Below are the Best in Show 2018 Award winners for news.

Daily Writing: Gary Harki, The Virginian-Pilot

“The Virginia Pilot tackled a story ripe for reporting in every American community. Many news organizations have reported local anecdotes about mental illness in local jails and state prisons.

Reporter Gary Harki took a story he dubbed ‘a crisis without data,’ and scrounged the data from enough sources to confirm those anecdotes and affirm a crisis of training, funding, education and ethics.
He crafts a story that begins with anecdotes, but quickly guides the reader to understand that these outcomes are not exceptions. They are the rule when rules do not exist.

The Pilot also anchors this national story with deep reporting in its own community, finding its regional jail to be ‘a dumping ground for inmates with all kinds of sickness…’ Partnering with Marquette University gave Harki the legwork needed to compare his own community’s situation with national trends. He also gave those students invaluable contemporary journalism experience.

The Pilot’s project clears two hurdles to win best of show. It tops a very strong collection of deeply reported stories from Virginia newspapers. And it makes a national story pertinent and interesting to the Pilot’s local subscribers. Bravo!”

Non-Daily Writing: Steve Roberts, Jr., The Virginia Gazette

“The detail the reporter captures in this entry helped it stand above the others. Reporter does a fantastic job detailing the uncertainty around the recovery. Interviews with the father and the therapists were extremely emotional and compelling. Detail throughout helped understand how progress was tediously incremental. The photography and presentation added to the impact of the story. Well done!”

Specialty Writing: Jack Cooksey, Richmond Magazine

“So nice to read a story on this subject. Seems very rare to have an administrator with this much heart and involvement. The story was very educational, informative, detailed, and interesting. Lots of research went into doing this story. This story was on a subject very different from the others.”

Online Writing: Emily Hays, Charlottesville Tomorrow

“Excellent combination of the human aspect (lede story of women who became an activist) and numbers (research, statistics, etc.) Very well written and a good read.”