2012 Dateline Award winners

            Dee Ann Divis, a writer for Inside GNSS¸ a magazine that covers global navigation satellite systems, was named the winner of the Society of Professional Journalists Washington, D.C., Professional Chapter's highest journalistic award, the Robert D.G. Lewis Watchdog Award which comes with a $1,000 prize.

            In addition, the D.C. Pro chapter gave out its annual Dateline Awards for journalism excellence to 70 entries in 39 categories, covering print, TV, radio and online journalism."

            The Lewis Award is chosen from among all the entries in the Dateline Awards competition.  The entries were judged by members of SPJ's three professional chapters in Ohio.

            Inside GNSS is controlled circulation magazine that reaches an international audience of 35,000.  It is owned by Gibbons Media & Research LLC, a privately held company based in Eugene, Ore.

            The awards was presented at the SPJ Chapter's annual Dateline Awards banquet at the National Press Club Tuesday night, June 12.

            The judge for Divis's categorical entry wrote:

            "Divis demonstrates a mastery of her subject, handling equally well spot, in-depth reporting with the type of analysis possible only for a reporter in complete command of her subject matter. She translates deeply technical information into layman’s language that makes for a compelling read."

            The chairman of Ohio's judging panel added:

            "Judges from all three Ohio chapters reviewed her work, and concur that her work clearly exemplifies journalism aimed at protecting the public from abuses by those who would betray the public trust.

            "Dee Ann Divis has recognized a threat to the general public, disruption of the GPS services that so many people have come to rely on.  She has continued to report on this threat in her writings, demonstrating several requisite traits for watchdog journalists.  She is alert, analytical, and persistent.  She writes with a clarity that informs and is not misunderstood."

List of Winners

            Here is the complete list of other awards and their judges' comments:

Correspondent Award

            Winner: Dee Ann Divis, Inside GNSS.

            Finalist: Alisa Parenti, MarketWatch Radio Network –  for an impressive series offers breadth and an intimate portrait of unemployment in America today.

            Finalist: Allison Sherry, The Denver Post – Sherry understands how to narrow and translate the wide Washington web to hone in on her community’s needs and interests.

Daily Newspapers


Winner - Capital Depreciation - Steve Whyno, The Washington Times

            A great sports enterprise story that gets behind the stats and gives a reader/fan a true insight into what is happening on the ice. Extensively but fairly reported.

Finalist - Lady In Charge On, Off Field - Patrick Hruby, The Washington Times

            A nice glimpse behind the novelty and the initial headlines – following up on the initial story with a behind the scenes look and deep reporting to get former players to talk.


Winner - Housing Bust Still Fresh for Many in D.C. Area - Liz Farmer, Washington Examiner

            Well-written exploration of uneven housing price recovery in Washington, D.C. Good personal example of homeowner forced into short sale. Clear concise chart illustrates story's main points. A complete package.

Finalist - D.C. Area Housing Market Feels Pinch - Katherine Lewis, Washington Post (freelancer)

            Fine reporting on unique local implications of national housing and lending policy.


Winner- Earthquake Jolts East Coast - Staff of The Washington Times (Dave Boyer, Stephen Dinan, David Eldridge, Jennifer Harper, David Hill, Tom Howell Jr., Victor Morton, Meredith Somers and Shaun Waterman)

            Excellent deadline coverage of August quake in Virginia and its impact on the D.C. Area. Readers were told what happened and why, what would happen next and what it all meant. Solid reporting.

Finalist - Earthquake Rocks Region - Liz Farmer, Lisa Garther and Hayley Peterson, Washington Examiner

            Fine coverage of earthquake.

Finalist - Frank Kameny  Obit - Jessica Gresko and Brett Zongker, The Associated Press

            Solid summing up of a gay rights pioneer.


Winner - Big Hollywood - Patrick Hruby, The Washington Times

            Patrick Hruby’s article Big Hollywood effectively mixes research and original reporting across sports and entertainment to examine the who, what, how and why of celebrity PED Use. His story is well told. Thought-provoking, factual and thorough. Great profile and interview with Jeremy Jackson as well.

Finalist - Diego’s Secret Just His Style - Ben Birnbaum, The Washington Times

            Moving and inspiring. Excellent reporting and insight. The character of the story, Mr. D’Ambrosio is brought to life through Birnbaum’s skillful writing. After reading, I felt like I had been to his salon and personally met Mr. D’Ambrosio.

