First place: Maria Papadopoulos, The Enterprise

About this entry: Maria’s enterprising reporting submissions focused on local police suicides and cyberbullying. We echo our judges, who said, “These are topics that people generally don’t want to talk about, which is exactly why journalists need to help lead the conversation by setting a fact-based foundation.”

Read online: Silence in the face of local police suicides, Seven police, firefighter suicides hit local departments hard, Family suspects cyberbullying led teen to commit suicide

Follow Maria on Twitter @MariaP_ENT.

Maria Papadopoulos takes on meaty topics with enterprising reporting and compelling writing. She draws on the inherent emotion in these stories without being overly dramatic. These are topics that people generally don’t want to talk about, which is exactly why journalists need to help lead the conversation by setting a fact-based foundation. Well done.

Second place: Joe Markman, formerly of The Enterprise

About this entry: “Joe Markman is a a young newspaper reporter (named Rookie of the Year 2014 by the New England News and Press Association) whose breadth of accomplishment and perceptiveness have enhanced our daily news report in print and in digital media.”

Read online: State reports offer insight into true cost of Brockton water plant deal, Possible regional water authority fits long line of Brockton area water solutions, Brockton mayor pitches $88 million water plant deal, Water contract draining Brockton’s finances, Brockton City Council won’t back down on power plant, Brockton holds the cards after power plant rulings

Water isn’t sexy, but it’s big news when the people managing the city’s drinking-water operation are doing it inefficiently and perhaps negligently. Joe Markman digs deep into places that many folks avoid because, on the surface, they seem dull. But these are pocketbook issues for the community, and readers must appreciate Markman’s diligence in seeking out the facts and his attention to detail.

Third place: Amy L. Knapp, The Independent

About this entry: “Amy teamed with photographer Glen Dettman to illustrate how long it would take for a car to become deadly in the summer sun. The pair placed a thermometer in a car and recorded the rising temperature as the minutes ticked by. Amy talked to local authorities on the matter and reported the statistics.

She explained Ohio’s confusing switch from days to hours for school calendars to help readers understand how long children must be in school each year and how the switch affects calamity days.

When Fairless Local Schools made its fourth levy try last year, Knapp looked in depth at how the district changed its culture to improve student performance, as well as showing where cuts had already been made.”

Read online: 10 minutes to danger: Heat-related deaths in vehicles rise in US, Changes coming next year to school-year calendars

Follow Amy on Twitter @aknappINDE

Amy Knapp takes what could be routine assignments and elevates them with data and visual language that draws in readers. By visual, we mean that she SHOWS rather that tells readers what is happening. Her conversational writing style is a delight.