Staff, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Justice Delayed, Dismissed, Denied”
Judge’s Comments: Wide-ranging coverage of the sad state of the Philadelphia justice system. Solid reporting, attention to detail and excellent writing. Calls attention to a problem that affects everyone, in one way or another.
Matt Katz, Philadelphia Inquirer
“The Promise and the Price: How the State Takeover Foiled Camden”
Judge’s Comments: Very well-written and documented set of stories about how a state’s takeover of a city did more harm than good.
Danielle Lynch, Daily Local News of West Chester
“Tails of Cruelty”
Judge’s Comments: Very interesting and illuminating stories about how badly animals are treated and how some people come to the rescue and save them. Sad, but with a glimmer of hope.
Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker, Philadelphia Daily News
Judge’s Comments: What started out as an interesting tale of how a police officer and a confidential informant grew too close evolved into a series of stories uncovering a rogue band of police officers who literally terrorized the communities they were entrusted to protect. Each story seemed to reveal facts and characters that helped uncover the next story. With its deep research, sourcing and storytelling, the work of Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker serves as a model for police, crime and courts reporters. And by revealing the atrocities committed by these officers, the investigation should serve as a warning for every big city police department to effectively police their own.
Mark Fazlollah and Joseph Tanfani, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Tax Travesty Chaos and Cronyism Inside the BRT”
Judge’s Comments: Mark Fazlollah and Joseph Tanfani completely undress the Board of Revision of Taxes, showing just how broken and dysfunctional Philadelphia’s assessment system is—and has been. Their reporting provides a tremendous public service by exposing just how politicized board appointments and assessment decision had become—and those moves ultimately cheated the city’s taxpayers out of tens of millions of dollars.
Richard Rys, Philadelphia Magazine
“Sins of the Father”
Judge’s Comments: Richard Rys delivers a gripping account of the sexual abuse committed by a priest that destroyed the lives of a teenage boy and his parents. It’s the kind of reporting and writing that pulls you in, breathes life into the characters portrayed and truly illustrates the pain, suffering and loss that often results from sexual abuse but is rarely seen in news accounts of such crimes.
Ongoing News Coverage (circulation more than 75,000)
Craig R. McCoy and Emily Lounsberry, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Guilty on All Counts”
Judge’s Comments: Amazing story about a politician caught with his hand in too many cookie jars. Excellent writing, reporting and meticulous attention to detail over the time this story was covered really made it stand out. Together, the stories read like a non-fiction bestseller.
Kitty Caparella, Philadelphia Daily News
“Piazza at Schmidts Murders”
Judge’s Comments: Well-written and extensive coverage of murders that show the seamier side of a well-known party planner’s life, one that ended in violence. Great detail and research.
Ronnie Polaneczky, Philadelphia Daily News
“Valley Swim Club”
Judge’s Comments: Well-balanced coverage of a controversial story about race and community life. Told the story from several angles, while remaining fair and above the fray. The writer also told the story from the view of those who really were affected by the incident: the kids who were supposed to go to camp at the swim club.
Ongoing News Coverage (circ. less than 75,000)
Jennifer Miller, Dan Kristie and Anne Pickering, Daily Local News of West Chester
“City on Fire”
Judge’s Comments: A well-written account of a series of arson fires and how the fires affected those whose homes burned and the rest of the community. It was covered over many months, with consistent excellence by the writers.
Staff, Philadelphia Business Journal
Judge’s Comments: A wide-ranging look at how the federal stimulus funds will help and sometimes not help the city. It was especially good in looking how the money would help small business and the local area in general. Well done.
Paul Luce, Delaware County Daily Times
“Glenolden Guardsman in Dubai Prison.”
Judge’s Comments: Interesting story about the guardsman in jail in Dubai. The articles are very good at detailing his ordeal and how it was resolved. The cover sheet also explains some of the back story and how the reporter contributed to Michael Goslin’s release. The reader also learns a lot about his young family at home and what they went through. Good stories, good writing.
Deadline or Spot News Story (circ. more than 75,000)
Staff, Philadelphia Daily News
Judge’s Comments: The extraordinary work and effort of the entire staff shines in this effort. Every possible angle of the story was covered in a very short turnaround. Very well done!
Staff, The Morning Call
“Obama Stops By”
Judge’s Comments: Excellent job in covering a very comprehensive trip by the president. The Morning Call staff left nothing uncovered.
Bernard Fernandez, Philadelphia Daily News
“Never Had a Prayer”
Deadline or Spot News Story (circ. less than 75,000)
Staff, Bucks County Courier Times
“Officer’s Life Cut Short” et al.
Judge’s Comments: This was a wonderful illustration of how many possible angles and stories can come from one event and how it can touch so many people in many different ways. Congratulations on a job well done!
