Crisis”

Honorable mention: Staff, The Westerly Sun, “Fallout from Parkland”

 

8. RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY STORY 

First place: Donita Naylor, The Providence Journal, “A prayer for immigrants”

Second place: Kevin G. Andrade, The Providence Journal, “Fast satisfies the hunger for spiritual fulfillment”

Third place: Lauren Clem, The Valley Breeze, “Sacred Heart closes”

 

9. REPORTING ON THE ENVIRONMENT

First place: Jamie Coelho, Rhode Island Monthly, “Betting the farm”

Second place: Todd McLeish, Rhode Island Monthly, “Is Narragansett Bay too clean?”

Third place: Mary MacDonald, Providence Business News, “Getting the lead out” 

Honorable mention: Alex Kuffner, The Providence Journal, “Has Rhode Island starved its watchdog?”  

 

Judge’s comments

This was a tough category, all the entries were good.

 

10. SCIENCE/ HEALTH CARE STORY 

First place: Grace Kelly, Rhode Island Monthly, “State of mind, mindfulness getting started”

Second place: G. Wayne Miller, The Providence Journal, “The wellness gap”

Third place: Mark Patinkin, The Providence Journal, “I have M.S., M.S. doesn’t have me”

 

Judge’s comments

Tough decision. First place piece was easy to read and well constructed. The second place was close and equally well done.

 

11. PROFILE / PERSONALITY STORY 

First place: Todd McLeish, Rhode Island Monthly, “A rare breed”

Second place: G. Wayne Miller, The Providence Journal, “Spirit of strength”

Third place: Tom Mooney, The Providence Journal, “I like to make things”

Honorable mention: Peder Schaefer, Warwick Beacon

 

12. NEWS / FEATURE COLUMNIST

First place: Mark Patinkin, The Providence Journal

Second place: Ellen Liberman, Rhode Island Monthly 

Third place: Fran Ostendorf, Jewish Rhode Island

13. FEATURE STORY (SHORT) 

First place: Diana Brazill, Rhode Island Monthly, “Petal power”

Second place: G. Wayne Miller, The Providence Journal, “Growing hope”

Third place: Lauren Clem, The Valley Breeze, “Together at last”

Honorable mention: Jacquelyn Moorehead, The Valley Breeze, “K-9 heroes”

 

Judge’s comments 

Petal Power: This introspective  narrative was exquisitely written. The first-person style of this essay is far different from the traditional third-person news feature, making it difficult to judge against the other entries in terms of content. The caliber of writing, however, was unmatched. Kudos to Ms. Brazill who made me feel her pain with every snip of a flower stem.

Growing Hope: This story shines a light on an important initiative. The amount of detail in the reporting is wonderful, particularly the name of the cat and description of Cassie's remodeled bedroom.

Together at Last: This article easily walked the reader through the story of Eva and John's life, seamlessly incorporating historical documents, important life details and the voice of living relatives. It was a compelling and smooth read.

K-9 Heroes: This story has an inherent narrative intrigue that kept me reading through. Had the writer started in the middle of the action, hooking the reader into the search for the young hiker, this likely would have been a top contender.

 

14. FEATURE STORY (IN-DEPTH) 

First place: Casey Nilsson, Rhode Island Monthly, “Seeking peace in Providence”

Second place: Tom Mooney, The Providence Journal, “Iron men” 

Third place: Amanda Milkovits, The Providence Journal, “Private hell”

 

Judge’s comments 

Seeking Peace in Providence: In this beautifully written examination of gun violence, the writer seamlessly weaves in hard data without interrupting the narrative. A moving, informative piece. The depth of reporting is impressive and immersive - exceedingly well done.

Iron Men: Such a great example of strong feature writing! With adjectives used sparingly but always carefully chosen, the writer gets out of his own way and lets the characters and the scene tell the story.

Private hell: A difficult topic to write, even more so to interview. It's clear the writer established a strong rapport with her subject, and the work paid off in a sensitive look at a serious social issue.

