WaPo’s Chuck Culpepper, USA Today share top honors in APSE’s biggest Projects category

By Jeff Rosen

APSE First Vice President

Chuck Culpepper of the Washington Post tied a seven-person team from USA Today for first-place Project Reporting in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2016 contest’s Over-175,000 circulation category.

Culpepper and the USA Today team of Steve Berkowitz, Christine Brennan, Greg Hester, Paul Myerberg, Christopher Schnaars, Brent Schrotenboer and Jodi Upton will be presented first-place plaques at the 2017 APSE banquet in June. The banquet and awards dinner concludes the APSE Summer Conference in New Orleans.

Culpepper’s entry, in six parts, dealt with the evolution of women’s sports in Middle Eastern culture. The USA Today entry, presented in nine, examined the finances of college sports.

Placing behind them were Matt Wixon, Michael Florek, Greg Riddle, Tommy Magelssen, Dillon Tye, Andrew Chavez, Ariana Giorgi and Kristi Walker of the Dallas Morning News, with a series on concussions in high school football.

Sports editors submitted a total of 50 entries in the Project Writing category this year. 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 in this category, 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 then given to a second judging group, which ranked the entries 1-10 in the same fashion. The winner and final rankings were determined by tallying the two sets of ballots.

The winners 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 entrants will receive frameable certificates. (Click here to register for the conference.)

Judges in the Project Writing category considered articles or collections of articles that shed new light on personalities and issues in the news, including trends and original ideas. Entries were limited to 10 parts apiece, though the judges could consider additional material at their discretion.

Here is the top 10, with links to writers’ Twitter pages (where applicable), APSE member websites and winning entries.

1- TIE Chuck Culpepper, Washington Post, 45 points, two first-place votes

Middle Eastern women were once discouraged from sport. A new generation now chases Olympic glory.

In conservative Saudi Arabia, 2012 Olympian Sarah Attar sees rumblings of change

Marriage, motherhood, education, maybe sports: female Muslim athletes’ expected priorities

These Jordanian sisters embarrassed their father for loving jiujitsu. Then they started winning.

Muslim female athletes find sport so essential they compete while covered

Pride in their Daughters

1- TIE Steve Berkowitz, Christine Brennan, Greg Hester, Paul Myerberg, Christopher Schnaars, Brent Schrotenboer and Jodi Upton, USA Today, 45 points, one first-place vote

Hiring a college football coach is expensive. Firing one is, too.

College football coaching salaries

Clemson football could save big by winning big

What’s a strength coach worth? It can hardly be quantified

College football strength coach salaries

Sean Miller doesn’t ask Arizona for raises, but he keeps getting them

Olympics offer rare chance for NCAA athletes to be paid

How Olympics could be lucrative for University of Texas swimmer

Katie Ledecky earned $355,000 in medal bonuses from Rio Olympics performance

3- Matt Wixon, Michael Florek, Greg Riddle, Tommy Magelssen, Dillon Tye, Andrew Chavez, Ariana Giorgi and Kristi Walker, Dallas Morning News, 41 points

The helmet conundrum

Repurposed and ready

Flaws in the data

Solving the unsolvable

4- Jeré Longman, New York Times, 37 points, one first-place vote

Man vs. marathon: One scientist’s quixotic quest to propel a runner past the two-hour barrier.

Two-Hour Marathon. Can It Be Done?

5- Benjamin Wermund, Jerome Solomon, Hunter Atkins, Joseph Duarte, Dale Robertson, Adam Coleman, Aaron Wilson, David Barron, Angel Verdejo Jr., Brian T. Smith, Jonathan Feigen, Shannon Tompkins, Jenny Dial Creech, Aaron Reiss, Brent Zwerneman, John McClain, Jake Kaplan, Houston Chronicle, 35 points

The Astrodome was a symbol of Houston’s ‘can-do’ attitude

Muhammad Ali and Houston, a star-crossed pair

Yates set standard with state football title in ’85

Jack Johnson: A world champion boxer during a time of racial strife

Phi Slama Jama dunks its way into Houston’s history

Guy V. Lewis remembered as pioneer, innovator, visionary

King won ‘Battle of the Sexes’ and served notice for equality

Game of the century: UH’s basketball victory over UCLA in the Astrodome stands the test of time

Luv ya Blue: Oilers team a perfect match for Houston

Demaret and Burke Jr.: the driving force behind Champions

6- Joe Canali, Mike Fish, Brett Forrest, Karen Frank, Lori Higginbotham, Jason Hutton, Paul Kix, Craig Lazarus, Jena Janovy, Tim Horgan, Jose Morales, JB Morris, Tim Rasmussen, William Roach, Victor Vitarelli, Chin Wang, Alexander Wells, ESPN, 31 points, one first-place vote

Pin Kings: How two wrestling teammates from Miami came to oppose each other in the cocaine wars

7- Gary Myers, Evan Grossman, Michael O’Keeffe, Christian Red, Seth Walder, Manish Mehta, New York Daily News, 28 points

How ten years of Roger Goodell as NFL commissioner has transformed league and shaped his legacy

Roger Goodell’s NFL has seen growth of lavish stadiums with public footing the bill

CTE and concussions continue to cloud Roger Goodell’s reign as NFL commissioner

How Roger Goodell mishandled domestic violence and what NFL has changed since

Whole New Game: How fantasy football’s explosion during Roger Goodell’s 10 years as commissioner has changed way we cover, follow and consume NFL

8- Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, 27 points, one first-place vote

The Weight, Chapter 1: Season of great expectations begins; how did the Cubs get here?

The Weight, Chapter 3: Cubs-Cardinals rivalry moves into a new era

The Weight, Chapter 7: The rematch

The Weight, Chapter 8: All-Star pessimism

The Weight, Chapter 9: Aroldis Chapman rebounds from rough start

The Weight, Chapter 10: The long haul

The Weight, Chapter 12: The Cubs’ NL Central title well in hand

The Weight, Chapter 14: Never-say-die Cubs make national statement in NLDS

The Weight, Chapter 15: Bats awaken, Dodgers fall as Wrigley explodes

The Weight, Chapter 16: A dream fufilled as the impossible comes true for the Cubs

9- Sam Mellinger, Vahe Gregorian, Rustin Dodd, Blair Kerkhoff, Lee Judge, John Sleezer, Brittany Peterson, Monty Davis, Todd Feeback, The Kansas City Star, 21 points

Can the Royals hold court again? Stories, videos from The Star’s season-opening special section

10- Patrick Hruby, Mary Pilon, Monica Prelle, Katie Matlack, Brian Blickenstaff, Vice Sports, 20 points

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