Missouri School of Journalism Announces 2008 Winners of the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards

Columbia, Mo. (Aug. 19, 2008) — The Missouri School of Journalism today revealed the winners of almost $20,000 in prize money and trophies for the 2008 Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards.

The Penney Press
The Penney Press

Judges cited some of the winners with these comments:

  • “…intensely local, aggressively displayed and thoughtfully segmented.”
  • “…the result is revealing – sometimes heartwarming, sometimes shocking, always interesting.”
  • “…the story is dazzling in its conception, executed with extraordinary skill and delivered with authority and sophistication.”

More than 100 newspapers and writers submitted more than 1,100 entries for this 48th year of the contest, originally known as Penney-Missouri. Sponsored and administered by the Missouri School of Journalism, it is the oldest and best-known feature writing and editing competition in American newspapering. Winners receive $1,000 in prize money and a lead crystal vase trophy.

2008 Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards
Winners and Finalists

Regularly Scheduled Feature Supplement

Boston Globe Magazine
Newspaper magazines are on the endangered species list. Most of the survivors are thin in size and content. Then there’s the Boston Globe Magazine. From the clever “Boston Uncommon” miscellany — with a nice mix of clever columns and helpful hints — to the satisfying, full-length features, this could be a stand-alone publication. It stands out in this field for its writing, presentation and imagination. Let’s hope it survives.

2nd Place
West Magazine
Los Angeles Times

3rd Place
Healthy Living
Dallas Morning News

General Excellence Class V

The Washington Post
In the heavyweight division, The Washington Post stands out for the quality of its writing, photography and design. Even more, its lifestyle sections are distinguished for their willingness to tackle serious topics in readable but substantive ways. To take just one example, a Sunday Style section offers, above the fold, an informative profile of Vermont’s Socialist representative in Congress and a moving account of an immigrant family’s struggle to repatriate the remains of a deceased relative. Below the fold, the pace changes with first-person mini profiles and an offbeat essay. This is “lifestyle” defined as broadly as life itself.

2nd Place
The Los Angeles Times

3rd Place
The Denver Post

General Excellence Class IV

The Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Mo.
The Star’s feature sections routinely eschew the routine in favor of imaginative design, lively writing and relevant content. From FYI to A&E to Food, readers find interesting stories and eye-catching presentation. When a special occasion arises, such as the opening of the redesigned Nelson-Atkins art gallery, the Star rises to that occasion with a special section that captures both style and substance. When most newspapers are cutting back and trimming down, the judges were impressed with the Star’s continuing commitment to Kansas City’s life beyond the headlines.

2nd Place
The Seattle Times

3rd Place
The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post

General Excellence Class III

News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.
The News & Record entertains and informs in its lifestyle section. From the significant story about the church members who moved into a neighborhood to be better able to serve their neighbors to a story about online gamers, the content is reported and written well. The photographs are excellent, and the design reaches out to readers by using impact and organization. The content is largely local, and it is supplemented by local columnists.

2nd Place
The Press Democrat
Santa Rose, Calif.

3rd Place
OC Weekly
Santa Ana, Calif.

General Excellence Class II

The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press
The Free Press feature sections are intensely local, aggressively displayed and thoughtfully segmented. That the editors are thinking about how readers can use the information is obvious. They offer a range of topics, from entertainment to lifestyle, from nutrition to the arts. And the bulk of the coverage is reported and written by staff writers. In these days, not many newspapers this size can make that claim.

2nd Place
The Daily Camera
Boulder, Colo.

3rd Place
Herald News
West Paterson, N.J.

General Excellence Class I

The Litchfield County Times, New Milford, Conn.
This old-school publication covers the arts in its area in depth, with seriousness and panache. The Litchfield County Times recognizes that art, in all its forms, is as pervasive and important to its area as snow is to the Colorado high country or wine is to California. In the weekly sections, in the monthly magazine and sometimes on the front pages, the paper treats all the arts as newsworthy and essential to the community. The writing, photography and design work in tandem to produce a quality product that publications many times larger would be proud to claim.

2nd Place
The Independent Weekly
Lafayette, La.

