Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Society of Professional Journalists announces winners of Sigma Delta Chi Awards

The winners of the Society of Professional Journalists' 2014 Sigma Delta Chi Awards for excellence in journalism have been announced and feature plenty of stories by rural journalists or about ideas important to rural communities.

Newspaper/Wire Service

Winner for Deadline Reporting for non-daily publication went to Ann McCreary and Marcy Stamper of the Methow Valley News for their story about firestorms that raged through the Methow Valley in Northern Washington.

Reuters won for Non-Deadly Reporting for daily circulations of 100,001 or more for its series called "Water's Edge" by Ryan McNeill, Deborah J. Nelson, Duff Wilson, Alister Doyle and Bill Tarrant. The series looked at an increase in flooding on the coastline.

Mary Beth Pfeiffer of the Poughkeepsie Journal won for Non-Deadline Reporting for daily circulation 1-50,000 for "Killers & Pain" about painkiller abuse. Also writing about drug abuse, Jeffrey Gerritt of The Blade won for Editorial Writing for daily circulation of 1-100,000, non-daily, for "Prescription: Addiction."

Winner in Investigative Reporting for non-daily publication was The Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pa., for "Pensions in Peril" by Terrie Morgan-Besecker.

Sam Venable of the Knoxville News Sentinel won for Feature Reporting for daily circulations of 50,001 to 100,000 for "Fragments of Hate," a story about an integration pioneer who was shot in East Tennessee just days after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed.

The Alaska Dispatch News won for Public Service Journalism for daily circulation 50,001 to 100,000 for its series "State of Intoxication: FASD" by Marc Lester, Kyle Hopkins, Patrick Dougherty, Pam Dunlap-Shohl and Anne Raup.

Public Service  Journalism for daily circulation 1-50,000 went to the staff of The Clarion-Ledger for its series "Hard Look at Hard Time," looking at incarceration in Mississippi.

Ashley Powers of The California Sunday Magazine won for Magazine Writing for regional/local circulation for "Their Town," which is about Mormon fundamentalists living on the border of Utah and Arizona.

Consumer Reports won for Public Service in Magazine Journalism for national circulation for “The High Cost of Cheap Chicken” by Christie Aschwanden, Ellen Kunes and Urvashi Rangan.


Maine Public Broadcasting Network won for Breaking News Reporting in 1-100 market or network syndication for its series “Ebola Healthworker Defies Quarantine,” by Patty Wight, Susan Sharon and Mal Leary.

Breaking News Reporting for 101+ market went to Sandy Hausman, Hawes Spencer and Connie Stevens of WVTF Public Radio at Virginia Tech University for “The Disappearance of Hannah Graham" about the missing University of Virginia student.

Sean Sandefur of KMUW 89.1 in Wichita won for Investigative Reporting in 101+ market for “Dangerous Chemical Invades West Wichita Drinking Water” about private water wells contaminated with chemicals.

Grace Hood, of KUNC-FM in Northern Colorado, won in Feature Reporting in 101+ market for “Finding Soldierstone” about a hidden war memorial in a remote part of the Rio Grande National Forest.

Winner of Documentaries in 101+ market was KBIA 91.3 at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., for “Heartland, Missouri” by Abigail Keel, Ryan Famuliner, Janet Saidi and Casey Morell.


For Breaking News Coverage in small markets KRGV-TV in Rio Grande Valley, Texas, won for “Gun Battle in La Joya, Texas” by staff and Jenny Martinez.

WVUE-TV in  New Orleans for Documentaries, small market for “Holding Officials Accountable” by Lee Zurik, Tom Wright, Jon Turnipseed and Greg Phillips.

Public Service in Television Journalism for small market went to WLTX-TV in Columbia, S.C., for “SCDSS: The System Failed” by Clark Fouraker, Jennifer Bellamy, Darci Strickland and Marybeth Jacoby about the death of a child.

Kate Snow of NBC News won Public Service in Television Journalism for network, syndication or program service for “Hooked: America's Heroin Epidemic.”

Online reporting

Stephen Rynkiewicz, David Craig and Casey Bukro of Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists won for online column writing by an independent source.

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