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ACP Winners

2011 ACP Story of the Year Winners
co-sponsored by The Deadline Club, New York City chapter of Society of Professional Journalists

View ACP press release

New this year: ACP is honoring up to 10 entries in each category of the Individual Awards. The top five entries in each category have been announced as finalists, and will be announced as first through fifth place winners later at the fall ACP/CMA convention in Orlando. Up to five honorable mentions have additionally been awarded in each category. The honorable mentions are not ranked.

News Story

First Place
Brian Rosenthal
The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, Ill.
Sunshine family settles with NU
http://www.dailynorthwestern.com/northwestern-reaches-2-million-settlement-with-sunshine-family-1.2336576?pagereq=2

Second Place
Kyla Gardner
Northern Star, Northern Illinois Univ., DeKalb, Ill.
Hitchin’ a late night ride
http://northernstar.info/campus/article_fe5796f0-35b0-11e0-90cf-00127992bc8b.html

Third Place
Andrew Wiktor
Spectrum, State Univ. of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y.
Reaching new heights
http://www.ubspectrum.com/news/reaching-new-heights-1.2208676

Fourth Place
Michael Cignoli
Beacon, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
S. Main St. building could become home of convicts
http://www.wilkesbeacon.com/news/nearby-building-could-become-rehab-center-for-convicts-1.2454450

Fifth Place
Jen Wheeler
The Daily Illini, Univ. of Illinois, Champaign, Ill.
C-U area imposes new measures
http://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2011/01/cu_area_imposes_new_measures_after_losing_thousands_of_dollars_in_unpaid_parking_tickets

Honorable Mention
Sarah Grieco, Anthony Bronson
The Daily Aztec, San Diego State Univ., San Diego, Calif.
Associated Students executive pay does not depend on hours worked
http://www.thedailyaztec.com/2010/10/associated-students-executive-pay-does-not-depend-on-hours-worked/

Honorable Mention
Gautam S Kumar, Julie M Zauzmer
The Harvard Crimson, Harvard Univ., Cambridge, Mass.
Before war in Libya, professors advised Gaddafi
http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/5/26/harvard-libya-monitor-gaddafi/

Honorable Mention
Anthony James, Nicole Swapp, John LaSalle
Observer, Central Washington Univ., Ellensburg, Wash.
Case closed?
http://www.cwuobserver.com/story/case-closed

Honorable Mention
Rochelle Adams, Scott Shigeoka
The Daily Evergreen, Washington State Univ., Pullman, Wash.
Students struggle with tuition hikes

Honorable Mention
Sarah Blaskey
The Clarion, Madison Area Technical College, Madison, Wis.
Prescription for addition
http://media.www.matc-clarion.com/media/storage/paper1324/news/2010/10/13/News/Prescription.For.Addiction-3943772.shtml

Judge comments on News Stories: The submissions this year were stronger than ever, with a noticeable focus on watchdog journalism. Students who placed in the top ten clearly understand the power of the press, and know their publications can have impact on their readers, their campuses and beyond. They demonstrated courage by exposing wrongdoing and questionable judgment by administrators and peers. They raised awareness by highlighting unsafe living conditions and the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. They dug deep for statistics and records to support their reporting. They were relentless and persistent in pursuit of relevant facts and credible sources. Their writing is fair and balanced, sensitive and responsible. Kudos to these outstanding young journalists!

Feature Story

First Place
Ally Marotti
The Lantern, Ohio State Univ., Columbus, Ohio
The silence is ‘deafening’
http://www.thelantern.com/campus/the-silence-is-deafening-1.2184059

