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Winners announced in 2018 Michigan APME newspaper contest

April 28, 2019

DETROIT (AP) — Newspapers in Detroit, Ann Arbor and Greenville were named the best in the state Sunday in the annual Michigan Associated Press Media Editors newspaper competition.

General Excellence awards for 2018 went to the Detroit Free Press, The Ann Arbor News and The (Greenville) Daily News.

The Detroit Free Press won the First Amendment Award for outstanding accomplishment in pursuing freedom of information. The newspaper won with its entry “Fatal Police Tasering of Youth on ATV.”

Michael Kransz, a reporter at The Grand Rapids Press, was named Michigan APME’s Newspaper Rising Star. That award recognizes journalists with five years or less in journalism.

Twenty-eight daily newspapers submitted 908 entries in the contest, which featured news and sports stories, features, editorials, columns, graphics and photos from 2018.

Entries were judged by editors from The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, and The Vindicator in Youngstown, Ohio, Division III; The Canton (Ohio) Repository and The Chronicle Telegram in Elyria, Ohio, Division II; The News-Messenger, Fremont, Ohio, Port Clinton, Ohio News Herald and The Chillicothe (Ohio) Gazette, Division I.

The Associated Press is a not-for-profit news cooperative representing 1,300 newspapers and 5,000 broadcast stations in the United States.

Here is the list of winners:

2018 First Amendment Award: Detroit Free Press

Division III, Newspapers with a daily circulation over 40,000

General Excellence: 1, Detroit Free Press; 2, The Grand Rapids Press; 3, The Detroit News.

Best Headline Writing: 1, Janet Graham, Detroit Free Press; 2, Jerry Seim, The Grand Rapids Press; 3, Steve Wilkinson, The Detroit News.

Best Business Writing: 1, Matthew Dolan and David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, “In Donors We Trust”; 2, Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, “Ford Truck Supplier Fire”; 3, Jim Harger, The Grand Rapids Press.

Best Column: 1, Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press; 2, David Krishef, The Grand Rapids Press; 3, Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press.

Best Editorial Writing: 1, The Grand Rapids Press; 2, Nolan Finley, The Detroit News; 3, Detroit Free Press.

Best Feature Writing: 1, John Agar, The Grand Rapids Press; 2, Francis X. Donnelly, The Detroit News; 3, Emily Bingham, The Grand Rapids Press.

Best Sports Story: 1, Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, “Joe Murphy was the Red Wings’ No. 1 Pick. Then He Became Homeless.”; 2, Andrew Kahn, The Grand Rapids Press, “The Invisible Ways John Beilein and Michigan are Influencing College Basketball”; 3, Jared Purcell, The Grand Rapids Press, “Griggs-Zeigler Lives Dream by Earning Michigan Women’s Basketball Scholarship.”

Best Sports Feature Story: 1, Brendan Savage, The Flint Journal, “Rebuilding Reilly: Goodrich Teen Back Running Track After Suffering Brain Injury ”; 2, Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, “Jack Morris, the Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer, Just Wants to be Loved”; 3, Kyle Meinke, The Grand Rapids Press, “Almost Murdered: The Harrowing Tale of One Lions Player’s Trip to Haiti.”

Best Sports Column: 1, Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, “Larry Nassar Tragedy is Worse Than Penn State — and We Were Complicit”; 2, Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, “Detroit Lions, NFL Look Foolish in Not Knowing about Matt Patricia”; 3, Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, “Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl Miracle Started with Guts.”

Best Illustration or Graphic: 1, Milt Klingensmith, The Grand Rapids Press, “Holes in the Mitten: Paying More in Gas Taxes, but Roads Aren’t Getting Better.”

Best Spot News Photo: 1, Cory Morse, The Grand Rapids Press, “How Larry Nassar’s Abuse Impacted Three Sisters - and Their Dad”; 2, Jake May, The Flint Journal, “Eight Hospitalized After Truck Smashes into Protest”; 3, Romain Blanquart, Detroit Free Press, “Sad Goodbye.”