3rd Place
[No third place was selected.]

Health and Fitness

“Coping when all is hopeless,” by Diana Keough, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland
We often read good stories about patients who are coping with dying, but we rarely get to read stories about doctors who are coping with dying patients. Often these doctors are reticent to reveal their feeling about this important work. That is not the case with this story. Dr. Bruce Cohen is a neurologist who cares for patients fighting tumors, cancer, cysts and seizures. The writer got this man to speak candidly about how losing patients affects him – he knows the names of all his patients who have died. This is a wonderful inside look beyond the staid doctor profiles written by a journalist with a talent for telling elegant everyday stories.


  • “A doctor at war,” by Abigail Tucker, The Baltimore Sun.
  • “The high price of keeping Dad alive,” by Laura Meckler, The Wall Street Journal.

Consumer Affairs

“Insurance Companies: Service or Shenanigans?” by Mike Casey, Mark Morris, David Klepper and Chris Oberholtz of the Kansas City Star
Insurance touches everybody — those who are covered, those who are not covered. Nobody likes to buy it; that gives rise to the adage that insurance is always sold, never bought. But once insurance companies and their agents close the sale, do they provide the expected service? Often, the answer is no. This series explores why problems so often arise, then explains what consumers can do to alleviate the damage.


  • “Driving With Rented Risks,” by Alan C. Miller and Myron Levin, Los Angeles Times.
  • “So You Think Your 401(k) Money Is Safe,” by Kathy M. Kristof, Los Angeles Times.
  • “The Magic Number,” by Jared Jacang Maher, Denver Westword.

Myhre Series/Special Sections

“Ninth or Never,” by Ron Matus, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times
Society expresses concern about its children, but journalists rarely chronicle the daily lives of children, focusing instead on youth crime. Ron Matus hung out with ninth graders, focusing on four of them, day after day, for an entire school year. The result is revealing — sometimes heartwarming, sometimes shocking, always interesting.



  • “Basketball by the Book,” by Kristen Hinman, Riverfront Times, St. Louis.
  • “Between Two Families,” by Sonia Nazario, Los Angeles Times.
  • “In a Child’s Best Interests,” by Crocker Stephenson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Myhre Single Story

“Pearls Before Breakfast,” by Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post Magazine
Gene Weingarten makes sweet music with a creative idea and the reporting and writing to do it justice. Weingarten persuaded famed violinist Joshua Bell to play for spare change outside a D.C. Metro stop. Weingarten wanted to see whether anyone would notice it was your average street performer. The precision of the reporting — 43 minutes, 1,097 commuters, $32.17 collected — adds heft to the art with which the author describes the experiment. Weingarten said the arcade “somehow caught the sound and bounced it back round and resonant.” One could say the same about his writing. He has written a masterful tale that offers lessons about the way we live and what we value.


  • “Two Brothers Make a Family,” by Abigail Tucker, The Baltimore Sun.
  • “Alec’s At Bat,” by Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press.

Multicultural Journalism

“Making Up for Lost Time,” by Liza Mundy, The Washington Post Magazine
To defy a U.S. Supreme Court integration order in 1959, the public schools in Prince Edward County, Va., simply closed. Of the many casualties of the civil rights struggle, the black children of Prince Edward are not generally well known. During the five years the schools were closed, the students suffered from more than a lack of educational opportunity. The interruption meant an end to the little social interaction many of these farm children had as well as long-term damage to their prospects and sense of self worth, as Mundy powerfully describes. More than 40 years later, an innovative scholarship program to redress these wrongs has brought many of these children, now well into middle age, back into the classroom again. This finely crafted story tells us about these students — who they were, who they became and what a second chance at school means to them.


  • “Return to Africa,” by Leonard Pitts Jr., The Miami Herald.
  • “The Clash of Two Cultures in an Onion Field,” by Brian Feagans, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • “Team for Life,” by Denise Watson Batts, The Virginian-Pilot.

