By Mary Byrne, APSE Second Vice President
Matt L. Stephens of the Fort Collins Coloradoan took first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2014 contest for Breaking News in the under 30,000 circulation category.
Stephens will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2015 APSE banquet on June 27 at The Westgate Hotel in San Diego, Calif.
Balloting by six APSE judges ranked Stephens ahead of runner-up Aaron Suttles of The Tuscaloosa News and third-place finishers James Crepea, Brian Lyman and Albert Cesare of the Montgomery Advertiser. The top 10 is listed below with links to writers’ Twitter pages and entries.
Sports editors in the under 30,000 circulation category submitted 67 beat writing entries written or directed by APSE member sports departments in 2014. All entries were stripped of their headlines, bylines and any other elements that would identify the writer or news organization.
In early February, preliminary judges at the APSE winter conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., selected a top 10, with each judge ranking the entries in order from 1 to 10 separately on a secret ballot. Entries were given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second and so on. The final 10 were given to a second judging group, which ranked the entries 1-10 in the same fashion. The winner and final rankings are determined by tallying the ballots.
The breaking news category recognizes the best story off a sports news development (trades, hirings, firings, franchise shifts, etc.) that occurred in the most recent news cycle. Online or print stories are eligible. Judges weighed the various elements of a breaking news story, including timeliness, thoroughness, exclusivity and significance. Cover letters explaining these elements are permitted in this category.
The contest is open to all APSE members. Go to this link to join.
2014 APSE Contest: Breaking News, under 30,000 circulation
(First-place votes in parentheses)
1. Matt L. Stephens, Fort Collins Coloradoan, 56 points (2)
2. Aaron Suttles, The Tuscaloosa News, 44 points (3)
4. Kelly Lyell, Fort Collins Coloradoan, 36 points
5. Tommy Deas, The Tuscaloosa News, 35 points (1)
6. Jeremy Price, The Herald Times (Bloomington, Ind.), 28 points
T7. Ryan Holmgren, The Minot (N.D.) Daily News, 27 points
9. Mitchell Ferman, Columbia Missourian, 23 points
10. Jim Seimas, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 16 points
(Mary Byrne is managing editor of USA TODAY Sports. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org)