First place: Michael Gorman, Houma Today

About this entry: The subjects of Michael Gorman’s editorial pieces have a lot of explaining to do. Whether it’s those who would argue for a religious freedoms bill that critics say unfairly (and pointlessly) targets gay people, or the local constable who has actively defended his use of racist language under the guise of it being his “personal business,” Gorman carefully educates readers on local issues while giving his opinion of them.

Read online: Don’t forget the facts, Reject religious objections bill, Racism has no place in public office

Follow Michael on Twitter @mikegormanla

These editorials clearly stood out for their moral clarity, strong use of evidence and persuasive language. They tackle difficult and sensitive subjects forthrightly in a way that serves readers well.

Second place: Robert Downen, Pekin Daily Times

About this entry: Robert Downen’s editorials cover a range of local issues from the importance of local businesses taking all precautions to protect workers to the troubles exhibited by local government in making a positive impact on the community.

Read online: You can’t put a price on workers’ lives, Dilapidation, eyesores on the rise in Pekin, Pekin City Council needs to get things moving

Follow Robert on Twitter @Robert_Downen

Robert Downen’s editorials frame issues of importance to the community in a way that will get readers’ attention. It’s not easy to make a case for cutting down the opportunities for public input at a city council meeting, for example, but he pulls it off.

Third place: Michael Crumb, Ames Tribune

About this entry: Michael Crumb’s editorials encompass public safety, city infrastructure and the effect that local ordinances have had on area business owners.  

Read online: Secondhand goods ordinance needs to be scrapped, Time has come to extend Grand Avenue, More safety needed at uncontrolled intersections

Follow Michael on Twitter @MJCrumb

Mike Crumb’s work gets below the surface of the issues facing his community, from a controversial pipeline to a pair of senseless traffic deaths. His solid reporting elevates them and gives them meaning for readers.