Judge's comments: “The Silence Is ‘Deafening” exposed the efforts of Ohio State officials to hush up the university’s investigation of a data breach of OSU’s computer system that left 760,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni vulnerable to identity theft. The jeopardized files included names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers. To report a story that by its very nature the university didn’t want reported, Marotti and the Lantern employed public-records requests to obtain e-mails that, it turned out, contained explicit instructions not to talk. The article was rich with quotations from the e-mails and also from the officials who were asked to explain them. The article put the Ohio State situation and hush-up in context through interviews with outside experts who commented on the unusual nature of Ohio State’s handling of the matter. Usually, one expert said, efforts are made to get out as much information as possible to warn potential victims. Marotti also pointed out that Ohio law requires notification of such a breach to those affected within 45 days of an incident. OSU notified the public 54 days after the incident, Marotti reported. Minotti also cast a wide net for solid contextualizing facts and figures. Minotti’s article was hard-hitting, but fair. She gave the officials involved, from the president of the university on down, an opportunity to have their say. She also reported OSU’s expenditure of $1.6 million to purchase 500,000 security codes, which were made available to the affected (64,500 people signed up).The single typo the judge found didn’t diminish his appreciation of this ambitious, thorough work about a matter of serious concern to more than a half-million members of the extended Ohio State community. The getting of this story was a vigorous exercise of press freedom on the part of Marotti and the Lantern. This Story of the Year was an excellent example of why we journalists spend our lives doing what we do.

Second Place
Kyle Campbell, Megan Durisin
The State News, Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, Mich.
The hard road home
http://statenews.com/index.php/article/2011/04/the_hard_road_home

Judge's comments: “The Hard Road Home,” was a thoroughly polished, professional-quality, timely effort that successfully localized an important international event—the revolution in Libya. The quality of this article was such that it would have been at home on the pages of The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. Campbell and Durisin conducted meaningful interviews with many of Michigan State’s 59 Libyan students, capturing their views of the events back home, and also the uncertainty, risks and complications they faced as the Libyan regime that sent them to East Lansing was under attack and the Libyan government’s student-exchange program halted. Commendably the article also traced the Michigan State connection of Moussa Kousa, who earned a master’s degree at MSU in 1978 and returned to Libya to become an ambassador, intelligence chief (he was implicated in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland) and most recently foreign minister, until he defected from the Gaddafi government a few days before the article was published. The reporters were able to flesh out their sketch of Koussa through interviews with his professors from the ’70s. The article was well-bolstered with numbers. Savvy, sophisticated journalism.

Third Place
Lark Turner
The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, Ill.
The quarter system at NU
http://www.dailynorthwestern.com/in-focus-the-quarter-system-at-northwestern-1.2398754

Judge's comments: “12 Classes: The quarter system at NU,” examined an important issue at the heart of the university’s mission—academics—that will affect the entire student body of the university. Unique among the winners with regard to its academic focus, Turner’s article was a thorough overview of a subject under consideration by the administration: the possibility of scheduling fewer classes per student per quarter to allow more experiential learning. Turner went beyond his own campus to report on related experiences of other universities. The facts that Turner laid out could prove helpful to the Northwestern officials making the decision.

Fourth Place
Zach Crizer
Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Ex-felon moves forward
http://www.collegiatetimes.com/stories/17378/ex-felon-moves-forward/print

Judge's comments: “Ex-felon moves forward” was the inspiring story of a graduating student who successfully resumed his academic career and life on “the outside” after spending nearly eight years in prison for his part in a robbery and abduction. Crizer’s article was highly revealing in a personal way, but was also statistically contextualized to present a wider message. It could give hope to prisoners and former prisoners that not only rehabilitation but also life fulfillment is possible. This was a thorough, revealing and—again—inspiring profile.

