Food & Nutrition
“The Weight” by Michael Leahy of The Washington Post
A powerful piece whose sheer storytelling enlightens and terrifies us with a look at the psychological, physical and economic factors of America’s obesity epidemic. The story takes us into the lives dominated by the disaster of overweight and the failed attempts to lose that weight. It documents the problem’s society-wide effects. Still, the story’s major attribute is introducing us to characters whose struggle is all too real and, often all too impossible.
- “Good Kids, Bad Blood” by Lauren Gard of East Bay Express
- “The Hepatitis Outbreak” by the Hepatitis Team of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- “Harvest of Pain” by Vince Beiser of L.A. Weekly
“Sending Black Babies North” by Gabrielle Glaser of The Oregonian
In this age of adoption frenzy and the long waiting lists, Gabrielle Glaser brings us a surprising story about Canadians who are adopting African-American babies from the United States. The story was done with sensitivity and bravery. She explains the underlying issues with exceptional skill and manages to help readers understand how this is happening.
- “Companies Sell Details on Millions of Children” by Jolayne Houtz of The Seattle Times
- “A Closer Look at Dillard’s” by Margaret Downing and Bob Burtman of Houston Press
- “Portland’s $1.2 billion Plumbing Bill” by Spencer Heinz of The Oregonian
Fashion & Design
“Think Pink” by Sarah Hepola of the Dallas Observer
Oh no, not another Mary Kay story. That’s what we thought as we began judging this piece, but as we read we were engaged with the style (not too confrontational, but hard-hitting) and enamored with all the characters and ideas. Hepola has taken a story many people have done and made it ring with inside information and detailed background that helps readers understand the inner workings of the Mary Kay cosmetic empire.
- “Free Enterprise” by Booth Moore of the Los Angeles Times
- “Suit Yourself” by Teri Agins of The Wall Street Journal
Health & Fitness
“Fighting for Life on Level 3” by Tom Hallman, Jr. of The Oregonian
Hallman takes readers inside a ward of the hospital that is seldom seen by anyone other than the patients, staff and parents. This ward is where premature babies are tended in a high-tech, high-anxiety atmosphere by staff hovering over the patients. “Death stalks this place,” Hallman writes. He first had to penetrate the hospital bureaucracy to gain trust, and then spent nine months reporting. The result is a non-fiction book. The reporting is outstanding; the writing is extraordinary. This is journalism at its highest level.
- “Risky RX” by Chris Adams and Alison Young of Knight Ridder, Washington Bureau
- “Raising Austin” by Peter Perl of The Washington Post
- “The heart of the (gray) matter” by Joel Davis of Sacramento News & Review
Arts & Entertainment
“Finding Her Voice” by Jonathan Pitts of The Baltimore Sun
This story of tragedy and triumph never strikes a false note. Jonathan Pitts reveals the life of a rising star of classical music, a young Korean-American woman whose perfect life was shattered when her husband was murdered. Sensitive but not syrupy, the story takes readers from happiness to despair and back. We see the healing power of music and of love. We see what the young singer and her family are convinced is the hand of God. In a strong category, this work stands out.
- “Spencer Reece is at your service” by Charles Passy of Palm Beach Post
- “Do You Know Where Your Children Are?” by Liza Mundy of The Washington Post
- “What they do for love” by Bill Duryea of the St. Petersburg Times
“A Place Where Children Die” by Brent Walth, Julie Sullivan and Kim Christensen of The Oregonian
“A Place Where Children Die” is a powerful combination of investigative reporting and storytelling, both verbal and visual. This team of reporters spent months unraveling the mystery of the abnormally high death rate among children on the isolated Warm Spring Indian Reservation. They discovered a pattern of abuse and neglect, abetted by secrecy and a lack of concern among those with the power to stop the horror. They pried loose records and persuaded reluctant, sometimes frightened, sources to tell their stories.The result is a series that stirs the reader’s emotions and has stirred leaders to action. As seems fitting in a multi-cultural category, the finalists cover a range of subjects from the tale of a deeply religious spelling-bee winner to a portrait of the winter resort of the Amish to an investigation into the deaths of Mexican immigrants.
- “Breakfast of Champions” by Mike Seely of the Riverfront Times
- “A Piece of Paradise” by Christopher Evans of The Plain Dealer
- “Doors to Death” by Pauline Arrillage of the Associated Press
Best Short Feature
“Meet Nina. She needs a new last name.” by Patrick Beach of the Austin American-Statesman
Patrick Beach’s feature examines the fallout from a common occurrence: divorce. What name should a woman assume after divorcing a husband whose name she assumed previously? The topic is not cataclysmic. It will not alter society in some profound way. But naming inside and outside marriage is symbolic, if not cataclysmic. Beach addresses his subject matter with wit, occasional irony, and just the right amount of seriousness. Nina is divorcing a man with the last name of Godfrey, so Beach tells us to call her Nina Godfreynomore. Nina has decided against returning to her maiden name of Peterschmidt. What name will she choose? Beach keeps our attention until the appropriately inconclusive final sentence.
