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From Our Archive
March 19, 1996


Scripps Howard Foundation Announces 1996 National Journalism Award Winners

CINCINNATI --  The Scripps Howard Foundation today announced the winners of its 1995 National Journalism Awards.

Four newspapers, three television stations, two radio stations and five individuals were recognized for their efforts in 14 categories ranging from human interest writing and public service to support of literacy and defense of the First Amendment. Bronze plaques and $41,000 in cash prizes will be awarded at a banquet hosted by Scripps Howard and its television station WXYZ on April 26 in Detroit, Mich.

The winners are:

Tom Dennis, The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.--Editorial writing. Dennis will receive $2,000 and the Walker Stone Award plaque.

Dennis won for a four-part editorial page project, which focused on the culm banks of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Leftover from the days of mining coal, culm waste has accumulated into mountainous proportions, leaving a black eye on the community.

Judges said: "Dennis writes with passion, insight and beauty about the threat to clean water and menace to development in his readers' backyard."

Christine Bertelson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch--Human interest writing. Bertelson will receive $2,500 and the Ernie Pyle Award plaque.

Bertelson won for a collection of columns that touched the judges deeply. Particularly cited was a story about the frighteningly disturbed world of a 12-year-old girl with abusive parents.

Judges said: "Bertelson writes beautifully about people doing nothing special. She makes them special with her tender warmth, insight and economical writing."

Drew Sheneman, Central Michigan University--College cartoonist. Sheneman will receive $2,000 and the Charles M. Schulz Award plaque.

A college junior, Sheneman was recognized for his editorial cartoons, which appear in the newspaper, Central Michigan Life.

Judges said: "What we have in Drew Sheneman is a thoroughly professional cartoonist ready to move directly to a metropolitan newspaper and perform his stint on the editorial page."

The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.--Environmental reporting, over 100,000 circulation. The News & Observer will receive $2,000 cash and an Edward J. Meeman Award plaque, recognizing the work of reporters Pat Stith and Joby Warrick.

The newspaper's seven-month investigation documented the first scientific evidence that waste pits from immense hog farms were leaking into groundwater and creeks.

Judges said: "This series brought to light an incredible situation involving the rise of corporate hog farming in North Carolina that had led to pollution of the air and water. It combined the best elements of environmental reporting, investigative reporting, political reporting and public service journalism."

Tony Davis, The Albuquerque (N.M.) Tribune--Environmental reporting, under 100,000 circulation.

Davis will receive $2,000 and an Edward J. Meeman Award plaque.

In a series of articles, Mr. Davis explored and explained the political and social underpinnings of the conflict in Catron County, a remote area 200 miles southwest of Albuquerque. There, the raging triangle of strife among ranchers, federal officials and environmentalists is boiling out of control.

Judges said: "This was a well-done examination of the conflict between private rights and public lands in the modern West. It's a series ahead of the curve, warning readers of something that could explode at any time."

The Blade, Toledo, Ohio--Service in support of literacy, newspaper category.

The Blade will receive $2,500 and will designate a literacy program in its community to receive a $5,000 grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation. The newspaper will also receive a Charles E. Scripps Award plaque.

The Blade was recognized for a multi-faceted approach to fostering reading in its community. Through its support of Toledo's Read for Literacy group, the newspaper helped increase the number of people served from 300 to 1,800 adults.

Judges said: "We were impressed with the commitment from the top down and the ongoing efforts that had measurable results in this community."

WDEF-TV, Chattanooga, Tenn.--Service in support of literacy, broadcast/cable category.

WDEF will receive $2,500 and will designate a literacy program in its community to receive a $5,000 grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation. The station will also receive a Charles E. Scripps Award plaque.

For the second consecutive year, WDEF has been honored for its outstanding campaigns to promote literacy. Education reporter Chris Allen coordinated various segments and projects to raise more than $115,000 to purchase reading and writing materials for inner-city school children.

Judges said: "Allen's volunteer work was driven by his own enthusiasm, but he was obviously empowered by his station and management to take the time and effort necessary. The manner in which he marshaled community and advertisers' support generated public spirit and pride."

WUAL Radio, Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Broadcast/cable journalism, small market radio category.

The station will receive $2,000 and a Jack R. Howard Award plaque.

A report by WUAL, a National Public Radio affiliate, focused on Mississippi's new welfare reform proposal by profiling a single mother who struggles to raise her family.

Judges said: "A clear and thorough look at real people in need of help from religious and governmental institutions. An informative report on a critical issue that got results.

WHAS Radio, Louisville, Ky.--Broadcast/cable journalism, large market radio category.

The station will receive $2,000 and a Jack R. Howard Award plaque.

A 20-minute report by WHAS Radio told the powerfully moving and stark reality about life in an urban ghetto as told through the everyday lives of one family. The feature was followed by an hour-long discussion program.

Judges said: "Through fine, sensitive writing, WHAS painted a vivid picture of life in the projects. A clear and powerful message to disturb the status quo."

KXLY-TV, Spokane, Wash.--Broadcast/cable journalism, small market television category.

The station will receive $2,000 and a Jack R. Howard Award plaque.

In a 30-minute historical account, KXLY re-enacted a gunman's rampage through the local Air Force base, which left five people dead and 22 people injured. The show's objective was to bring closure to the tragedy that affected the entire community.

Judges said: "Keeps you glued to your seat. A spellbinding telling of a tragic, important event with exceptional production values. Brilliantly photographed and produced."

WSOC-TV, Charlotte, N.C.--Broadcast/cable journalism, large market television category.

The station will receive $2,000 and a Jack R. Howard Award plaque.