Best Feature Photo: 1, Bronte Wittpenn, The Flint Journal, “Caring for Darlene”; 2, Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press, “Little Aretha”; 3, Cory Morse, The Grand Rapids Press, “How a Boy with Autism Got to Keep His Ducks After Neighbor Dispute.”

Best Sports Photo: 1, Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press, “Game-Winning Catch”; 2, Casey Sykes, The Grand Rapids Press, “Fowler Runner Collapses Immediately After Crossing the Finish Line to Win the Girls 4x400 Meter Relay”; 3, Mike Mulholland, The Grand Rapids Press, “Michigan Guard Jordan Poole’s Buzzer-Beater to Down Houston in NCAA Tournament.”

Best Photo Story: 1, Cory Morse, The Grand Rapids Press, “Larry Nassar Fall Out”; 2, Neil Blake, The Grand Rapids Press, “A Young Mother Had a ‘Perfect’ Life. Then Came the Deadly Cancer Diagnosis.”; 3, Cory Morse, The Grand Rapids Press, “How a Boy with Autism Got to Keep His Ducks After Neighbor Dispute.”

Best Video: 1, Brian Kaufman and Elisha Anderson, Detroit Free Press, “Trooper Tases Teen on ATV. Police Video Reveals What Happens Next.”; 2, Romain Blanquart, Detroit Free Press, “Never Forget the Pain”; 3, The Grand Rapids Press, “Born to Run.”

Best Public Service: 1, Paula Gardner and Garret Ellison, The Grand Rapids Press, “Michigan’s Drinking Water Threatened by PFAS Contamination”; 2, Matthew Dolan and David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, “In Donors We Trust”; 3, David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, “Larry Nassar Scandal Investigation.”

Best Spot News Coverage: 1, The Detroit News, “The Death of Aretha Franklin”; 2, Zahra Ahmad, The Flint Journal, “Gunfire Erupts During Genesee Township Police Standoff”; 3, Sarah Rahal and Mark Hicks, The Detroit News, “Bodies of 11 Infants Found in Detroit Funeral Home.”

Best Enterprise Reporting: 1, Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, “The Tiniest Addicts: How U.P. Babies Became Part of Opioid Epidemic”; 2, Robert Snell, The Detroit News, ”‘Death by Instagram’ Series”; 3, John Carlisle, Detroit Free Press, “This is Corktown.”

Best Investigative Reporting: 1, John Wisely and Elisha Anderson, Detroit Free Press, “Centria Healthcare Accused of Fraud, Targeting Poor in Metro Detroit”; 2, Gina Kaufman and Jim Schaefer, Detroit Free Press, “They Look Like Cops, but They’re Not. And They’re All Over Michigan.”; 3, Roberto Acosta and Dominic Adams, The Flint Journal, “Sheriff Searches Thetford Township Police Station Over Military Surplus Items.”

Best Full Page Design: 1, Tyler Remmel, Detroit Free Press, “Courageous”; 2, Tyler Remmel, Detroit Free Press, “Eternal Respect”; 3, JoAnne Walsh, The Grand Rapids Press, “PFAS Concerns: What’s Stopping You, Michigan?”.

Best Digital Presence: 1, The Grand Rapids Press; 2, Detroit Free Press; 3, The Detroit News.

Best Multimedia Storytelling: 1, Georgea Kovanis and Romain Blanquart, Detroit Free Press, “Second-Chance Court”; 2, Scott Levin, The Grand Rapids Press, “Michigan’s Next Water Crisis is PFAS - and You May Already be Affected”; 3, Scott Levin and Neil Blake, The Grand Rapids Press, “Colon Cancer’s Genetic Links.”

Division II, Newspapers with a daily circulation of 10,000 - 39,999

General Excellence: 1, The Ann Arbor News; 2, Lansing State Journal; 3, Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Best Headline Writing: 1, Nathan Clark, Jackson Citizen Patriot; 2, Matthew Miller, Battle Creek Enquirer; 3, Allison Batdorff, Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Best Business Writing: 1, Haley Hansen, Lansing State Journal; 2, Lauren Slagter, The Ann Arbor News; 3, Natasha Blakely, Battle Creek Enquirer.

