Monday, May 5, 2003

Enquirer wins 1st Amendment award

The Cincinnati Enquirer

COLUMBUS - The Cincinnati Enquirer was honored with the state's First Amendment Award Sunday for its efforts to keep public information in the open.

Judges for the Associated Press Society of Ohio awards applauded the paper's "series of defenses of the First Amendment," including disputing illegal meetings that kept information from being discussed in a public setting.

"The Cincinnati Enquirer's aggressive pursuit of the public's right to know is exemplary," judges said. "In dealing with recalcitrant public officials hellbent on doing business in private, the newspaper made repeated trips to the courthouse and wrote numerous stories to place editorial pressure on them. ... The Cincinnati Enquirer is vigilant in guarding the First Amendment."

The newspaper and its staff - which competes against newspapers with a daily circulation of more than 75,000 - also took several first-place honors:

• Higher education reporter Kristina Goetz was named best news writer in Ohio.

• Randy Mazzola took the first place informational graphic award for his depiction of the USS Cincinnatisubmarine.

• Mazzola and Joe Powell won first place in the full-page layout category for their Sept. 11 anniversary cover page listing those who died in the terrorist attacks with a single rose.

• The Enquirer placed first in breaking sports stories with coverage of the December implosion of Cinergy Field.

The newspaper also placed second in several categories:

• In the breaking news category for April's coverage of the settlement between the city, the U.S. Justice Department and an African-American community group involving alleged racial profiling by Cincinnati police officers.

• Coverage of last summer's last-minute effort to avoid a Major League Baseball strike.

• Photographer Tony Jones for feature photo.

• Ernie Coleman for sports photo.

Other winners included: Glenn Hartong, third place in spot news photo; Sue Lancaster, third place in headline writing; Mark Curnutte, third place for a sports game story; Chuck Martin, honorable mention in feature writing; and Jared Lee, honorable mention in the illustration category.

Education reporter Maggie Downs, who joined the Enquirer staff in December, took first place in the Division III columnist category and third place in the news writer category for her work at the Zanesville Times Recorder.

General Excellence awards for 2002 went to - in declining order based on circulation - The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer,The Canton Repository, The Hamilton JournalNews, The Ashland Times-Gazette and the Port Clinton News Herald.

Seventy-three newspapers submitted 3,509 entries for the contest, which judges stories, editorials, photos, graphics and columns from 2002.

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