Finalist - A Recipe for Fond Memories - Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press

            Jessica Gresko’s story gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the human side of a Supreme Court Justice. Her excellent research and attention to detail result in an elegantly written story.


Winner - "Metro's Dangerous Overtime." - Kytja Weir, Washington Examiner

            All the entries in this category, daily newspaper investigative reporting, represented good work in depth on important topics, but the winner was especially broad reaching in its dealing not only with budgeting per se but with concerns for safety over a wide area with implications for many thousands of individual riders of the system.


Winner - The Truth About e Dulles Rail - Barbara F. Hollingsworth, Washington Examiner

            This editorial raises a complicated issue--an alphabet soup of largely unelected boards and commissions committing unknowing taxpayers to colossal debt based on fantasy income projections. Hollingsworth wisely educates her readers before opining on the policy. Pay attention, readers!


Winner - Sentences Changing for Crack Prisoners - Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press

            It has long been held that sentences for crack and cocaine differed for no good reason, and that the disparity meant blacks -- who were more likely to use and sell crack -- received unjustly severe penalties. The reporter sniffed out and followed up on a change in the sentencing guidelines that would, retroactively, change the penalties faced by some of those doing time on crack-related offenses. The stories effectively alerted the public to the change that was being contemplated and eventually was enacted and just as important, gave readers the opportunity to hear the anger, frustration and hope in the voices of those who had skin in the game.

Finalist - Be A Star Witness, Escape Execution - Jim McElhatton, The Washington Times

            Jim McElhatton, The Washington Times, for story on DC underworld figure who wanted to go legit. The author deserves kudos for looking beyond law-enforcement agencies' (in some cases understandable) "no-comments" to find some of the backstory of this individual in old trial records. The effort provided the reader with an intriguing and sad look at unfulfilled hopes and dreams.

Finalist - Redskins Season Ticket List A Mystery - Liz Farmer, Washington Examiner

            Super insight into a long-standing myth about the NFL and the reality behind it. A bit circumstantial – would have been nice to have more stats and such – but otherwise a great read.

Finalist - P.G. Ordinance Cracks Down on Clubs Beset by Violence - Andrea Noble, The Washington Times

            The reporting detailed efforts to stem violence, including fatal shootings and beatings, by means of legislation that the dance-club owners thought was unfair. The abundance of anecdotes of violence certainly demonstrated why officials felt compelled to take action.



Winner - Recalling Unjustly Neglected Star (Hi-De-Ho: The Life Of Cab Calloway) - William Gavin review, The Washington Times

            William Gavin provides a birds-eye view into Cab Calloway and biographer Alyn Shipton’s assertion of the entertainer’s artistic greatness.  Gavin’s review is clear and direct, briefly introducing Cab Calloway before focusing on the strengths and potential flaw in Shipton’s portrayal of the man, his place in jazz history and call to be re-discovered.  Gavin provides a strong opening and closing, keeping his focus clearly on the biography – exactly as it should be.

Finalist - Depression Cast As A Manic Dog (Mr. Chartwell) - Emily Colette Wilkinson review, The Washington Times

            The critique of Rebecca Hunt’s novel, Mr. Chartwell, by Emily Colette Wilkinson goes to great lengths to provide the reader with a sense of why the main construct of the book, Mr. Chartwell, largely fails to capture Winston Churchill’s experience with depression.  The review balances that by recognizing some of the book’s best moments.

            Ms. Wilkinson is respectful and thorough and that’s something any author should appreciate.

Finalist - ‘Gatsby’ Author Gets Personal (F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Short Autobiography) - Marion Elizabeth Rodgers review, The Washington Times

            Marion Elizabeth Rodgers provides a well-written, lengthy overview of the life of F. Scott FitzGerald and the literary landscape of the time, leading into her review of the FitzGerald autobiography, which brings voice to a selection of writings by FitzGerald written between 1920 and 1940. It’s enlightening to learn about the struggles FitzGerald faced attempting to get a selection of his work published, juxtaposed with the selection of his work chosen by editor and historian James L.W. West III.



Winner- "Employee Rights, Company Risks." - Steve Taylor, SHRM Online

Fine work.


