Nathan Baird of the Journal & Courier won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 contest in Explanatory Story for the C Division.

Baird beat out runner-up Brett McCormick of the The Herald for the top slot. Mike DeFabo of the Journal & Courier finished third.

Sports editors in the C Division submitted 32 explanatory entries. The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Contest chair Todd M. Adams and fellow APSE officers John Bednarowski, Lisa Wilson and Dan Spears prepared entries, which included online links to stories for the first time this year.

In February, preliminary judges at the APSE Winter Conference in Orlando, 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.

Baird will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2019 APSE Summer Conference Banquet at the Omni CNN Center in Atlanta on June 19. The second- through 10th-place writers will receive frameable certificates.

The judges looked for stories that included trends, issues, original ideas. They explained something. They shed new light on issues and personalities in the news. They were more than the feature and less than the project entry. They went beyond the “yesterday” of the breaking news story.

The top 10 is listed below with links to the winning entries.

1. Nathan Baird, Journal & Courier (Lafayette, Ind.) 40 points, two first-place votes

2. Bret McCormick, The Herald 39 points, two first-place votes

3. Mike DeFabo, Anderson Herald-Bulletin 35 points, one first-place vote

4. Taft Coghill Jr., The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.) 32 points

5. Dave Southorn, Idaho Statesman (Boise) 31 points

6. Alex Riley, Wilmington (N.C.) StarNews 29 points

7. Brant Wilkerson-New, News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.) 23 points

8. Sean Hammond, Northwest Herald 20 points

9. Wes Huett, Peoria Journal Star 15 points

10. Dave Reynolds, Peoria Journal Star 11 points

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