First place: Eric Detweiler, StarNews Media
About this entry: Eric Detweiler’s sports stories are so much more than just sports stories. Whether writing about a soccer team’s very special youngest member or about college basketball, his stories can appeal to both fans and non-fans alike.
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In terms of range, original reporting and eye for detail, this entry was clearly the leader among a group of competitive entries.
Second place: Devin Golden, Northwest Florida Daily News
About this entry:“The first entry is titled ‘Athletes on the Move’ and is a 12-part series investigating the effect local school districts’ zoning waivers and transfers rules have on local high school sports. It includes statistics, including the number of student-athletes on a ‘zoning waiver’ at each local school, and opens discussion about whether lenient rules for these topics create an unfair playing field across high school sports.
The second entry is titled ‘Homeless Athletes’ and is a three-part series about the topic, from the number in each school district to profile stories about two teenagers who have dealt with homelessness as a high school student-athlete.
The third entry is an enterprise article titled ‘Lewis MS Football’ about a former local middle school football powerhouse. Once the most dominant middle school team in the area, it no longer competes in the prestigious county middle school league due to competitive imbalance created by a shrinking enrollment.” — Devin Golden
Read online: Daily News begins series investigating zoning waivers and high school sports, Transfer of power: Do waiver rules allow for uneven playing field in high school sports?, Niceville is No. 1 landing spot for zoning waivers, even beyond athletics, Transfers versus zoning waivers: All in the timing, Zoning waiver regulations differ for Okaloosa County’s neighboring school districts, Small but mighty: Zoning waivers, high school athletics and Laurel Hill, James found better fit after transfer to Niceville, The ease of recruiting and why the zoning waiver system doesn’t help
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Thoroughly impressed with the series on homeless high school students. Nicely chaptered to give readers an overview of the issue, a personal story of a student-athlete who overcame hardship, and a look at how school officials try to help. The reporter did more than uncover statistics, he put a human face on the issue. Equally ambitious was the series on the impact of student-athlete transfers. realities.
Third place: Katy Bergen, The Herald-Tribune
About this entry: Katy Bergen’s reporting makes readers feel like they know the subjects of her profiles personally and she does well to incorporate further online coverage with her print pieces.
Read online: Rowers break down barriers on the water
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The best reporters put you in the story and make you feel like you know the people being profiled. This was the case in all these entries, especially the piece about the kids being exposed to rowing for the first time. Good reporting in the pentathlon story, telling readers who might be unaccustomed to the sport key details about changes in the competition and how the event might impact the region in the future.