Winner - Holly Acres Flooding - Lauren Jost, Patch.com

            Lauren Jost’s coverage of Tropical Storm Lee tells a powerful story of how the storms impacted people’s lives. Through her writing, she shows how the events greatly affected a mobile home community along Route 1. Solid reporting and follow-through.

Finalist  - Occoquan Flooding Coverage - Rachel Leon, Patch.com

            Rachel Leon’s coverage of Tropical Storm Lee offered readers a lifeline, as they lived through the days following the storm. Her writing offers a personal perspective and backing details.


Winner: Unspent Millions on People with Disabilities - Len Lazarick and Glynis Kazanjian, MarylandReporter.com

            A well-researched package shows the power of the press in uncovering wrong-doing and showing readers what they need to know. It is presented clearly and comprehensively. Well done.


Winner - A Trap Hidden In Plain Sight - Paul Fletcher, Virginia Lawyers Weekly

            Well written editorial offers insight into maneuvering in the legal realm to meet a controversial Virginia Supreme Court decision and condemns the attempt.

Finalist - The Many Flavors of Wine - Scott Greenberg, VineGuy.com 

            Deftly explains how wines develop complex flavors, citing experts and own experience.

Finalist - The Oaks III Development Near Occoquan: An Overview - Rachel Leon, Patch.com

            Clearly an issue of importance to this community that is reported with solid facts and a good sense of what readers need to know.


Winner : Postal Governor Resigns Amid Real Estate Scandal - Stephen Losey, Federal Times

            Extremely well-done piece on local government corruption that is well reported and clearly outlines the misdeeds and how they were uncovered by this reporter. Fair, impartial and informative investigative reporting. A strong and worthy winner.

Finalist - GE-Hitachi Fined For Significant Security Breaches In Nuclear Fuel Effort - Elaine Grossman, Global Security Newswire/National Journal Group

            Well researched and compelling article that uses FOIA to advance the public good. It is written in a clear, concise style that lets the reader clearly see the significance and easily navigate through the most important information.



Winner - 911 Call - Mark Segraves, WTOP

            There's plenty of dramatic irony here. We know the outcome, but we sense the frustration from the callers that they can't get the help they need. The supervisor explanation rounds out a nice journalistic endeavor.  The use of natural sound to enhance the experience of "being there" was superb.


Winner - The Death Of Osama Bin Laden - WTOP Staff

            Good compilation of material to give listeners a well-rounded and balanced view of this historic event. The best part was the segment outside The White House because you can feel the energy of the assembled crowd.


Winner - 9/11 Ten Years Later - WTOP Staff

            Nobody will forget where they were on September 11, 2001. Everybody can relate to the feelings and emotions captured on the 10th anniversary. Nice compilation of material giving a well-rounded journalistic snapshot of the day's events.


Winner - Drive. Run. Putt. Repeat - Kristi King, WTOP

            The written summary promised that listeners would feel the sweat through their radio and the piece delivered on that promise. Nice natural sound. Nice pacing in the narration. The segment made you feel as though you were there.

Finalist - A Day With 'Dray - Brennan Haselton, WTOP

            Nice idea that was well-executed. It really gave the listener a feel of how the other half lives.


Winner - Surviving Pain At The Pump - Alisa Parenti , MarketWatch Radio Network

            Strong scripts, pace and range of coverage. Excellent local enterprise reporting.


Winner -  Bacon, It's What’s For Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner - Andrew Mollenbeck,  WTOP

            Superb writing, laser focus on topic, sprinkled with sizzle and humor makes for a top award winner.

Finalist -  Muffled Metro

Adam Tuss WTOP

            Bad Metro audio.  Good radio.



Winner - Spy Girls - Gary Nurenberg, Freelance, WUSA9  

            Very nicely produced story on two amazing characters. Great use of file video to take viewers on the journeys that the women experienced. It's the "You Are There" sort of feeling that lets people know that these brave ladies have an important place in United States history.

Finalist - Memorial Day Family - Gary Nurenberg, WUSA9  

            A well-produced story makes you feel that you know the people involved. That's what happened here. You finish watching the segement feeling the sadness for the families who lost loved ones and respect for the sacrifices that have been made. Nice segment that was full of feeling.