Fifth Place
Nina Earnest
The Daily Iowan, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Education on hyper drive
http://www.dailyiowan.com/2010/10/28/Metro/19691.html

Judge's comments: “Education on Hyper Drive” was one of those articles that causes a reader to say “Wow!” because of the remarkable facts it brings to light. Earnest, with flawless organizational and writing skill, told the story of four University of Iowa students who are siblings, the oldest of whom turned 16 the day the article was set in time. The article was in fact enhanced by the timely lede: “Today is Gohar Manzar’s 16th birthday.” She is a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering. Her 12-year-old sister and her 11- and 10-year old brothers are all Iowa undergraduates in biochemical engineering. Her 14-year-old brother is in medical school at another university. After the “Wow!” the reader says “How?” and “Why?” and Earnest thoroughly provided the answers and also enriched and contextualized them with research about and examination of the broader issue of academic “radical acceleration.” The point that the subjects are members of an immigrant family who, despite the intellectual talent they offer, have been bounced around by immigration rules, also was made—evenhandedly. Good quotes from teachers, mother and experts. Issue well-defined. Helpful sidebars. This was a great story waiting to be told, and Earnest made the most of the opportunity.

Honorable Mention
Lyell Marks
The Spartan Daily, San Jose State Univ., San Jose, Calif.
Funding delays in YUH improvement
http://www.spartandaily.com/news/funding-asbestos-problems-plague-uchida-hall-improvements-1.2218928

Judge's comments: “Funding delays in YUH improvement” was a commendable attempt by Marks to bring attention to a longstanding campus safety issue, the failure of San Jose State University to rid an academic building of asbestos danger. The article cites a 25-year-old report that called for the “urgent removal” of the asbestos. The article pointed out the role of lack of funding in the delay. Especially helpful was a chart that showed campus-by-campus rankings in capital funding among California state colleges and universities, in terms of funds requested an not fulfilled. The chart showed that San Jose State ranked third from the bottom among 23 institutions. It showed that the top five, with 23.5% of the system’s students, got 48.2% of the money and that the bottom five, with 29.3% of the students, got 5.3% of the money. The chart brilliantly pinpointed the issue. More could have been written to put this into the context of California’s broader state-budget crisis.

Honorable Mention
Holly Worthy, Afsaneh Zaeri
THINK, Drake Univ., Des Moines, Iowa
Bringing back the city

Judge's comments: “Bringing Back the City” was an innovative effort to compare the civic challenges and strategies of two cities, Detroit and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Honorable Mention
Xi Yu, Julie M Zauzmer
The Harvard Crimson, Harvard Univ., Cambridge, Mass.
“And now, we’re here”
http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/5/26/smith-copney-harvard-kirkland-shooting-cosby/

Judge's comments: “And Now, Now We’re Here” was a worthy revisiting of the sad case, which for many probably was fading from memory, of a Harvard student who seemed to have surmounted the challenges of a difficult background to come within two weeks of graduating, only to be expelled because of her entanglement in a campus murder for which her boyfriend is now serving a life sentence. Xi Yu and Julie Zanzmer presented a thought-provoking and compelling narrative of the fall of the promising young woman who, against great odds, had come so close to her goal. Was the expulsion of the student at that point unfair? Was redemption a possibility? The writers answered readers’ such questions by documenting the depth of her involvement in the crime and in her continuing relationship with the killer long after the crime and her punishment by the university. At the time the article was written, the woman was awaiting her own trial in the case. The timeline and key-players graphics were helpful. Interviewing the woman’s high school principal, who had aided and admired her rise, revealed his disappointment in her fall. Very interesting. Very depressing. Well-done. Good detail. Good read.

Honorable Mention
Joseph Lichterman
The Michigan Daily, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
The unexpected return
http://www.michigandaily.com/content/egypt-university-students-affiliates

Judge's comments: In “Unexpected Return,” Lichterman executed a timely localization of an international story, the revolution in Egypt, by interviewing some of the members of the University of Michigan community who were in Egypt when the revolt began, most of whom were able to leave the country.

Honorable Mention
David W. Moody
Flux, Univ. of Oregon, Eugene, Ore.
Braving the bar
http://www.fluxstories.com/2011/06/braving-the-bar-2/

Judge's comments: “Braving the Bar” was a powerfully, often poetically, written account of the dangers facing pilots of ships through the confluence of the Columbia River and the North Pacific. Good lede: All in the first nine paragraphs, Moody drew the reader in with a compelling scene, plunging the reader right into the icy water; provided an excellent explanation of the setting; and put the subject in historical context. The writing was expertly, literately descriptive—artful. One measure of the success of this effort is that a reader who had no knowledge of the subject felt that when he had finished the article he understood the subject thoroughly.