- “They call themselves an odd couple” by Marianne Costaninou of the San Francisco Chronicle
- “America was his dream” by April Johnson of the Beaver County Times
- “Physics class, day one: prof as force of nature” by Phil Walzer of the Virginian-Pilot
Paul L. Myhre Single Story
“Sitting Tall/Joe Hamilton may spend lots of time of the bench, but he’s still a player.” by Wil Haygood of The Washington Post
Wil Haygood has captured the essence of a marginal high school basketball player who wants nothing more than to be accepted as part of the team despite his limited role. As Haygood develops this sports-related profile, he also captures inner-city life on the basketball court, in the school hallways, during classes and at the home of Hamilton’s grandmother, acting as surrogate mother. The narrative eschews sensationalism and reductionism, instead promoting a nuanced, sensitive look at everyday life. The narrative tension is resolved skillfully and memorably.
- “All-Consuming Love” by Michele Roberts of The Oregonian
- “The black and white world of Walter Plecker” by Warren Fiske of the Virginian-Pilot
- “Sister of Mercy” by Clay Latimer of Rocky Mountain News
Paul L. Myhre Series/Special Section
“Special Report: No Child Left Behind” by Stephanie Banchero of the Chicago Tribune
As seen through the eyes of a 9-year-old girl, the ambitious and controversial federal educational experiment is an odyssey of transitions and long commutes, opportunities and obstacles. Banchero’s immersion in the world of Victoria Carwell offers readers the details and nuance that are so often missing in analyses of public policy. But this is more than an account of the ways in which third grade differs from good school to bad school. Banchero artfully weaves in perspectives from past research and present day policymakers, deepening the narrative and satisfying the reader’s appetite for more than just information.
- “Castaway Children: The Hidden Faces of Poverty” by Barbara Walsh of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram
- “Dancing in the Twilight” by Ellen Gamerman of The Baltimore Sun
- “Blue Mob” by Aina Hunter of Cleveland Scene
Regularly Scheduled Feature Supplement
Variety FreeTime from the Star Tribune
The pages of this 28-page section are jammed from front to back with locally produced copy about the arts throughout the Minneapolis region. The critics are knowledgeable, the writers have voice. There is a tone throughout that is authoritative but fun. The designers do a wonderful job of packaging the presenting the information with a tone that is consistent with the copy and photographs. This section is smartly written and smartly produced.
San Francisco Chronicle Magazine
Savor Wine Country Magazine from The Press Democrat
General Excellence, Class I
Narrative writing and good sidebars in the story on teen-age mothers made this section stand out. A story on the lasting effects of being confined to intensive care offered readers a less well-trodden subject.
General Excellence, Class II
The Post-Star (Glen Falls, NY)
Kudos, kudos, kudos. Given the paper’s size and resources, this was one of the best entries in ALL categories. Strong local coverage-including local commentary-is definitely one of its pluses. Good writing is another attribute. But what truly shines is this staff’s attempt to find fresh story topics-such as the pain of a wait staff that has to continually sing happy birthday to disgruntled patrons. Even when the ideas were mundane, the section manages to give most at least a slight twist that added zest.
Extra pizzazz in some layouts and a couple of good story angles put this section ahead. “Canaries in a coal mine,” which covers the chemically sensitive is one example of the latter and the MP3 layout is an example of the former.
General Excellence, Class III
Portland Express Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram
Excellent inside pages, subdued but strong layout and a fun back page are all praiseworthy. A high story count also means that the reader has lots to pick from.
Let’s hear it for lively covers, good design, nice use of typography. This section may also claim a high percentage of local coverage, both on the front and inside. Its inside pages are also given a lot of attention, a situation not found in many much bigger papers.
Anchorage Daily News
A special creative writing contest and section are noteworthy. An attempt at in-depth coverage that addresses the Patriot Act in another plus.
General Excellence, Class IV
The lifestyle sections of The Virginian-Pilot convey a warm sense of place from the perspective of an intelligent insider. Whether the subject is the native music of Virginia’s mountains, movies to chill the blood or home cooking to warm the stomach, the staff uses words and pictures to tell delightful stories and convey useful information. The “Daily Break” provides just what its name promises — a welcome change of pace from the hard news that necessarily dominates a good newspaper. There is more “life” than “style” in the subjects chosen, but plenty of style in the writing and presentation. What distinguishes these winners is this combination of sense of place and utility. Good writing and photography help, too, of course.
Kansas City Star
General Excellence, Class V
Los Angeles Times
A great newspaper should have something for everybody. That’s certainly true of the lifestyle coverage of the Los Angeles Times. The Calendar section alone would deserve an award. But it’s not alone. The magazine, Travel, Review, Home, Health, Outdoors — all are rich with good ideas, solid reporting, satisfying writing. Presentation isn’t flashy, for the most part, but it is clear and attractive. The Times devotes major resources to its lifestyle coverage. That investment yields strong dividends for readers.
San Francisco Chronicle
Updated: April 7, 2020