First place: Lori Kurtzman, The Columbus Dispatch
About this entry: Lori Kurtzman’s tone and attention to detail, whether she’s writing about two brothers who are actively creating a fictional town history or the tragic stories surrounding a group of missing women, makes her features stories shine as examples of excellent reporting.
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Really wonderful stories rich with details that show a lot of reporting behind the scenes. The bright about the mischievous brothers perfectly captured the spirit of their jokes. The story of the missing girls is heartbreaking, especially when you get to the end and learn how small things like a spicy chicken sandwich can be painful reminders of loss. Finally, the profile of the WWII vet deftly wove together two storylines and included that basic tenet of journalism: Get the names of the pets.
Second place: Carrie Seidman, The Herald-Tribune
About this entry: Carrie Seidman’s features stories have the masterful ability to insert readers into the lives of the people represented in her pieces and also serve to teach them about the occasionally unfamiliar topics she discusses. Whether they be about the incredibly involved process of learning to work with a guide dog or the lives of people affected by mental illness, Seidman’s work never fails to make readers think about the lives of others.
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The in-depth coverage of schizophrenia was illuminating. The personal essay really revealed how the illness can affect and surprise a family. When paired with the other stories, the project made for a powerful package that sticks with the reader.
Third place: Chris Anderson, The Herald-Tribune
About this entry: Whether Chris Anderson is writing about people who do good things or just good people, his stories paint poignant pictures of his subjects.
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The profiles are nicely written with interesting details, from descriptions that give a sense of place and person. The story about the cowboy karaoke singer was especially strong in these areas.