First place: Nick Dumont, The Gaston Gazette

About this entry: “Last year I wrote a profile of local home-brewers, a roller derby feature, and a profile of a young farmer.

These stories seem very different on the surface, but they’re all are similar in that they highlight unknown members of the community. The local roller derby team was a juggernaut obliterating teams in rinks across North Carolina, yet most members of our community had never heard of them. The young farmer was trying to break into a weekly marketplace where all the other farmers were at least twice his age. And the home-brewers were the most unknown of all, hiding away in garages and sheds while making beer in homemade contraptions.” — Nick Dumont

Read online: The Green Rookie, Jam Session, Home Brewed Hops

Follow Nick on Twitter @nick_dumont

This package of stories show a keen eye for details that help bring stories to life. Nick Dumont aims to show, not just tell – whether it’s about home brewing or roller derby. The people of each story have a passion, and Dumont strives to paint a picture of that passion.

Second place: Marc Munroe Dion, The Herald News

About this entry: Marc Munroe Dion’s talent as a storyteller comes through in his features. Whether reporting on events of the past, like in his piece that tells the personal histories of former Fall River residents through a collection of mugshots, or on events of the present, like his story about church bells, his penchant for drawing readers into his stories is remarkable.

Read online: Fewer church bells are ringing in Fall River, but some are trying to change that, Crutches at Saint Anne’s Church a testimonial, Fall River Historical Society has collection of early 20th-century mugshots

Follow Marc on Twitter @MARCMDION

These entries show a talent for being able to put stories in context of the times, whether it’s past or present. Marc Dion writes with an engaging, easy and confident voice that can give a universal feel to a short story about left-behind crutches of those who have been healed through prayer.

Third place: Chip Womick, The Courier-Tribune

About this entry: Chip Womick tells interesting stories about interesting people, including a former professional boxer with a passion for training young talent, a man whose father was presented with the Purple Heart by Helen Keller and of a local singer who has made it her mission to keep dogs from being left on chains.

Read online: The spirit of boxing lives within, Randolph singer Donna Hughes targets dogs on chains, Hellen Keller, the Marine, and a Purple Heart

Follow Chip on Twitter @ChipWomickCT

Interesting stories of interesting people make this entry stand out. Particularly the one about the boxer who continues to volunteer as trainer. That story was able to capture the former’s boxer’s spirit of giving.