News Column

Florida Times-Union wins Morris, state journalism excellence awards

July 17, 2014

By Andrew Pantazi, The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville

July 17--The Florida Times-Union won eight company awards and two first-place state awards for work published last year.

Morris Publishing Group announced earlier this month the winners of the ninth annual Morris Journalism Excellence Awards. The Florida Times-Union won for deadline reporting, writing, graphics, photography, page design, community engagement, community service and innovation.

The newspaper also won two first-place awards, both in photography, in the Florida Society of News Editors contest. Bruce Lipsky won for a photo story about a Hindu wedding, and Will Dickey won sports photography for a picture of a stand-up paddleboard race.

The newspaper won three second-place awards -- in sports page design, feature and arts writing and enterprise online slide show -- and five third-place awards -- in headline writing, page-one design, news graphics/illustrations, digital innovation and niche site.

Coverage of Cherish Perrywinkle's death last year, when the 8-year-old went missing after a trip to Walmart with a sex offender, won the company's deadline reporting award.

Times-Union reporter Matt Soergel won the writing contest with three stories, and he received second place in the state contest. He wrote about the death of Marine 1st Sgt. Molbro Roberts who led Ribault High School's JROTC for years. He also wrote about the Roosevelt Hotel fire in 1963 and the people, including Miss America, who escaped. He also wrote about a country church in the woods.

"This guy can write," the judges wrote in their comments. "One judge said the portfolio 'raised my blood pressure.'"

The newspaper also won a community service award for its investigative work and legal action the newspaper took against the mayor, the city, the courts and the state Department of Education. The legal action showed the mayor and city violated sunshine laws. The lawsuits also made public data that the state already used and still uses to evaluate teachers. In every appeal, the Times-Union has been successful.

Steve Nelson, the Times-Union graphics and art director, won the graphics award for his visual explanation of the deepening of the JaxPort shipping channel.

Bob Self, one of the Times-Union's four photographers, won the photography award for a picture he made by lingering around after a Jacksonville Jaguars practice looking for a human moment when the players are often greeted by family. He noticed running back Cecil Shorts II let his 2-year-old try on an oversized helmet.

Phil Diokno won for page-design. He designed the front page depicting Lt. Gov Jennifer Carroll's resignation, as well as designing other sections for feature and news stories.

The paper also received honorable mentions in writing, commentary, watchdog reporting, digital journalism, videography and in the William S. Morris IV Innovation Award.

Andrew Pantazi: (904) 359-4310


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Source: Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL)

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