Best Column: 1, Troy Reimink, Traverse City Record-Eagle; 2, Judy Putnam, Lansing State Journal; 3, Ken Kish, The Macomb Daily.

Best Editorial Writing: 1, Nathan Payne, Traverse City Record-Eagle; 2, Allison Batdorff, Traverse City Record-Eagle; 3, Dan Nielsen, Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Best Feature Writing: 1, Taylor DesOrmeau, Jackson Citizen Patriot; 2, Darcie Moran, The Ann Arbor News; 3, Gina Joseph, The Macomb Daily, “Down Syndrome, Lone Soldiers, Prosthetic and Immigrant Family.”

Best Sports Story: 1, Ryan Zuke, The Ann Arbor News, “Wrestling Has Come a Long Way Since 3 Weight-Loss Related Deaths in 1997”; 2, Bill Broderick, Battle Creek Enquirer, “Tuesdays with Coach Bess Mean Dinner Plus Life Experiences for BC Central Football Players”; 3, Tony Garcia, Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Willie Horton’s Activism Fueled by Racial Experiences as Young Ballplayer.”

Best Sports Feature Story: 1, Hugh Bernreuter, The Saginaw News, “Saginaw Nouvel Quarterback Takes ‘Football Hero’ Label to New Level Off Field”; 2, Brett Sommers, Traverse City Record-Eagle, “Forgotten Road: Elk Rapids’ Vandeveer Fights for Sport He Can’t Remember”; 3, Nick Buckley, Battle Creek Enquirer, “There’s More to Western Michigan’s Donnie Ernsberger Than a Viral Moment.”

Best Sports Column: 1, Lee Thompson, The Bay City Times, “Winless or Not, Bay City Western Has Proud Fathers in its Corner”; 2, Bill Broderick, Battle Creek Enquirer, “Bronson Vikings’ Volleyball Coach Leads By Example, Even When She’s Fighting Leukemia”; 3, Brett Sommers, Traverse City Record-Eagle, “The Ballad of the Forgotten Bear.”

Best Illustration or Graphic: 1, Scott McNeish, The (Adrian) Daily Telegram, “Playoff Picture”; 2, Brett Sommers and Emily Grill, Traverse City Record-Eagle, “Traverse City Trio”; 3, Scott McNeish, The (Adrian) Daily Telegram, “Probability of a Comeback.”

Best Spot News Photo: 1, Rebekah Welch, Kalamazoo Gazette, “RIP Mujey”; 2, Ben Allan Smith, The Ann Arbor News, “Standoff Surrender”; 3, Mike Krebs, The Muskegon Chronicle, “Car in Pool.”

Best Feature Photo: 1, Mike Krebs, The Muskegon Chronicle, “Prom Photo Booth”; 2, Tom Hawley, The Monroe News, “Love You Mimi”; 3, Henry Taylor, The Saginaw News, “Smiles for Miles.”

Best Sports Photo: 1, Jacob Hamilton, The Ann Arbor News, “Mudbowl”; 2, Ben Allan Smith, The Ann Arbor News, “Locker Room Warmup”; 3, J. Scott Park, Jackson Citizen Patriot, “State Champs.”

Best Photo Story: 1, Jack Zellweger, The Ann Arbor News, “Father and Son’s Weekly Swim Strengthens Their Bond of Love”; 2, Daniel Vasta, Kalamazoo Gazette, “Searching for Home”; 3, Mike Krebs, The Muskegon Chronicle, “Abeshi - I’m Here.”

Best Video: 1, Matthew Dae Smith, Lansing State Journal, “Christmas at the Nursing Home”; 2, Matthew Dae Smith, Lansing State Journal, “How These Two Women Built the Case Against Larry Nassar”; 3, Daniel Vasta and Joel Bissell, Kalamazoo Gazette, “Searching for Home.”

Best Public Service: 1, Lansing State Journal, “Larry Nassar and Michigan State”; 2, Ryan Stanton, The Ann Arbor News, “Ann Arbor Council Members Took Over $10K in Donations from Dahlmann Group”; 3, Malachi Barrett, Kalamazoo Gazette, “Kalamazoo Homeless Encampment.”

