First place: Barbara Peters Smith, The Herald-Tribune

About this entry: “When ‘The Kindness of Strangers: Inside Elder Guardianship in Florida’ was published and posted online, Herald-Tribune readers were dismayed to learn how easily a citizen’s rights can be taken away and given to somebody else, for life. After the series’ publication, Smith heard from nearly two dozen more victims of the guardianship system, each asking her to tell their personal stories of abusive or predatory guardianship. The publication has sparked debate within the guardianship community and helped propel bills in the Florida Legislature designed to reform the system.”

Read online: Guardianship

Follow Barbara on Twitter @BarbaraPSmith

Every journalist should want to be connected to a project like this. It has outrage, pathos, characters. It reveals a terribly abusive state-sanctioned system. It pushes for change. It is clearly written. Bravo.

Second place: Carrie Seidman, The Herald-Tribune

About this entry: Carrie Seidman’s talent shines in her vivid, enchanting features. She writes with grace in a series following a ballet dancer’s journey to compete in Havana.

Read Home to Havana online here

Follow Carrie on Twitter @CarrieSeidman

If ties could be awarded, this would share first place. It is a riveting tale, beautifully written with sumptuous photographs. The story hangs in the reader’s mind for days, bringing a smile in the memory of the warm characters so richly brought to life.

Third place: Justine Griffin, formerly of The Herald-Tribune

About this entry: Justine’s submission is a first-person narrative of egg donation, in which she chronicled the process and procedure in extensive detail.

Read online: Cost of Life

Competition in this category is fierce, but this entry gets the nod for third place in part because it tackles a unique subject and provides a public service for anyone considering a similar path. The writer holds nothing back in her narration, offering the reader an intimate access to her thoughts and experiences. An unusual, successful approach.