First place: Frank Mulligan, Wareham Courier

About this entry: Frank’s news writing submissions exposed a community’s grief in the wake of a tragic loss, as well as covered the recreation of local militia facing off against British troops nearly two hundred years ago.

Read online: A village grieves: Rally for Peace held in wake of slaying in Wareham

In the category of news writing, Frank Mulligan stands above the rest when it comes to the writing. With colorful detail and conversational tone, he virtually compels readers to pick up his stories. Well done.

Second place: Shelly Conlon, Waxahachie Daily Light

About this entry: “In 2014, Shelly Conlon produced a series of articles on a 20-year old cold case involving the unsolved 1984 murders of Robbie Biggar and Kasey Roberts, examining the suspects, law enforcement’s inability to solve the case and the need of the families to find closure. Additionally, Shelly also covered the breaking news stories of a Waxahachie ISD school bus rollover with several students injured and bomb threats against the school district.”

Read Shelly’s Homicides series online: Part 1, Part 2

Follow Shelly on Twitter @ShellyConlonWDL

Shelly Conlon takes a good story and tells it well. Some writers have a knack for getting in the way of a good story. Conlon gets out of the way and lets the story unfold.

Third place: Rebecca Hyman, Mansfield News

About this entry: “We broke this story about the Mansfield superintendent of schools being accused by students of plagiarizing a graduation speech. Our side-by-side, passage-by-passage comparison of the two speeches seemed to catch the attention of school officials, who had been playing down the allegations. Ultimately, the superintendent stepped down. We were trying to shine a light on the controversy, not taking sides, but getting the facts out so people could judge for themselves.”

Read online: Debate over Mansfield school superintendent’s speech, Mansfield superintendent resigns over speech controversy

Follow Rebecca on Twitter @rebeccahymanWL

Rebecca Hyman found a really good story – a cheating superintendent – and wrote it well. And followed soon after with the story about the superintendent’s resignation. That’s not only good news writing, but also a public service.