Best Spot News Coverage: 1, Cadillac News, “Storm”; 2, Kalea Hall, Battle Creek Enquirer, “Here’s Why Infants Should Not Drink Battle Creek Water, City Says”; 3, Cadillac News, “May Wildfire.”

Best Enterprise Reporting: 1, Ryan Stanton and Dana Afana, The Ann Arbor News, “Deportations, Despair and Big Court Backups Amid Michigan Immigration Crackdown”; 2, Lauren Slagter, Jackson Citizen Patriot, “LGBTQ Students at Christian Colleges Refuse to Choose Between Sexuality, Faith”; 3, Christopher Haxel, Lansing State Journal, “Who Killed Jody? Depends Who You Ask.”

Best Investigative Reporting: 1, Matt Troutman, Traverse City Record-Eagle, “Former TC Doctor Criticized for Prescriptions, Deaths”; 2, Taylor DesOrmeau and Danielle Salisbury, Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Medical Marijuana Pay Structure, Which Funneled Money Directly to Township Officials, Spurs Outrage”; 3, Lynn Moore, The Muskegon Chronicle, “School Warned 20 Years Ago about ‘Very Inappropriate’ Touching.”

Best Full Page Design: 1, Scott McNeish, The (Adrian) Daily Telegram, “Football playoff preview”; 2, Joe Pas, The Oakland Press, “A Better Baker”; 3, Joe Pas, The Macomb Daily, “Top 15 Podcasts You Needed to Hear.”

Best Digital Presence: 1, Paula Wethington, The Monroe News; 2, Jackson Citizen Patriot; 3, The (Adrian) Daily Telegram.

Best Multimedia Storytelling: 1, Lansing State Journal, ”‘We Could Be Cool, Too’: Why South Lansing Demands a Second Look”; 2, Lauren Slagter and Ben Allan Smith, The Ann Arbor News, “Ann Arbor’s Historically Black Neighborhood is the Hottest Market in Town”; 3, Lansing State Journal, “Painting the Town: The Stories and Artists Behind Lansing’s Murals.”

Division I, Newspapers with a daily circulation of under 10,000

General Excellence: 1, The (Greenville) Daily News; 2, The Holland Sentinel; 3, Midland Daily News.

Best Headline Writing: 1, Rich Lakeberg, The Holland Sentinel; 2, Ryan Schlehuber, The (Greenville) Daily News; 3, The (Iron Mountain) Daily News.

Best Business Writing: 1, Kate Carlson, Midland Daily News, “Dow Chemical Coverage”; 2, Meghan Nelson, The (Greenville) Daily News; 3, Brandon Schreur, The (Greenville) Daily News.

Best Column: 1, Bradley Massman, Huron Daily Tribune; 2, Betsy Bloom, The (Iron Mountain) Daily News, “Northwoods Notebook”; 3, Kate Hessling, Huron Daily Tribune.

Best Editorial Writing: 1, Kate Hessling, Huron Daily Tribune; 2, Sarah Leach, The Holland Sentinel; 3, Elisabeth Waldon, The (Greenville) Daily News.

Best Feature Writing: 1, Susan Bromley, Livingston Daily Press & Argus; 2, Steve Begnoche, Ludington Daily News; 3, Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News.

Best Sports Story: 1, Fred Kelly, Midland Daily News, “Is Old-School Fastpitch Softball Dead?”; 2, Mike Gallagher, Huron Daily Tribune, “Family Matters”; 3, Huron Daily Tribune, “Against All Odds.”

Best Sports Feature Story: 1, Bill Khan, Livingston Daily Press & Argus, “Not Good Enough? Brighton’s Cooper Marody Overcomes Rejection to Become College Hockey Star”; 2, Dan D’Addona, The Holland Sentinel, “Ignitor Josie Galiger Leads Fennville into ‘Never Forgotten Game’ vs. Saugatuck”; 3, Ryan Schlehuber, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Heroic On and Off the Court.”