Sports Story

First Place
Rachel Stark
Inside, Indiana Univ., Bloomington, Ind.
Runner’s high
http://www.idsnews.com/news/inside/story.aspx?id=81007&search=%20runner%20s%20high%20§ion=search

Judge's comments: A harrowing story of addiction evocatively written. The story gets at the essence of the athlete's life: the commitment to routine, the exclusion of distraction to achieve excellence or, in the case of this story's subject, survival.

Second Place
Trevor Born, Nate Gotlieb
Minnesota Daily, Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
Sources: Golf coach didn’t get a shot
http://www.mndaily.com/2010/12/01/sources-golf-coach-didn%E2%80%99t-get-shot

Judge's comments: A rarity in college journalism: a well-sourced and convincingly written investigative piece with real bite, exploring an athletic department's hiring practices and decisions.

Third Place
Ryan Kartje
The Michigan Daily, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
They call him Shoelace
http://www.michigandaily.com/content/shoelace-story

Judge's comments: A fine portrait of an athlete told through the medium of his family by an engaged, observant reporter.

Fourth Place
Zach Greenwell
College Heights Herald, Western Kentucky Univ., Bowling Green, Ky.
Close bond with Harbaugh family molded Taggart
http://wkuherald.com/sports/article_a574a904-e2f1-11df-803c-0017a4a78c22.html

Judge's comments: An engaging, in-depth profile of a young man's already long life in college football.

Fifth Place
Elizabeth Navratil
The Pitt News, Univ. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Haywood out as Pitt head coach
http://pittnews.com/newsstory/pitt-football-the-haywood-coaching-rundown/

Judge's comments: Comprehensive, balanced coverage of an important, breaking story; a good piece of sports news journalism.

Honorable Mention
Scott Miller
The Daily Iowan, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Go and catch a falling star
http://www.dailyiowan.com/2010/12/10/Sports/20467.html

Judge's comments: A reporter's personal but balanced account of the rise and fall of a gifted college athlete.

Honorable Mention
Juan Lopez
The Nevada Sagebrush, Univ. of Nevada, Reno, Reno, Nev.
Fighting the odds
http://nevadasagebrush.com/blog/2011/04/04/fighting-the-odds/

Judge's comments: A touching portrait of a young athlete balancing family responsibilities and competitive excellence.

Honorable Mention
Drue Aman
Collegian, South Dakota State Univ., Brookings, S.D.
Inspiring many through every trial
http://www.sdsucollegian.com/2011/03/31/living-to-swim/

Judge's comments: A well-structured, intimate story of an athlete's extraordinary perseverance after a life-threatening illness.

Honorable Mention
Eric Bell
Current, Green River CC, Auburn, Wash.
A broken life
http://www.thecurrentonline.net/sports/a-broken-life-fixed-with-a-little-murder-1.2228086

Judge's comments: Inspiring, artfully written account of the writer's physical and psychological recovery from a devastating accidental injury through an aggressive wheelchair sport.

Honorable Mention
Cody Tucker
Wingspan, Laramie County CC, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Bulls, Broncs & Buckles
http://wingspan.lccc.wy.edu/issues/Mar11/Features/loncey.html

Judge's comments: An insightful profile of a fiercely competitive athlete in a low-profile sport.

