By Jeff Rosen

APSE First Vice President

Marisa Kwiatkowski, Tim Evans and Mark Alesia of the Indianapolis Star won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors’ 2016 contest in Investigative Reporting.

Kwiatkowski, Evans and Alesia won for a series of stories uncovering years of unreported sexual abuses committed by USA Gymnastics coaches. They will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2017 APSE banquet  in New Orleans.

The Indy Star trio edged runner-up Rebecca R. Ruiz of the New York Times; Shaun Assael and Brett Forrest of ESPN placed third.

Sports editors in the Investigative category submitted a total of 32 entries. The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Contest chair Jeff Rosen and fellow APSE officers Tommy Deas, John Bednarowski and Robert Gagliardi numbered each entry, assuring they had been stripped of headlines, graphics, bylines and any other element that would identify the writer or news organization.

In February, preliminary judges at the APSE Winter Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and off-site around the country 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 one 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 winner in each category will receive a plaque at the 2017 APSE Summer Conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans June 26-29. The second- through 10th-place honorees will receive frameable certificates. (Click here to register for the conference.)

The Investigative category judges an article or collection of articles that uncover newsworthy and significant facts and developments that otherwise might not have been reported. Impact and aftermath of the work were considered.

The top 10 is listed below with links to writers’ Twitter pages, APSE member websites and winning entries.

1- Marisa Kwiatkowski, Tim Evans, Mark Alesia, Indianapolis Star, 56 points, two first-place votes

A blind eye to sex abuse: How USA Gymnastics failed to report cases

He could have been stopped: How one pedophile kept coaching gymnastics

A 20-year toll: 368 gymnasts allege sexual exploitation

Former USA Gymnastics doctor accused of abuse

Sexual predators left off list of banned USA Gymnastics coaches

Georgia judge to unseal USA Gymnastics sex abuse records

Why coaches’ hugs make Becca Seaborn cringe

Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor’s charges are ‘tip of iceberg’

USA Gymnastics to review sex abuse policies

Prominent gymnasts renew call for change

2- Rebecca R. Ruiz, New York Times, 47 points, no first-place votes

Russian Insider Says State-Run Doping Fueled Olympic Gold

Justice Department Opens Investigation Into Russian Doping Scandal

Even With Confession of Cheating, World’s Doping Watchdog Did Nothing

Russia’s Sports Minister Strives to Contain Damage

Russia’s Track and Field Team Barred From Rio Olympics

Russia’s Paralympic Team Is Facing a Ban of Its Own

I.O.C. Forces Russians to Prove They Have a Drug-Free Past

The Soviet Doping Plan: Document Reveals Illicit Approach to 1984 Olympics

Russia’s Sports Minister Promoted to Deputy Prime Minister

Russian Sports Agent and U.S. Marathon Officials Under Federal Investigation

Olympics History Rewritten: New Doping Tests Topple the Podium

Report Shows Vast Reach of Russian Doping: 1,000 Athletes, 30 Sports

Richard McLaren, Antidoping Investigator, Pursues a Tricky, Exhausting Trail

Russians No Longer Dispute Olympic Doping Operation

3- Shaun Assael, Brett Forrest, ESPN, 45 points, four first-place votes

The FBI vs. FIFA

4- Matthew Stanmyre, Chris Baxter, Newark Star-Ledger/NJ.com, 35 points

The 100-yard deception

5- Anita Wadhwani, Nate Rau, Matt Slovin, the Tennessean, 32 points

Sweeping sex assault suit filed against University of Tennessee

Campus discipline at heart of University of Tennessee lawsuit

How a University of Tennessee insider turned on a program she once loved

‘Hero’ in Tennessee rape case always did right thing, friends say

Butch Jones phone records show calls with Drae Bowles

Police courtesy calls to Tennessee’s Butch Jones ‘could violate state law’

Police chief to end ‘courtesy calls’ to Tennessee coach Butch Jones

‘List’ of lawyers given to Tennessee athletes raises questions

Tennessee settles sexual assault suit for $2.48 million

Settling sex assault lawsuits costs universities millions

6- Taylor Barnes, David Meeks, Justin Park, Josh Peter, USA Today, 30 points

USA TODAY Sports investigation raises questions about Rio cops, Lochte incident

Ryan Lochte, U.S. swimmers never questioned about alleged Rio vandalism

Ryan Lochte’s journey from the dumps to dancing

7- Luke Cyphers, Teri Thompson, Bleacher Report, 23 points

Lost in America

8- Will Hobson, Washington Post, 22 points

Olympic executives cash in on a ‘Movement’ that keeps athletes poor

Where all that Olympic money goes

This body is supposed to help Olympic athletes make ends meet. It doesn’t.

USA Track and Field CEO has alarmed some insiders with his spending and style

She was on a course for stardom. Then she entrusted her career to USA Swimming.

9- TIE Geoff Baker, Seattle Times, 20 points

City brushed off feasibility of NHL, NBA at KeyArena

Seattle worried about clashing KeyArena reports, then delayed one

NBA won’t speed up expansion even if Seattle’s Sodo arena project is ‘shovel ready’

Arena vote comes after pressure from mayor, abrupt shift by city leaders

Group headed by Tim Leiweke interested in KeyArena renovation for NBA, NHL

9- TIE Jenny Dial Creech, Houston Chronicle, 20 points

Baylor sexual assault victims met with skepticism, little assistance from university

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