Staff, Delaware County Daily Times
Judge’s Comments: A very comprehensive piece, worthy of reward.
Cindy Scharr and Rose Quinn, Delaware County Daily Times
“Double Shooting Horror”
Judge’s Comments: A great piece of journalism that answers as many of the questions that will ever be answered in a story of this nature. It covers everything from beginning to end and the sidebars in between.
Mark Kram, Philadelphia Daily News
“Picking Their Brains”
Judge’s Comments: Well-written and fascinating, this story’s kick-ass lede, conversational storytelling voice and stellar reporting kept my attention through three reads. I also enjoyed the sidebars, which added depth and expertise to a topic good enough for a medical journal, but broken down for the layman.
Lini S. Kadaba, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: Great, timely topic. “Dark green.” Love it. Kadaba has a gift for description and an eye for the details that bring a story to life.
Melissa Dribben, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Just a Day’s Work for a Hero”
Judge’s Comments: It could not have been easy to get this officer to open up about his tragedy – especially when due to previous media coverage. This was a very nice profile that showed excellent reporting chops. Loved that you reported that he “downed” a multivitamin before going to work that day. Details win awards.
Non-deadline Writing (circ. more than 75,000)
Carolyn Davis, Philadelphia Inquirer
“The Hidden Home Front”
Judge’s Comments: A piercing look at a side of war often overlooked, painstakingly reported and elegantly written.
Kia Gregory, Philadelphia Inquirer
“A daunting struggle for a future”
Judge’s Comments: An ageless take on, alas, an ageless problem.
Dan Geringer, Philadelphia Daily News
“Home Court Advantage”
Judge’s Comments: An important story, solidly reported and solidly written.
Non-deadline Writing (circ. 40,000 – 75,000)
Kathleen Carey, Delaware County Daily Times
“Live from Iraq”
Judge’s Comments: Really clean and clear writing that brought the reader there and evoked empathy for all involved. One of the few articles or series of articles on this topic. Held my attention from start to finish.
Jo Ciavaglia, Bucks County Courier Times
“When Health Insurance Ends”
Judge’s Comments: A must-read for workers who face job loss and for those who don’t see it coming. Good information that should make more people pay attention to what’s going on with health care reform.
John Anastasi, Bucks County Courier Times
“Green Energy Pitfalls”
Judge’s Comments: Interesting angles to developing fields that are seen, at least superficially, to be mainly positive.
Non-deadline Writing (circ. less than 40,000)
Danielle Lynch, Daily Local News of West Chester
“Tails of Cruelty”
Judge’s Comments: Extensive research is obvious. Difficult subject approached with a fresh and compelling angle. The segment regarding Michael Vick was appropriately not focused on the celebrity, but the animals themselves.
Jennifer Miller and Dan Kristie, Daily Local News of West Chester
“Arson Crisis 6 Months Later”
Judge’s Comments: This series reflects beautifully the aftermath of a tragedy and how a community seeks to come to terms with it. Compelling info and a plethora of facts are values.
Staff, Jewish Exponent
“Tough Times Hit Home”
Judge’s Comments: Fantastic topic selection. Series reflected the challenges and humiliations felt by subjects as a result of the economic crisis.
Monica Yant Kinney, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: Best in a crowded field of very good local columnists. Yant Kinney’s entry is a well-rounded selection of columns that represents the breadth a local columnist should strive for: thundering against corruption in the Fumo columns; poking holes in hypocrisy and advocating for the voiceless in the Michael Vick piece; highlighting a colorful and beloved local institution in the Shirt Corner feature. Nice work on all.
Karen Heller, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: Heller has an enviable ear for a finely-turned phrase, which she brings to bear in this strong collection of columns that call out government officials at all levels for things they are doing that they shouldn’t and things they aren’t doing but should. Well-reported and excellently written.
Gil Spencer, Delaware County Daily Times
Judge’s Comments: Spencer’s column on the Ponzi scheme is well-done, but he is at his best here as a contrarian in controversial cases that most columnists tend to avoid, such as that of Albert Silveri III, accused of using his computer to solicit child rape. His columns are well-argued, and Spencer is to be applauded for his courageous choice of subjects.
Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker, Philadelphia Daily News
“Dreams in Ruins”
Judge’s Comments: Ruderman and Laker document how a developer’s real estate scheme cheated a lot of real people and how the scam decimated a neighborhood. It’s also clear the authorities are paying attention, since planned sheriff’s sales were postponed after the first story hit. Excellent reporting, stories well told and a community served–journalism at its finest.