Finalist - Should The National Anthem Be Changed? - Gary Nurenberg, Freelance, WUSA9  

            Well done. The argument continues on this topic and both sides are well-captured in a fun way. The file video makes it clear the Star Spangled Banner is hard to sing and harder to change as the National Anthem.


Winner:   Thanksgiving Pardons For Turkeys - Gary Nurenberg,   WUSA9

            Excellent mix of content shows history and culture shift around presidential pardons of Thanksgiving turkeys.  Documented and delivered with aplomb!


Winner:  Loudoun County Jobs - Gary Nurenberg, WUSA9

            Tight focus, well sprinkled stats, reinforced by shots of injured veterans give this entry journalistic heft.


Winner - Senior Apartment House Fire - Gary Nurenberg, WUSA9

            Report captures facts, personal fears,  and heroic  actions of firefighters and residents of apartment complex.  Viewers well served by top-notch turn under deadline pressure.


Winner - Stealing From Dead Children - Gary Nurenberg, WUSA9

            Compelling story that should make anyone aware of possibilities for a deceased relative’s Social Security number to be used for illegal purposes.

Finalist - Bullying Stops Son From Going to School Says Mom - Elizabeth Jia, WUSA9

            Bullying at school has become the story du jour, but this package made it personal, and it turned out to have a result of Darrell being tutored at home.



No winner


Winner -  Labor Board Chairman: GOP Member Has Threatened To Resign Over Union Rule - Kevin Bogardus, The Hill

            A public records request by the reporter revealed a threat to resign from the National Labor Relations Board’s lone Republican member. What elevated the story was the explanation about the impact such a resignation would have, essentially depriving the board of a quorum and sapping its authority. Good work.

Finalist - Ex-Bush Official Involved In Payroll Tax Letter Touted By GOP - Alexander Bolton, The Hill

            A letter from a supposedly bipartisan coalition of paycheck firms turned into a political football when it criticized a Senate-passed piece of payroll tax legislation. When this reporter uncovered that one of the coalition’s lobbyists was a former GOP aide on the Senate Finance Committee under Bush, the plot definitely thickened. The story moves along with great quotes.


Winner -  Men, Music And Message - Joey DiGuglielmo, Washington Blade

            Nice example of colorful, descriptive critical writing.


No winner


Winner - Lobbyists Took $100k Cut In Pay to Work for Members Of Congress - Kevin Bogardus and Rachel Leven, The Hill.

            The story brings to light the legal, and ethically highly questionable, practice of lobbyists setting aside their lucrative posts to go to work for members of Congress and "refreshing" their contacts for future lobbying prospects. Secondarily, it highlights the difficulty of finding out exactly who makes how much in House and Senate offices--clearly not an oversight given available technology. A strong call for transparency and stronger ethics rules.

Finalist - Blind Spot:  DOT Not Tracking Highway Overruns, Delays - Sarah Chacko, Steve Watkins and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, Gannett Government Media Corp.
            Raises an important issue, but too many bureaucratic details stitched together without a cohesive narrative to engage the reader.


Winner -  What's Wrong With Maryland's Gays? - Kevin Naff, Washington Blade

          This editorial holds an elected official accountable, with solid reporting, for failing to represent his constituents. But it further takes the LGBT community to task for its lethargy. A lot accomplished in a brief and concise piece.

Finalist - Washington Weakens Tea Party Brew - Columns by A. B. Stoddard, The Hill
            Although the problems created by the newest crop of GOP members of Congress have been well-documented, Stoddard does a nice job of painting the picture from the inside and letting the readers in on the chaos the freshman class has created--purposely and by accident.


Winner - Trade Deals Were Cash Cows For K Street - Kevin Bogardus, The Hill

            An eye-opening look at the lobbying dollars spent on promoting stalling trade agreements between three countries and the United States. Readers should wonder if all the cash flowing at the efforts was ultimately responsible for their passage.


No winner


Winner: Delays To DHS Headquarters Add $500m - Andy Medici, Gannett Government Media Corp.

            Great story – along with the figures all laid out, about government workings and accountability. Shocking stories such as these can lead to major changes and overhauling the govt. machinery. Well written and extremely relevant. Good use of Freedom of Information Act to show how a project was running over budget and behind schedule.