 

15. ARTS / NICHE COLUMNIST

First place: Ron Scopelliti, The Smithfield Times 

Second place: Paul V. Palange, The Smithfield Times

Third place: Alexander Castro, Newport Mercury 

Honorable mention: Amanda M. Grosvenor, Providence Monthly

 

16. ARTS OR ENTERTAINMENT STORY

First place: Paul Kandarian, Rhode Island Monthly, “Tara rules” 

Second place: Rachael Thatcher, Newport Mercury, “Collection 2018”

Third place: Nancy Burns-Fusaro, The Westerly Sun, “Birth of the Westerly blues”

 

17. FOOD AND DINING STORY 

First place: Viki Panteleakis, Rhode Island Monthly, “Hot weiners: A love story” 

Second place: Jamie Coelho, Rhode Island Monthly, “Check please: The true cost of running a restaurant”

Third place: Rachael Thatcher, Newport Mercury, “Picnic perfect”

 

Judge’s comments

Hot Weiners had me smiling and wanting to visit Rhode Island ASAP, Check Please is a great look into fine dining restaurants and super informative.Picnic Perfect is a nice how-to for readers with local suggestions.

18. UNIQUE / MOST UNEXPECTED STORY

First place: Brian Amaral, The Providence Journal, “Troublesome turkey has Town Hall in a frenzy”

Second place: Susan Shalhoub, Providence Business News, “Providence’s forgotten Chinatown”

Third place: Catherine Hewitt, The Westerly Sun, “Zen and the art of horseback yoga”

 

Judge’s comments

Troublesome turkey: This story is fun, well written, thoroughly reported and clear. Kudos to Mr. Amaral for finding appropriate humor in a bizarre situation and for writing a story that informs and entertains. Many of the small details in this story pack a hilarious punch - the bird disappearing near a Popeyes, for example, and walking across the mayor's parking space. Truly well done.

Chinatown: This story is a well-delivered look at an important piece of Providence history, perhaps not well-known to readers. In addition to providing historical context, the reporter didn't shy away from important racial themes and conveyed the importance of preserving the memory of Chinatown pioneers.

Horseback Yoga: This story was unique and unexpected in a number of ways. First, the topic - while many people have likely heard of goat yoga, and therapeutic horse riding, horse yoga is a novel concept. Then, the story gets even stranger -- horses seem to like this yoga and they could even benefit from it, too? Novel topic delivered in a neat, readable way.  

19. SPORTS STORY

First place: William Geoghegan, The Independent, “Senior salute” 

Second place: Bill Koch, The Providence Journal, “The best ever” 

Third place: Adam Toobin, SO Rhode Island, “Root for the home teams”

Honorable mention: Brendan McGair, Woonsocket Call, “Totally dedicated”

20. SPORTS FEATURE STORY 

First place: Scott Barrett, The Newport Daily News, “Keeping the faith”

Second place: Eric Benevides, The Valley Breeze, “Diving back in” 

Third place: Brendan McGair, Pawtucket Times, “Prayers answered”

Honorable mention: Eric Rueb, The Providence Journal, “Season of grief”

 

21. SPORTS COLUMNIST 

First place: Bill Reynolds, The Providence Journal; Second place: Kevin McNamara, The Providence Journal

Third place: Brendan McGair, Woonsocket Call/Pawtucket Times

 

22. HEADLINE WRITING 

First place: Danny Crandall, Woonsocket Call/Pawtucket Times

Second place: Peter Donahue, The Providence Journal 

Third place: Jacquelyn Moorehead, The Valley Breeze

Honorable mention: Seth Bromley, Woonsocket Call

Photo: Dave Hansen

William Geoghegan, second from left, of The Independent won first place in the Sports Story category at the 2019 Rhode Island Press Association Editorial Awards.