Jane M. Von Bergen and Alfred Lubrano, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Jobs–At a Loss”
Judge’s Comments: Only newspapers can go to this depth in exploring how the recession has vaporized jobs and how that has hurt the region and the state. These stories over eight months graphically show how the recession has affected people and raises the pertinent questions and issues that policymakers should consider.
Maria Panaritis, Philadelphia Inquirer
“How he rescued Boscov’s”
Judge’s Comments: This is how to do a profile, business or otherwise. Telling stories shared by a variety of people who know Al Boscov help everyone better understand the man who through force of will seized his family’s business from the brink. Combined with apt facts, this was a great read.
Health and Science Story
Michel Vitez, Philadelphia Inquirer
“That Boy’s Dead”
Judge’s Comments: Amazing story of young man’s recovery against all odds. Well-written, well-documented and a great read. Lots of attention to medical detail, as well.
Jo Ciavaglia, Buck County Courier Times
“Handcuffed by Health Care”
Judge’s Comments: Interesting series of stories about how hard it is to care for ill prisoners. Solid reporting about the economic and human costs.
Tara Murtha, Philadelphia Weekly
“Shot Through the Heart”
Judge’s Comments: A story that opened my eyes to the dangers of much-hyped immunization. Well-written with a compelling human side.
Thomas Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Inquirer
“The Mood on Main Street”
Judge’s Comments: Thomas Fitzgerald provides an up close and personal look at the personal nature of politics today, how the economy crisis has touched so many and how those experiences have shaped—and changed—the way many everyday people view politics and our current president. Political reporting deserves reporting of this depth because our political landscape is so varied, so complex and ever changing.
Catherine Lucey, Philadelphia Daily News
“You’ve come a short way, baby”
Judge’s Comments: Kudos to Catherine Lucey and the Philadelphia Daily News for giving space and time to discuss one of the most overlooked and underreported stories of our time: the lack of women in prominent government positions.
John Baer, Philadelphia Daily News
“Speech Had a Familiar Ring”
Judge’s Comments: An incisive commentary and analysis of President Obama’s foreign policy in Afghanistan. Obama said all the right things during his campaign, but John Baer highlights how the president has wavered since his election and reminds us how similar promises were made before—and not kept.
Sports Story (circ. more than 75,000)
Mike Jensen, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Tackling the Pain”
Judge’s Comments: Mike Jensen takes a comprehensive look at how a former Eagles lineman became addicted to painkillers and ended up facing criminal charges over forged prescriptions. The story tells readers the lengths that some players will go in order to play in the NFL.
Steve Esack, The Morning Call
“Yard by Yard”
Judge’s Comments: Steve Esack provides many details and insights to readers as he tells them of the efforts of a coach from California to revive the football program at an inner city high school in Allentown. His work goes beyond what happens during the games and shows the value of spending time following the subjects through practices and meetings.
E. James Beale, City Paper
Judge’s Comments: Beale’s story on a Temple player’s days leading up to the NBA draft is full of good observations and background that give readers a sense of the anxiety he faced after years of work to exceed expectations. A well-written story with fine use of multiple sources.
Sports Story (circ. less than 75,000)
John Lohn, Delaware County Daily Times
“Taking the Plunge”
Judge’s Comments: Inspiring story about a young man who swims competitively even though he is blind, and in fact, has no eyes at all. Wow. Tells the story without pity but with empathy.
Dave Zeitlin, Daily Local News of West Chester
“Lining up on the Right Side of History”
Judge’s Comments: Compelling story about the first openly gay football captain. Well-written and it really drew me in. I had no idea this guy existed before reading the piece. I am glad to know about him.
Jerry Reimenschneider and Julie Pelcher Cohen, Reading Eagle
“Running Toward the Light”
Judge’s Comments: Inspiring and well-written story about a young man who is a track star but has had a hard time in life and troubled past. He has succeeded despite some terrible tragedies. You really end up pulling for him to succeed.
Sports Column (circ. more than 75,000)
Sam Donnellon, Philadelphia Daily News
Judge’s Comments: Great stories, easy to follow and they were written in a way that allowed the average person to relate.
Bob Ford, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: Newsworthy topics with an original style of writing that added drama and intensity to the stories.
Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: Overall very good, easy to follow and well-written stories. They were written in a way that grabs the attention of the reader. Enjoyable read.
Sports Column(circ. less than75,000)
Tom Tatum, Daily Local News
Judge’s Comments: Overall, enjoyed reading these columns. Tatum allowed for the reader to engage and become part of the story due to the author’s vivid details and explanations. At times, the story would jump from idea to idea, but at the end would come round and leave the reader with a complete story and experience.
Jack McCaffery, Delaware County Daily Times
Judge’s Comments: Columns were very newsworthy and interesting, with a well-written flow. .