WSOC's broadcast summarized a two-year project to decrease crime in nine high-crime neighborhoods. In all, the station aired more than 200 stories, conducted research, coordinated town meetings and established phone banks to sign up volunteers.

Judges said: "Exceptional in conceptand community commitment by a television station concerned about its public. A great process that helped bring about change."

El Vocero de Puerto Rico, San Juan, P.R.--Service to the First Amendment.

The newspaper will receive $2,500 and an Edward Willis Scripps Award plaque recognizing efforts of publisher Gaspar Roca and reporter Maggie Bobb.

The newspaper recently neutralized an onerous law that made it a felony for Special Investigation Bureau employees to leak information to the press.

Judges said: "It took the courage of El Vocero to challenge the commonwealth whistle blower laws and force a fundamental change that will be the law of the land for decades to come."

Ken Ward, The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette--Public service reporting, under 100,000 circulation.

Ward will receive $2,500 and a Roy W. Howard plaque.

The people of West Virginia knew a new pulp mill would provide hundreds of jobs, but they didn't know what kind of tax breaks, infrastructure improvements and other inducements the government had offered the project. Reporter Ken Ward changed that with his three-part series.

Judges said: "Watchdog journalism at its best. The Gazette went to great lengths, and to court, to report what the state did not want it citizens to know, including the use of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to a pulp mill company."

The Orange County (Calif.) Register--Public service reporting, over 100,000 circulation.

The Register will receive $2,500 and a Roy W. Howard plaque recognizing the work of its staff reporters.

Through more than 230 stories last year, The Register covered the story about renowned fertility doctors who were stealing patients' eggs and implanting them in other unsuspecting women.

Judges said: "Far and away the best example of public service journalism and investigative reporting this year--maybe this decade. The Register's reporting ripped the wraps off the business of fertility medicine and propelled the medical community toward long overdue reform."

FINALISTS AND JUDGES EDITORIAL WRITING FINALISTS: Don Harrison, Philadelphia Daily News; and Maria Henson, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer.

JUDGES: Karla Garrett Harshaw, editor, Springfield (Ohio) News-Sun; Morris Thompson, editorial page editor, The Philadelphia Daily News; and Jay Ambrose, chief editorial writer, Scripps Howard News Service.

HUMAN INTEREST WRITING FINALISTS: Clare Ansberry, The Wall Street Journal; and Rick Bragg, The New York Times.

JUDGES: Judith W. Brown, editor and publisher, The Herald, New Britain, Conn.; Tim J. McGuire, editor, Star Tribune, Minneapolis; and Robert W. Burdick, editor, Rocky Mountain News, Denver.

COLLEGE CARTOONIST FINALISTS: Alan Gardner, Utah State University; Shawn Carter and Bill Coleman, The Witchita State University; and Bradford Bittner, Colorado State University.

JUDGES: Charles M. Schulz, creator of PEANUTS; Lucy Caswell, associate professor and curator, Cartoon, Graphic and Photographic Arts Research Library, The Ohio State University; and Roy Paul Nelson, professor emeritus, University of Oregon, School of Journalism and author of the novel, The Cartoonist (Seven Gables Press).

ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALISM FINALISTS--OVER 100,000: Rich Heidorn Jr., The Philadelphia Inquirer; Kathleen Kerr and William Bunch, Newsday; and Cindy Schreuder, Chicago Tribune.

FINALISTS--UNDER 100,000: Doug McEachern, Tribune Newspapers, Mesa, Ariz.; Greg Campbell and Susan Towers, The Bakersfield Californian; and Dan Whipple, Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune.

JUDGES: Tim Kelly, editor, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader; Jane Healy, managing editor, The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel; and Thomas W. Tuley, retired editor and president, The Evansville (Ind.) Courier.

FOUNDATION AWARD WINNERS LITERACY FINALIST-NEWSPAPER: Beverly Franz, The Item, Sumter, S.C.

FINALIST: BROADCAST/CABLE: Todd Toerper, WSBA/WARM 103, York, Pa.

JUDGES: Paul Scripps, chairman and editorial director, John P. Scripps Newspapers; Lucinda Stiff, School of Journalism, Florida A & M University, Tallahasee, Fla.; and Grace Gilchrist, vice president and general manager, WXYZ-TV, Detroit.

BROADCAST/CABLE JOURNALISM FINALIST--SMALL MARKET RADIO: WUNC Radio, Chapel Hill, N.C.

FINALIST--LARGE MARKET RADIO: WJR Radio, Detroit.

FINALIST--SMALL MARKET TV/CABLE: WGME-TV, Portland, Ore.

FINALIST--LARGE MARKET TV/CABLE: WXYZ-TV, Detroit.

JUDGES: Loren Tobia, news director, KMTV, Omaha, Neb., and chairman of the Radio/Television News Directors Association; David B. Dick, professor, University of Kentucky and former CBS News correspondent; and Don Dunphy, Jr., vice president/ Affiliate News Services, ABC News.

FIRST AMENDMENT FINALIST: Michael Diamond, The Press of Atlantic City.

JUDGES: Louis D. Boccardi, president and CEO, The Associated Press; Reginald Stuart, assistant news editor/Washington Bureau, Knight Ridder and immediate past president of the Society of Environmental Journalists; and Robert H. Giles, editor and publisher, The Detroit News and president-elect of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

PUBLIC SERVICE FINALISTS--UNDER 100,000: None

FINALISTS--OVER 100,000: Carol A. Marbin and Stephen Nohlgren, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times; and Staff, The Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City.

JUDGES: Debbie Price, vice president and executive editor, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Roger Oglesby, editor, The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa.; and Angus McEachran, president and editor, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.

Contact: Sue Porter, The E.W. Scripps Company, 513-977-3030