Distinction

23. GENERAL ELECTION COVERAGE 

First place: Staff, The Providence Journal 

Second place: Mary MacDonald, Providence Business News 

Third place: Staff, The Valley Breeze

 

Judge’s comments

The Providence Journal provided fantastic coverage for legislative and gubernatorial races.

 

24. SPECIAL SECTION 

First place: Rhode Island Monthly, “The Art Buyer’s Guide to Rhode Island”

Second place: Newport Life Magazine, “25th Anniversary” 

Third place: Providence Business News, “Stuff Made and Built in Rhode Island”

Judge’s comments

First: Clever, bright and informative

Second: Great perspective on 25 years of community change

Third: Comprehensive, with wonderful individual vignettes that help personalize the bigger-picture trends.

Overall: The quality of entries in this division was top-notch, making it difficult to judge; I also wanted to award multiple honorable mentions! All entries show excellent planning, strong writing and design.

Photo: Dave Hansen

Casey Nilsson of Rhode Island Monthly, left, won first place in the Distinguished Journalist award at the 2019 Rhode Island Press Association Editorial Awards Contest. Also pictured, from left, are Mary MacDonald of Providence Business News, Amanda Milkovits and G. Wayne Miller, both of The Providence Journal.

25. COMMUNITY OUTREACH AWARD

First place: Newport Life Magazine, “11th Annual Photo Contest”

Second place: The Providence Journal, “Publick Occurrences”

Third place: The Valley Breeze, “Creating Community”

 

26. NOTABLE NEW REPORTER OF THE YEAR 

First place: Brian Amaral, The Providence Journal

Second place: Madeleine List, The Providence Journal

Third place: Kevin G. Andrade, The Providence Journal

 

Judge’s comments

Tough, tough call here. All three easily could be justified as top journalist. Decider was level of enterprise/investigative/watchdog.

 

27. PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

First place: Sandor Bodo, The Providence Journal

Second place: Michael Derr, The Independent 

Third place: Harold Hanka, The Westerly Sun

 

Judge’s comments 

First: Sandor Bodo - Your photos consistently showcase great angles or perspectives that draw people into the page.

Second: Michael Derr - Your images are crisp, clean and technically sound. The only thing I wanted to see was different angles or perspectives in your photos to draw me in.

Third: Harold Hanka - I thought you captured a lot of great moments with your entries. The editing was a little heavy-handed though, especially with the dancing men. You can back off the contrast and the HDR effects and still have great shots.

 

28. DISTINGUISHED JOURNALIST

First place: Casey Nilsson, Rhode Island Monthly

Second place: Mary MacDonald, Providence Business News

Third place: Amanda Milkovits, The Providence Journal

Honorable mention: G. Wayne Miller, The Providence Journal

 

Judge’s comments

Phenomenal entries in this category. While Casey Nilsson stood out for her thorough investigations and long-form narratives, every journalist who entered should be proud of their work.

Photography

 

29. ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT PHOTO 

First place: Wolf Matthewson, Hey Rhody, “Fire dancer”

Second place: Kris Craig, The Providence Journal, “Art gallery” 

Third place: Bill Murphy, The Valley Breeze, “Spinning fire”

 

Judge’s comments 

First: Run away winner, clean light and background. Unique square crop, good use of technical skill.

Second: The photographer followed the light and waited for a moment to happen within it. Nice work.

Third: Another fire spinning image, great exposure though the background isn't as clean.

 

30. FEATURE PHOTO 

First place: Steve Szydlowski, The Providence Journal, “Laid to rest” 

Second place: Bob Briedenbach, The Providence Journal, “Gondola”

Third place: Michael Cevoli, Rhode Island Monthly, “Is Narragansett Bay too clean?” 

Honorable mention: Wolf Matthewson, Providence Monthly, “Star light, star bright”

Photo: Dave Hansen

Kris Craig, second from left, of The Providence Journal won first place in the Personality Photo or Portrait category at the 2019 Rhode Island Press Association Editorial Award. Also pictured are, from left, Wolf Matthewson of The Bay Magazine, Mike Braca of East Side Monthly and James Jones of Rhode Island Monthly.