Finalist: 38 Postal Execs Earn More Than Cabinet Members - Sean Reilly, Gannett Government Media Corp.

            It is important to bring to light that U.S. postal executives were being rewarded with big salaries while cuts were being sought elsewhere. Researched stories like this will hopefully bring about change in the system.

Finalist: Once Homeless, Gay Youth Is College Bound - Lou Chibbaro Jr., Washington Blade

            Personal and poignant about the reality of being young and gay. Powerful and enlightening story of how a gay youth managed to head to college after being rejected by his parents.


Winner - Rollin On/Rollerskating Lives - Amy Reinink, Freelance, Washington City Paper

            An informative and well-written piece filled with important and new information about the black experience using role or roller-skating in black lives. She found a lot of interesting people to talk to and share their experiences with the reader.

Finalist - ‘I Want To Be The Man I Was Before’ - Karen Feld, Freelancer

            We have read, it must be, a hundred articles about how 9/11 changed America, but never before this a story about one of the ticket agents who arranged for a couple of terrorists to board one of the planes on 9/11.  What a brilliant and unique way to tell this story once again in a fresh and interesting way. Well reported and written.

Finalist - Political Cartoonists Rooting For Gingrich - Judy Kurtz, The Hill

            Love the angle to this story. Lots of wonderful and colorful quotes from the world of political cartoonists. It is also a wonderful satiric look at candidate Newt Gingrich. How did this guy end up running for president? He, of course, dropped out, to the chagrin of cartoonists everywhere.



Winner - Silverdocs Reviews: "Page One: Inside The New York Times," "Bob And The Monster," And "Revenge Of The Electric Car" - Sophie Gilbert, Washingtonian

            Sophie Gilbert’s quick-witted voice, coupled with her cultural savvy and lively reporting skills give readers an insightful overview of three documentaries. Great perspective.

Finalist - Theatre Review: "Uncle Vanya" At The Kennedy Center - Sophie Gilbert, Washingtonian

            Sophie Gilbert’s review offers readers an incisive critique before they head to the theater for a night out. She delivers a vibrant image of characters and their roles through her solid writing ability.


Winner - Who Made Andy Najar? - Luke Mullins, Washingtonian

            Luke Mullins trip to Honduras gave him a firsthand opportunity to learn about soccer prodigy Andy Najar’s journey – From his small hometown to his starting position. He shares his own experiences with readers through his in-depth reporting and insightful writing. Excellent story.

Finalist – Can He Move The Chains - Luke Mullins, Washingtonian

            Luke Mullins makes a compelling argument through his coverage of NFL Player’s Association head DeMaurice Smith. He introduces readers to him with a personal profile just before Smith became a household name in football. Solid insight and reporting.

Winner- "The Artist" - Chris Lehman and Sophie Gilbert, Washingtonian

            Photos of Chris Martin's gigantic painting take readers into artist's work and process. Especially liked photos of b&w pieces.

Finalist - "Yeah, It's Loaded" - Eli Meir Kaplan & Michael Gaynor, Washingtonian

            Eye catching photos of pistol packing women.


Winner - “Facebook Likes DC. But Does Washington Like It Back?” - Joseph Guinto, Washingtonian

            An insightful look inside the Washington, D.C., office of online giant Facebook, its relationships with politicians and the potential ramifications on the looming war over privacy. A big story, with big implications.

Finalist - “A Tale Of Two Law Firms” - Marisa M. Kashino, Washingtonian

            An exhaustive study of two powerful D.C. law firms, one of which ultimately imploded. Good insider stories and narrative – a must-read for local business insiders, and a lesson for other firms in what not to do.

Finalist - “Bloomberg’s Death Star” - Shane Harris, Washingtonian

            The writer takes an analytical look of a major move by Bloomberg into a long-entrenched D.C. media model. While pundits say traditional media is dying, this story shows it’s alive and well – at least inside the Beltway.


Winner - Christy’s Choice - Cindy Rich, July 2011 Washingtonian.

           The writer expertly details how a surgeon who becomes the patient makes a difficult decision.

Finalist - Are Twenty-Somethings Asking Too Much? - Hannah Seligson, Washingtonian, November 2011   

            An interesting, honest, and detailed look at what today’s young people are looking for in their careers and in life.

