Toledo Blade, Denver photographer, San Francisco radio and Minnesota TV station win top honors |

Toledo Blade, Denver photographer, San Francisco radio and Minnesota TV station win top honors

TRENTON, N.J. – Newspaper reporters who broke Ohio’s “coingate” scandal and a Denver photographer who helped chronicle a year in the life of a Marine who assists bereaved families captured top spots Wednesday in the 72nd annual National Headliner Awards.Television station WCCO of Minneapolis and a radio documentary by The Stanley Foundation, of Muscatine, Iowa, with KQED Public Radio, of San Francisco, were also honored with grand awards, the highest honors bestowed as part of the national journalism contest run by The Press Club of Atlantic City.The four grand awards, each of which come with $1,500 prizes, will be presented – along with dozens of other Headliner Awards – at a May 20 banquet at the Atlantic City Convention Center.The contest included categories for coverage of last year’s devastating hurricanes. The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, itself a victim of Hurricane Katrina, won first place in the print division for writing and reporting.Broadcast winners for hurricane coverage were radio station KTRH of Houston, CBS Radio News and, in television, NBC “Nightly News” with Brian Williams.Coverage of Hurricane Katrina also was the winning entry for online journalism by the Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., and Knight Ridder Digital. The newspaper and its staffers coped with damage from the storm.In garnering the print grand award, The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, also won first place in investigative reporting for work by James Drew, Mike Wilkinson, Steve Eder, Christopher D. Kirkpatrick, Jim Tankersley and Joshua Boak. Their stories showed gross mismanagement of a $50 million investment by Ohio into rare coins.The reporters “followed an unusual money-losing investment all the way to the halls of power in Ohio and Washington,” the judges said.The stories prompted an investigation that revealed $300 million in investment losses and led Gov. Bob Taft to plead no contest to ethics violations for accepting golf games and other gifts he did not report. Four former aides to Taft – the first Ohio governor convicted of a crime – also have been convicted.The grand award in photography went to Todd Heisler of the Rocky Mountain News of Denver for his images in “Final Salute,” a special section about the Marines who notify and care for families of those killed in the line of duty that was published on Nov. 11, Veterans Day. The entry also won first place for photo essay.The judges said its “remarkable access and sensitive treatment brought readers a profound story not to be seen anywhere else. A touching sequence representing the height of photojournalism.”Heisler also won in the feature photography category.The grand award in radio went to the winner of the documentary or public affairs category, The Stanley Foundation, of Muscatine, Iowa, with KQED Public Radio of San Francisco, for “Security Check: Confronting Today’s Global Threats.” Honored were David Brancaccio, Simon Marks, Keith Porter and Kristin McHugh.The judges said the hourlong program sent listeners to Uganda, Russia, Thailand and Columbia. “The documentary is packed full of ‘moments’ that are brought to life with natural sounds. This is truly a global story with local impact.”In television, the grand award went to WCCO of Minneapolis for “The Last Flagraiser” by Tom Aviles, Lino Rulli and David Schechter, which won the category for documentary or series of reports.The piece told the story of retired Marine Cpl. Chuck Lindberg, 84, of Richfield, Minn., whom it described as the last surviving person who raised the first U.S. flag on Iwo Jima during World War II on Feb. 23, 1945. A second flag-raising that day was immortalized in the Pulitzer Prize-winning picture by Joe Rosenthal.The judges commented: “Magnificent effort, beautifully told, beautifully shot, superb editing. Creative use of graphics, impressive impact with creation of classroom lessons. A major motion picture look fueled by the passion of three exceptionally talented artists, Bravo!!”Two Associated Press photographers won Headliner Awards, Iraq-based Nabil al-Jurani, in spot news, for “Burning Warrior,” and India-based Rajesh Kumar Singh, in feature photography, for “India Cattle Fair.”In addition to AP, other multiple first-place award winners were:- Radio station KTRH of Houston, which won in two categories: hurricane coverage and breaking news or continuing coverage of a single news event.- ABC News Radio, for best newscast and feature, human interest story or news series.- CBS Radio News for hurricane coverage and breaking news or continuing coverage of a single news event.- TV station KIRO of Seattle for best newscast and coverage of a breaking news event.- TV station WJW of Cleveland for investigative reporting and continuing coverage of a single news event.- TV network program NBC “Nightly News” with Brian Williams for best newscast, hurricane coverage and continuing coverage of a major news event.- TV network program ABC News “Good Morning America,” for coverage of a major news event; and feature, sports or human interest story.- TV network program ABC News “20/20” for investigative reporting and news magazine program.- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for spot news and editorial cartoons.- The Orange County (Calif.) Register, for news series and hurricane photography.- St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, for feature writing and photography portfolio.- The Miami Herald, for health-medical-science writing, and special or feature column on one subject.- The (Portland) Oregonian, for editorial writing and informational graphics.- Rocky Mountain News, for photo essay and feature photography.CNN took all three places in the health reporting category for TV and cable networks.Vail, Colorado

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