Paul Davies, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: Davies writes just want you want to read in hard-hitting editorials that nail politicians and judges.
Lisa Hostein, Jewish Exponent
Judge’s Comments: Hostein effectively writes about the Jewish community’s responsibility to society and society’s responsibility to the Jewish community. She educates while giving her opinion.
Russell Cooke, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: Cooke presents reasoned, solid arguments
Paul Davies, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: Davies nails the topic every time with straightforward writing, which gives readers a solid foundation to form their own opinions.
Solomon Jones, Philadelphia Daily News
Judge’s Comments: Jones puts forth a strong, interesting point of view.
Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: Rubin is a solid reporter. We know she cares about her topic, otherwise she would not be writing about it. But we would like to read a little more of her opinion.
Tony Auth, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: Tony Auth employs a simplicity of line work that belies the artistic skill he employs to create strong commentary and insight into the events of the day. Congratulations.
Tom Stiglich, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: The Inquirer should be commended for using the work of two talented editorial cartoonists. Tom Stiglich uses his cartooning skill to refine the issues he addresses into creative editorial statements that the reader can identify with.
Robert Leiter, Jewish Exponent
Judge’s Comments: Intelligent writing, a joy to read. The historical perspectives add a lot to his writings.
Julia M. Klein, freelance cultural reporter and critic
Judge’s Comments: Interesting and well-researched.
John Timpane, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: Down-to-earth writing and interesting perspectives.
Steve Elliott, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Blue collar fraying in Penna.”, “Going to bat for old player”, “Hello, I must be going: The short-term senator”
Judge’s Comments: Simple, straightforward but clever news headlines
Miriam Tarver, Philadelphia Inquirer
“For legend, no news is good news”, “Top shelf meets bottom line”, “Making room, but not nearly enough”
Judge’s Comments: News heads that simply and accurately describe their stories
Kevin Bevan, Philadelphia Daily News
“Grand Theft Fido”, “Ready, Seth, Go”, “Cinderfellas”
Judge’s Comments: Fun and clever.
Ed Weiner, Philadelphia Daily News
‘Like an extra-virgin, pressed for the very 1st time”, “Tour De No-Pants”, “For those who sacre blew it: Divorce fair”
Judge’s Comments: Fun feature headlines that could draw readers to stories they’d otherwise ignore
Virginia Delavan, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Insatiable APP-etite”, “New crime museum puts you on the case”, “Curb your self-absorption”
Judge’s Comments: Clever, enjoyable and clear
Janice Ward, Philadelphia Inquirer
“The wolves are at the multiplex door”, “Martha busy with glitter, Twitter”, “‘Fox’ knocks your sox off”
Judge’s Comments: Fun eye-catchers
Doug Darroch, Philadelphia Daily News
“Picking Their Brains”, “Hide Your Dogs”, “Lethal Weepin'”
Judge’s Comments: A powerful headline immediately gets to the center of a serious sports story.
Mike Engel, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Where the boys are: A look at the playoffs”, “Temptations in Motown, but not the musical kind”, “Amid Kansas fields, Morris twins take root”
Judge’s Comments: Clever, clear sports headlines.
Pete Clarey, Philadelphia Inquirer
“A perfect Mets-Phils trade: Insults”, “As Vick sips, injured Shawn Andrews stirs”, “This depth chart is Birdbath deep”
Judge’s Comments: Another good set of fun but clear sports headlines.
Kevin Burkett, Philadelphia Inquirer
Judge’s Comments: “Inviting pages that are readable and clear, yet still innovative.”
John Duchneskie, Philadelphia Inquirer
Sterling Chen, Philadelphia Inquirer
Amy Raudenbush, Philadelphia Daily News
Judge’s Comments: “Idea and execution are smart, clear and clever.” A fun self-contained story graphic.
Jessica DeLorenzo, The Morning Call
“When Liberty trembled.”
John Spencer, Philadelphia Business Journal
“Construction ideas in Camden”
Michael Wirtz, Philadelphia Inquirer
“A tough climb for jobs”
Don Fisher, The Morning Call
Tom Gralish, Philadelphia Inquirer
Laurence Kesterson, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Silent sky, hallowed ground”
Rob Kandel, The Morning Call
“Taking a bite out of crime”
Kevin Mingora, The Morning Call
“Sgt. Mark Renniger funeral”
Ron Cortez, Philadelphia Inquirer
Sarah J. Glover, Philadelphia Daily News
Steven M. Falk, Philadelphia Daily News
Robert F. Fleischhauer Portrait Award
Jeff Fusco, Philadelphia Business Journal
Judge’s Comments: Photographer caught a number of priceless expressions in one photo — talk about a photo being worth 1,000 words!