Best Short Feature

“His life’s work offered shelter from the cold,” by Tracey O’Shaughnessy, The Republican-American, Waterbury, Conn.
A moving eulogy for a priest who served Waterbury’s poor and vulnerable, this story reads like a warm embrace. While Tracey O’Shaughnessy captures the voices of those whose lives Father Cascia touched, it is her eloquent, even tender, prose that moves the story beyond a mere recounting of one man’s life to a vivid portrait of who he was.


  • “On her own two wheels,” by Michael Kruse, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
  • “Satin and lace,” by Abigail Tucker, The Baltimore Sun.
  • “The Lonely Peach Tree on Peachtree,” by Rosalind Bentley, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Fashion and Design

“Rags to Riches: A global industry is built on mountains of old clothes,” by Paula Bock, The Seattle Times
The project followed a bag of clothing from dropoff at the Salvation Army to the local thrift shop and into the channels of the global rag trade where unsold items end up in bales for shipment to ports in Africa, Asia, South America and Indonesia. Writer Paula Bock took great care to trace 78 garments from owner to buyer as an illustration of the fascinating journey clothes make after they are discarded. Her absorbing story was layered with meticulously gathered details, from the amount of clothing each American dumps per year (68 pounds) to the number of Italian recycling mills in Panipat, India (400). Bock enriches the story by using a beloved embroidered sweater as a dominant thread, moving it through the narrative from home to store to container ship to shredder. So powerful is the technique that the sweater’s final destination crushes the reader as well. The story is dazzling in its conception, executed with extraordinary skill and delivered with authority and sophistication. It is a first-rate example of what attentive reporting and elegant writing can accomplish.


  • “Marvel or monster?” by Bettijane Levine and Craig Nakano, Los Angeles Times.
  • “Saving Ungaro,” by Carolyne Zinko, San Francisco Chronicle.

Arts and Entertainment

“The sorrow and the sparrow,” by Inara Verzemnieks, The Oregonian, Portland
Verzemnieks takes a complex profile of a man who saved a baby bird outside his home and then explains that tiny but life-changing redemption that lifts him out of depression and writer’s block. The journalist’s skills help readers understand the underlying desires of this man; her ability to get beyond the glib to the poetic makes this the best story in the arts and entertainment category. It delves into the confusion of depression, the poverty of freelance writing and takes this subject from devastation to the nomination for an Oregon Book Award. But the story doesn’t end there: as the writer says, “We must tell the stories we have, not the ones we wish we had. And so here it is. The delight. The sadness.” The writer’s life ended under murky circumstances, but Verzemnieks was able to help us understand this incredibly fragile life.


  • “God. Country. Branson,” by Chad Garrison, Riverfront Times, St. Louis.
  • “Hallowed Sound,” by Sean Daly, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
  • “Round up the usual suspects,” by David Stabler, The Oregonian, Portland.
  • “Dividing Lines,” by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, The Wall Street Journal.
  • “Getting to Know Garry Trudeau. Finally,” by Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post Magazine.

Food and Nutrition

“A Scorching Future: Global warming is altering the world wine map,” by Corie Brown, Los Angeles Times
This groundbreaking story analyzes in considerable depth the threat of climate change to the fragile wine industry, critical both to the economy and reputation of California as a world-class producer. Corie Brown writes that climatologists predict warming trends by mid-century will push wine-growing regions toward the poles, cooler coastal zones and higher elevations. Her remarkable story is a warning that the optimal conditions yielding California’s high-quality wines today may be quite different in 50 years. The climate may, in fact, no longer be suited to the grapes now grown there. Brown bases her research on interviews with scientists; their studies and a portfolio of data sets to show how environmental shifts will redraw California’s wine map and affect growing patterns and taste. Her report is informed and skillfully presented, one that makes a substantial contribution to the knowledge base of this important industry in her state. Brown’s story is even-handed, engaging and smart. It is the type of excellent work by journalists who gather crucial information at precisely the right time, to promote discussion, shift thinking and make a difference.


  • “This is the face of fine dining: East, West coast chefs are squealing for tantalizing, higher-fat pork from Iowa,” by Tom Perry, Des Moines (Iowa) Register.
  • “Pot of Gold: Joseph Brodsky has a nose for great coffee,” by Joel Warner, Denver Westword.

Updated: April 28, 2020

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