The winners of the 2nd annual DFMie awards are …


The Denver Post and York Daily Record each won four 2014 DFMies for the best work of last year by Digital First Media staff members.

Three clusters where multiple newsrooms collaborate on news coverage had similar DFMie showings: five for the Los Angeles News Group, four for the Bay Area News Group and four for the Connecticut newsrooms.

The Register Citizen in Torrington, Conn., and The Mercury in Pottstown, Pa., led a strong showing by DFM’s smaller newsrooms, each winning two DFMies.

In all, 36 journalists won DFMies in judging conducted March 7-8 in New York by a panel of journalists and journalism professors from outside the company. Four newsrooms won a total of six staff awards. The awards will be presented to the winners at an April 23 program at the St. Paul Hotel in St. Paul, Minn.

Winners receive $1,000 each (split if up to four journalists were nominated). For staff winners (five or more people contributing), the $1,000 prize goes towards a staff party or a community donation.

Journalists of the Year

Meet the all-stars: Digital First Media's  Journalists of the Year for 2014.

Meet the all-stars: Digital First Media’s Journalists of the Year for 2013.

Five journalists were chosen as Journalists of the Year in different divisions of DFM:

The four journalists of the year entered into a second round of judging for DFM Journalist of the Year. The winner of that award will be disclosed at the program in April.

Breaking News, Visual and Special Contribution

Visual Journalism: Ben Garvin of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which will host the awards program, won the Visual Journalism DFMie for a photo gallery of faces as runners crossed the finish line of the Twin Cities Marathon.

Breaking News: Coverage of September’s Colorado flooding won both Breaking News DFMies, with the staff of the Denver Post winning among large newsrooms and the Daily Camera in Boulder winning for small newsrooms. In addition, the Times-Call in Longmont was a double finalist – in breaking news and visual journalism – for its flood coverage.

Live Coverage and Special Contribution: The Live Coverage DFMie also went to a staff breaking news effort, the New Haven Register’s coverage of a plane crashing into homes in East Haven, Conn. That was one of two Register DFMies: Shahid Abdul-Karim won the Special Contribution DFMie for his news coverage of the community’s response to violence in New Haven and for leading a community conversation on the issue, including a public roundtable with community leaders and family members of murder victims.

Investigative/Enterprise Journalism

In addition to the DFMies for breaking news and Journalist of the Year, competition in investigative or enterprise journalism and sports journalism were divided by newsroom size.

The Denver Post and Daily Camera also took the Investigative/Enterprise Journalism DFMies.

Large newsroomThe Post won for “Stepping Toward Hope,” a project on spinal-cord injuries that included stories by Michael Booth, photos by Craig F. Walker and RJ Sangosti, video by AAron Ontiveroz and graphics by Severiano Galvan.

Small newsroomCharlie Brennan of the Camera won the small-newsroom award for digging up the story that a grand jury in 1999 had voted to indict the parents of JonBenet Ramsey in the 6-year-old girl’s 1998 death, but the district attorney had refused to prosecute. The small-newsroom investigative/enterprise category was the largest in the competition with 25 entries.

Sports Journalism

Large newsroom: The York Daily Record was the large newsroom winner of the Sports Journalism DFMie for daylong coverage of the Penn State-Nebraska football game by Frank Bodani, Chris Dunn, Brad Jennings and Jim Seip.

Small newsroom: Laura Amato of The Record in Troy, N.Y., won the Sports Journalism DFMie in small newsrooms for her multi-platform coverage of high school football.

The rest of the categories

Small newsrooms also won awards in open competition against entries from all DFM newsrooms.

The Denver Post’s DFMies all resulted from teamwork.

In addition to the DFMies won by Plotkin and the sports team, the York Daily Record won two more DFMies:

  • Innovator of the Year: Dan Herman was named Innovator of the Year for his contributions to several digital efforts. Herman also was a finalist for the Design DFMie for his design of a project on diabetes.
  • Interactive Journalism: Samantha Dellinger and Brad Jennings won the Interactive Journalism DFMie for their design of the Gettysburg 150 iPad app. Jennings, who also shared in the Sports DFMie, was the only 2014 double winner (other than the DFM Journalist of the Year, who hasn’t been named yet). Dellinger, last year’s winner of the Print Front Page DFMie, is one of two repeat winners from 2013.

The York staff also had finalists in seven categories, the best showing by any single newsroom.

Saltzgaver’s Journalist of the Year (non-daily) DFMie is one of five won by the Los Angeles News Group. Other winners:

The Bay Area News Group won four DFMies:

Digital First Media’s Thunderdome newsroom won a DFMie as well.

The winning entries are detailed in separate posts at the links above. The finalists in each category are listed in those posts.

The judging process

The 2014 DFMies attracted more than 370 entries. In the biggest categories, journalism professors from around the country narrowed the field to about 10 semi-finalists for consideration in judging at Thunderdome March 7-8. The New York judges chose the finalists and winners.

The 2014 DFMie judges were Anika Anand, C.W. Anderson, Sue Burzynski Bullard, LaSharah Bunting, Curt Chandler, Andrew Chavez, Paul Cheung, Kim Fox, John Hatcher, Tom Kent, Steve Klein, Alex Leo, Norm Lewis, Mindy McAdams, Merrill Perlman, Aron Pilhofer, Barbara Raab, Mike Reilley, Bob Sacha, Andrew Salomon, Gabriella Stern, Margaret Sullivan, Kathleen Woodruff Wickham and Mark Witherspoon.

Steve Buttry

By Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry is Digital Transformation Editor for Digital First Media. He oversees our efforts to transform newsroom operations and culture to more effectively pursue our digital goals. His duties include responsibility for social media and community engagement. He has visited most DFM newsrooms personally, leading workshops and coaching editors and other journalists in following the Digital First approach.

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