Finalist - How Do You Explain Gene Weingarten? - Tom Bartlett, Washingtonian, December 2011

              Fascinating portrait of a writer showing his greatest assets and shortcomings.


Winner - Tracking a Killer - Emily Leaman, Washingtonian, March 2011.

            The story reminds us what we love in journalistic writing- empathy, mystery and the thrill of in the end making a discovery and understanding a complex situation. The story about Kumari, the elephant, and the mystery infection unfolds before our eyes as if we are part of the investigation. The reporting shows how a science story can be good reading.

Finalist - The Great Divide - Eugene L. Meyer, Bethesda Magazine, November/December 2011.

            Excellent example of giving a micro and personalized picture of what this economic crisis means to the some of the communities that are bearing the brunt. It highlights how the economic crisis has affected some people more than others, some neighborhoods more than other. The reporting humanizes and puts a face on the impact of the recession and joblessness near neighborhoods in the capital region that perhaps has one of the highest median incomes.

Finalist - Where's the Fast Lane? - Tim Zimmerman, Washingtonian, November 2011

            Some of our cities are dying. Others are becoming crowded to the extent that infrastructure cannot keep up with it. The story highlights one of the major problems with urban development in the country. It not only highlights the problems by focusing on the carrying capacity of the roads leading to the center of the overcrowded cities, but it also shows the way forward by talking to experts about what is the solution.


Winner -  Love and Death in Charlottesville - Harry Jaffe, Washingtonian, May 2011.

            Excellent reporting and writing.  Dealing with why a murder like this happened was fascinating to read. A lot of background information was gathered to write this story.

Finalist  - Silent Stars - Jennifer Skalka, Washingtonian, January 2011.

            A powerful piece, well-written and researched. Made the whole terrorist world come alive for the reader. The special challenges of getting people to talk about the secret CIA world made this story especially noteworthy.

Finalist - Coming Back - John Pekkanen, Washingtonian, September 2011.

            A well-reported and nicely written piece. Brought alive for the reader what is really going on with our wounded warriors, and how difficult these injuries are to treat.


Washington Reporting

Winner - Fukushima Fallout - Douglas P. Guarino, Inside EPA, series beginning March 21, 2011.  

            It is almost a cliché to say that a journalist’s core duty is to function as a watchdog on the behalf of the citizens. It reminds us the central role played by Newsletters. Inside EPA makes a compelling case for what we mean by a watchdog function. In post-Fukushima days, the reporter for all the right reasons wanted to see if the government agencies in this country were enforcing their own standards to safeguard public health from nuclear radiation. Using FOIA the reporter found that EPA was not up to the task. We learn about the inside working of EPA and the problems with the agency. 

Finalist - Obama Mulls Dismantling TTB: Tax Collection to IRS, Trade Practices, Labels, Product Testing to FDA - Joel Whitaker, Kane’s Beverage News Daily, Dec. 20, 2011.

            The story on the dismantling of TTB is yet another example of how journalists function as eyes and ears of citizens. The importance of the reporting is not about the correctness of the proposed dismantling of TTB by the government, but it is about how this decision lacked transparency. The story shines light on a major policy decision of the government, which could have gone unnoticed. 

Finalist - Cloud Computing Emerges as a Tax Conundrum as States Seek to Squeeze ‘New Paradigm’ into Old Ways of Thinking - Dolores Gregory, Steven Roll and Christine Boeckel, Bloomberg BNA, Multistate Tax Report, Dec. 23, 2011.

            The excellent reporting in this story highlights the role played by newsletters that follow the developments in government departments and agencies. It explains to the reader that complexities in tax policy can result from new technology. The reporter present the complex issues of taxation in a lucid and easily accessible form.

Sports Website

WINNER: “ ’85 Bears Finally Visit White House” - Story and photos by Khalil Garriott, from the NFL Players’ Association website, Oct. 7, 2011.

            Loved this story about the 1985 Super Bowl winners finally getting their congratulatory visit to the White House, which was cancelled back when they actually won because of the Challenger disaster.  It’s a good story, well told, and it was the first to be posted anywhere about this event. One particularly nice touch was the quotes about the two players who had died since 1985.

Contact: Julie Asher, President, 202-541-3266
             Joel Whitaker, Contest Coordinator, 240-583-0280