Judge’s comments 

First: Photo took skill and imagination to pull off, that we were told our judging criteria was. Fantastic pan shot.

Second: Clean, tight, natural triangle brings the viewer into the image.

Third: Would have liked to have seen more of the top cropped off but it was visually appealing.

Honorable mention: Lack of cutline, we felt the image may have been staged since Milky Way photos are usually 20-30 second exposures and the subject shows very little blur.

 

31. FOOD PHOTO

First place: Kris Craig, The Providence Journal, “Chicken and waffles”

Second place: Michael Cevoli, SO Rhode Island, “Move over oysters”

Third place: Angel Tucker, Rhode Island Monthly, “Gone fishing”

Honorable mention: Michael Cevoli, The Bay Magazine, “Take comfort”

 

Judge’s comments 

First: Beautifully laid out with a clean background that helps angle the viewer into the image. Keeping the highlights in was key, good depth of field.

Second: Loved the over the top angle, wish the highlights weren't blown out.  

Third: Way to keep the focus on the fish by cropping out the face. We still liked that it had a human element to it.

Honorable mention: The beverage in the background hurt more than helped, there were slight border mergers with the burgers overlapping. Good presentation though.

 

32. GENERAL NEWS PHOTO

First place: Bill Murphy, The Valley Breeze, “The moving wall”

Second place: Dave Hansen, The Newport Daily News, “Fire damages Portsmouth home” 

Third place: Robert Emerson, The Valley Breeze, “The upside-down”

 

Judge’s comments 

First: Nice reflection, good moment of the scout pointing to the wall.

Second: Way to capture the emotional impact of the scene.

Third: Liked how the background faded out due to the water.

 

33. SPOT NEWS PHOTO 

First place: Kris Craig, The Providence Journal, “Storm damage”

Second place: David DelPoio, The Providence Journal, “Forest fire”

Third place: Steve Szydlowski, The Providence Journal, “Laid to rest”

Honorable mention: Dave Hansen, The Newport Daily News, “Family displaced by fire”

 

Judge’s comments

First: Storm Damage - Composition, color, action -- this photo has it all. It's especially remarkable that it was taken during spot coverage.

Second: Forest Fire - The perspective, color and action in this photo make a great mix.

Third: Laid to rest - You captured the emotions on display wonderfully.

Honorable mention: Family displaced by fire - You have great emotion here already, but I think it could've been framed better by getting a slightly lower perspective from where you shot this and going in a little bit tighter to help crop out the pickup.

 

34. PERSONALITY PHOTO OR PORTRAIT 

First place: Kris Craig, The Providence Journal, “Pot prophet”

Second place: Mike Braca, East Side Monthly, “Geeking out”

Third place: Wolf Matthewson, The Bay Magazine, “Love at first strum”

Honorable mention: James Jones, Rhode Island Monthly, “A rare breed”

 

Judge’s comments

First: Pot Pastor- This photo has everything I look for in a portrait: interesting lighting, personality and the ability to understand what the article might be about just by looking at the photo. My one gripe is the tree line in the bottom left corner.

Second: Geeking Out- This portrait has so much personality. I love that each element plays off of one another. I would've liked to have seen a light that was less yellow, and one that added a bit more mood. It's fairly flat. Otherwise, it's a great shot.

Third: Love at first strum- The lighting is terrific. It really adds a nice sense of mood to the photo and the angle gives it more depth. I just wish we could've seen the subject with more of his tools that he uses to create the guitars.

Honorable mention: A Rare Breed- The lighting and editing for this photo are fantastic. Everything is technically wonderful. I just wish that we could've seen him posed in an enclosure or somewhere where he's working to make it feel more natural since he's holding a (live?) snake.