Best Sports Column: 1, Dan D’Addona, The Holland Sentinel, “Dan D’Addona: Even Olympics Can’t Unite US”; 2, Fred Kelly, Midland Daily News, “BCW’s Mann Displays Refreshing Honesty in Heat of Competition”; 3, Seth Stapleton, Huron Daily Tribune, “Staple on the Slopes.”

Best Illustration or Graphic: 1, Ryan Schlehuber, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Tale of the Tape”; 2, Rich Lakeberg, The Holland Sentinel, “Close to Home”; 3, Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Danish Festival Preview Cover.”

Best Spot News Photo: 1, Katy Kildee, Midland Daily News, “House Fire”; 2, Gillis Benedict, Livingston Daily Press & Argus, “Theresa Brennan Town Hall Meeting”; 3, Katy Kildee, Midland Daily News, “Shooting Suspect.”

Best Feature Photo: 1, Katy Kildee, Midland Daily News, “Pete’s Return”; 2, Jeff Kiessel, Ludington Daily News, “Young Guns”; 3, Katy Kildee, Midland Daily News, “Before the Auction.”

Best Sports Photo: 1, Bill Khan, Livingston Daily Press & Argus, “Howell’s Emily Endebrock is Overcome with Emotion”; 2, Katy Kildee, Midland Daily News, “Pole Vault”; 3, Katy Kildee, Midland Daily News, “Soccer Win.”

Best Photo Story: 1, Dan D’Addona, The Holland Sentinel, “Wingspan Series”; 2, Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “You are the Brave Heroes”; 3, Brian Vernellis, The Holland Sentinel, “Yoga with Goats and Piglets.”

Best Video: 1, Brandon Schreur, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Flat River Community Players Mark 150th Production”; 2, Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Belding High School Marching Band — A First-Person View: 2018″; 3, Brian Vernellis, The Holland Sentinel, “Yoga with Goats & Piglets at Fellinlove Farm.”

Best Public Service: 1, Kevin Braciszeski and Andy Hamilton, Ludington Daily News, “Pere Marquette Cross”; 2, Jake Allen and Audra Gamble, The Holland Sentinel, “Cost of Care: Community Mental Health and Funding in Holland”; 3, The Holland Sentinel, “Examining Homelessness in Holland Area.”

Best Spot News Coverage: 1, Erin Dietzer and Audra Gamble, The Holland Sentinel, “Holland Christian Schools Being Sued for Title IX Violations”; 2, Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Everybody’s Going to go Home Safe, Which Makes it a Good Day”; 3, Susan Bromley, Livingston Daily Press & Argus, “Discovery of Wreckage of Howell Couple’s Plane 21 Years Later ‘Answers a lot of Questions’.”

Best Enterprise Reporting: 1, Elisabeth Waldon, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Ionia County Furniture Coverage”; 2, Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Drink Up and a History of Hides”; 3, Brenda Battel, Huron Daily Tribune, “Planning Commission in Disarray.”

Best Investigative Reporting: 1, Lisa Yanick Litwiller, Mount Pleasant Morning Sun, “Grace Church: Evangelical Youth Movement or Religious Control Group?”; 2, Elisabeth Waldon, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Montcalm County Lawsuit Coverage”; 3, Lisa Yanick Litwiller, Mount Pleasant Morning Sun, “Davis Hospitalized, Fled Police Night Before Shooting.”

Best Full Page Design: 1, Jim Anderson, The (Iron Mountain) Daily News, “Year in Review”; 2, Claire Fisher, The Holland Sentinel, “For the Love of Lizards”; 3, Rich Lakeberg, The Holland Sentinel, “Discus Dynasty.”

Best Digital Presence: 1, The (Greenville) Daily News; 2, The (Iron Mountain) Daily News; 3, Sarah Leach and Brian Vernellis, The Holland Sentinel.

Best Multimedia Storytelling: 1, Audra Gamble and Brian Vernellis, The Holland Sentinel, “Parents Memorialize Newlywed Couple Killed Just Weeks After Wedding”; 2, Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Belding Marching Band Competes at MCBA State Finals in Detroit, Taking 4th with Colorful Show”; 3, Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Forever Home.”

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