Editorial/Opinion

First Place
Jared Rader
The Oklahoma Daily, Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla.
OU selling students out
http://oudaily.com/news/2011/feb/08/our-view-ou-selling-students-out/

Second Place
Rosie Powers
The Daily Illini, Univ. of Illinois, Champaign, Ill.
Time to make final wind turbine decision
http://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2011/04/time_to_make_final_wind_turbine_decision

Third Place
Matthew Schaff
The Pitt News, Univ. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Pitt should set clearer penalties
http://pittnews.com/newsstory/editorial-pitt-should-set-clearer-penalties/

Fourth Place
Staff
The Campus Ledger, Johnson County CC, Overland Park, Kan.
College takes well-deserved lumps on nurse expulsion case

Fifth Place
Arika Herron, Emily Newell
Butler Collegian, Butler Univ., Indianapolis, Ind.
Independence, free speech necessary for student organizations
http://thebutlercollegian.com/?s=Independence%2C+free+speech+necessary+for+student+organizations&x=0&y=0&=Go

Honorable Mention
Angela Oliver
College Heights Herald, Western Kentucky Univ., Bowling Green, Ky.
Playing fair
http://wkuherald.com/opinion/article_28604188-5413-11e0-bd1e-00127992bc8b.html

Honorable Mention
Eric Murphy
Minnesota Daily, Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
Driven to deception
http://www.mndaily.com/2011/03/31/driven-deception

Honorable Mention
Staff
The Pendulum, Elon Univ., Elon, N.C.
Multiculturalism: See beyond the surface
http://www.elon.edu/pendulum/Story.aspx?id=4653

Honorable Mention
Nathan Hatcher
The Campus, Oklahoma City Univ., Oklahoma City, Okla.
Program’s cut forces students to ‘hit the road’

Honorable Mention
Staff
Wingspan, Laramie County CC, Cheyenne, Wyo.
You have to travel nearly to the moon to vote for ASG senators

Judge comments on Editorial/Opinion: When selecting the winners for the Editorial category of the awards, I considered a number of factors before making my decisions. I selected articles that were well-researched and went above-and –beyond when finding statistics, stories, and quotes to support their editorials. Research from both college and university materials and spokespeople as well as research found from outside sources created very strong editorials and backed-up the opinions of the writers. I also looked at articles that covered issues that affected students directly at the local college/university level and illustrated them in a clear and concise way to someone who wasn’t familiar with the issues at-hand. Those articles that demonstrated a specific opinion about the issues being discussed and requested a call for action got my attention as well. I also appreciated editorials where the writers expressed opinions in a fair and sensitive way, rather than resorting to finger-pointing and strong language to get their points across.

Diversity

First Place
Amanda Jonas
Spectrum, State Univ. of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y.
A Shameful Low in Higher Education
http://www.ubspectrum.com/news/a-shameful-low-in-higher-education-1.2156787

Second Place
Jordan Bentz
Flux, Univ. of Oregon, Eugene, Ore.
High desert calling

Third Place
Erin Hurley
Mustang Daily, California Polytechnic State Univ., San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Asking Cal Poly the tough questions about diversity
http://mustangdaily.net/asking-cal-poly-the-tough-questions/

Fourth Place
Cody Newton
Ethos, Univ. of Oregon, Eugene, Ore.
HIV Positive
http://ethosmagonline.com/archives/8496

Fifth Place
Sergio Candido
University Press, Florida Atlantic Univ., Boca Raton, Fla.
Gay & Mad
http://www.upressonline.com/gay-mad-1.2445637

Honorable Mention
Kelcie Moseley
Blot, Univ. of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
Torn

Honorable Mention
Olivia Bobrowsky
The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, Ill.
A program ‘doomed to fail’
http://www.dailynorthwestern.com/in-focus-a-program-doomed-to-fail-1.2364076

Honorable Mention
Jeff Glaze
THINK, Drake Univ., Des Moines, Iowa
People of the big voice

Honorable Mention
Abby Wolner
Drake Magazine, Drake Univ. School of Journalism, Des Moines, Iowa
Putting on the glitz

Honorable Mention
Natalie Bell
The Pitt News, Univ. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.
More to trans than physical transformation
http://pittnews.com/newsstory/more-to-trans-than-physical-transformation/

Judge comments on Diversity Stories: Any of these submissions could win in a major newspaper, unedited. The quality of writing and reporting is astonishing, and the skill and sensitivity used to write about some difficult topics is admirable. A job well done by all!