By Mike Sherman, APSE President

Jesse Newell, who covers the University of Kansas athletics for the Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal,  took first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2014 contest for Beat Writing in the 30,001 to 75,000 circulation category.

Newell, whose five-story entries highlighted his work on the Kansas basketball and football beat, will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2015 APSE banquet. The banquet and awards dinner concludes the APSE Conference June 24-27 at The Westgate Hotel in San Diego, Calif.

Newell received three of six first-place votes from APSE judges, who ranked him ahead of runner-up Brian Christopherson, Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star and third-place finisher Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman. Cripe won the 2014 beat writing award in this category. The top 10 is listed below with links to each writer’s Twitter page and available entries.

Sports editors in the 30,001 to 75,000 circulation category submitted a total of 58 Beat Writing entries from APSE member sports departments in 2013. Contest catchers numbered each entry, assuring they had been stripped of headlines, graphics, bylines and any other element that would identify the writer or news organization.

The contest is open to APSE members. Go to this link to join.

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 down to 1 point for a 10th-place vote. 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 Beat Writing category recognizes the most authoritative, newsy and innovative coverage of a beat during 2014. Each APSE member news organization was permitted to submit up to two entries of five stories each. Each entry consisted of at least one breaking news story, one event or game coverage, one enterprise piece and two wild-card stories that could include a blog post.

Here are the top 10, listed in order of finish

1. Jesse Newell, Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, 50 points, 3 first-place votes

 Andrew Wiggins shoulders blame following KU basketball’s 60-57 loss to Stanford in round of 32

Could KU basketball study lead to a change in the way the game is played?

Passion, preparation led to new KU football coach David Beaty getting hired ahead of schedule

3 ways KU basketball can avoid zone woes in 2014-15

Life-changing son: Kansas’ Keon Stowers alters family cycle

2. Brian Christopherson, Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, 41 points, 1 first-place vote

 Pelini’s final meeting with players included profane shots at Eichorst

Abdullah carries Huskers past ‘Canes

Different day, different stakes, Huskers-Hurricanes still brings nostalgia

New Husker coach Riley the genuine article, former players say

Abdullah the toast of the ballroom in Chicago

3. Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman, 39 points, 1 first-place vote

 Boise State’s Ioane continues to play football as he awaits kidney transplant

Bryan Harsin ‘living his dream’ as Boise State coach

Here’s why Boise State, and its fans, paid $150 for some $75 Fiesta Bowl tickets

Boise State throws away opener against Ole Miss

Boise State getting $9 million for Albertsons Stadium dea

4. David Dorsey, The News-Press (Fort Myers, Fla.), 37 points

 Fort Myers Miracle baseball team changes ownership

Jorge Polanco makes Miracle history, promoted to Twins

Minnesota Twins player development academy benefits all

Fort Myers Miracle make history at JetBlue Park

Miracle pitcher Tim Shibuya excels at fielding

5. Tim Wilkin, Times Union (Albany, N.Y.), 36 points

 Riding for their lives in a saddle

Bayern gets controversial win in Breeders’ Cup Classic

Crown hopes ride on a nose

Wilkin: Doubters now feeling dumb

No treatment for ailing fill

6. Evan Woodbery, Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel, 35 points

 Winning run scores on hit batter, as Vols fall again to Tide, 7-6

Camera footage reveals UT football staff member was detained at scene, other dialogue from party arrests

Vols seeing effects of bat-calming measures

Vols’ workout warrior Corey Vereen says his drive to succeed will be hard to extinguish

Contracts show Nike significantly outbid adidas on new apparel deal

7. Zac Boyer, The Washington Times, 32 points

 Jay Gruden takes unorthodox path to NFL head coaching job

Steady McCoy leads Redskins: ‘We’re going to win this game’

Redskins’ Breeland cited for pot possession on eve of training camp departure

In Arena League, dreams of following Jay Gruden’s path

NFL practice squad players are outsiders on their own team 

8. Seth Soffian, The News-Press (Fort Myers, Fla.), 31 points

 FGCU basketball players McKnight, Graf not returning

A-Sun Conference championship: Lights out for FGCU

FGCU believes on-campus plasma injections a first

Cut-throat recruiting finds way to college pools, FGCU

FGCU guard Boyle tells different story

9. Vince Nairn, Wilmington (N.C.) StarNews, 16 points

 David Irving steps down after 15 years as Hammerheads coach

Braswell returns as Vikings continue strong start

Youth sports teams struggle for field space as county grows

USL Pro moving quickly on expansion

USL Pro moving quickly on expansion 

10. Seth Emerson, The Telegraph (Macon, Ga.) 13 points

 Help for when the dream ends: Richt’s other passion

Stunned Bulldogs ‘sick’ after squibbing away game

UGA’s Gurley suspended amid investigation over autographs

Georgia’s McGarity discusses financial support

Gurley’s legend quickly grew among Georgia team

(Mike Sherman is sports editor of The Oklahoman and president of APSE. Contact him at or 405-475-3164.)