 

35. SPORTS PHOTO 

First place: Robert Emerson, The Valley Breeze, “The last match”

Second place: Paul J. Spetrini, The Independent, “Diving in”

Third place: Kris Craig, The Providence Journal, “Baseball slide”

Honorable mention: Wolf Matthewson, Providence Monthly, “Move it, move it”

 

Judge’s comments

The Last Match wins because it brings out an emotion that the others don't. The look on the coach's face and the team rallying around him is great. The photo does a good job telling the story on its own. Not much context is needed to explain why it is important. The Diving In and Baseball slide photos get second and third because of the precise timing these pictures needed. Diving In gets second because of the precision needed to get that shot right as the fingers are about to break through the water. Baseball slide also needed good timing, but the window is a little larger to get a good shot for that one. Move It Move It gets an honorable mention because of the lighting of the woman in white, but the shadow on the other woman detracted from the overall photo. If the second person were not in the photo, this one might have jumped up into second because of the great lighting and clarity of the shot.

36. PHOTO SERIES / PICTURE STORY 

First place: James Jones, The Bay Magazine, “Making Waves”

Second place: Wolf Matthewson, SO Rhode Island, “Made in South County”

Third place: Michael Cevoli, Rhode Island Monthly, “Prudence, Patience, Hope and Despair and Little Hog Island right over there”

Judge’s comments  

First: Making Waves- I love that just about every photo has some different action, mood, lighting or color going on. They all really draw you in. The two left hand photos on the second page weren't the most interesting, but each of the others complimented the piece. My favorite was the top right photo on the cover page. The framing is great.

Second: Made in South County- The lead welding shot is wonderfully moody. Each shot has fantastic personality. My only knock would be that the photo of the man with goggles had too much of an HDR vibe for me and I'm not the biggest fan of it. It looks too fake to me.

Third: Prudence, Patience- Each island really strikes a different mood. The muted tones from photos for the more desolate ones really accentuate what you're trying to convey. The only knock I would have is that the first page was really too busy. I wanted to see fewer, larger photos of the more interesting subjects. A few of them just seemed like filler.

Design

 

37. BEST COVER 

First place: Nicholas DelGiudice, Providence Monthly, “Paint the town”

Second place: Matt Castigliego, Rhode Island Monthly, “Ultimate guide to summer” 

Third place: Staff, Newport Life Magazine, “March/April 2018”

 

38. BEST FEATURE FRONT PAGE

First place: Tracie Seed, Newport Life Magazine, “Best of Newport County awards” 

Second place: Brandon Harmon, The Bay Magazine, “Weirdos welcome”

Third place: Wesley Bedrosian, Rhode Island Monthly, “Hot and Spicer”

Honorable mention: Jesse Burke, Rhode Island Monthly, “Betting the farm”

39. BEST SPORTS FRONT PAGE 

First place: Staff, The Providence Journal, “The Best Ever”

Second place: Branden Mello, Woonsocket Call, “The patriarch”

Third place: William Geoghegan, The Independent, “Double double”

Photo: Dave Hansen

The Providence Journal won first place in the Best Newspaper Front Page category for "Game Over" during the 2019 Rhode Island Press Association Awards Banquet.

Judge’s comments

BEST EVER: Very complete section front. Nice story display and use of photos.

THE PATRIARCH: Liked this section front a lot. This was a tough call. Had the photos been displayed differently it might have won. Nice tribute to the coach.

DOUBLE DOUBLE: A distant third. Just not strong enough for a higher place but respectable.

 

40. BEST NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGE 

First place: Staff, The Providence Journal, “Game over”

Second place: Danny Crandall, Woonsocket Call, “Novans pour it on”

Third place: Anne Ewing, Providence Business News, “Medical marijuana: Cultivating an industry”

 

Photo: Dave Hansen

Staffers from Rhode Island Monthly pose together with the awards they garnered at the 2019 Rhode Island Press Association Awards Banquet, held April 26, 2019 at the Quonset 'O' Club in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. 

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