2009 Excellence in Journalism Awards

June 25, 2010

Thank you for coming to the Hawaii Chapter SPJ's 2009 Excellence in Journalism Awards dinner at the Ala Moana Hotel.

We had a record number of entries this year. The winners were selected by SPJ chapters in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

D1 Business Reporting
First Place
Andrew Gomes, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Last of Sugar Cane Plantations on Track Toward More Financial Losses"
Comments: This story is a well-written account of the financial and production challenges that face Hawaii's last sugar cane producer. The story also outlines prospects for turning the company around, based on finding new markets for sugar cane. Relevant graphs, illustrations and sidebar work do a good job of supporting the story.


* Audrey McAvoy, Associated Press, "Volcanic smog shutting down some Hawaii farmers"
* Rick Daysog, The Honolulu Advertiser, "As unions struggle, leaders' pay goes up"

D2 Spot News Reporting
First Place
Advertiser Staff, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Furlough Furor"
D3 General News/Enterprise Reporting
First Place
William Cole, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Bad Blood: The Ambush of Chosen Company in Afghanistan"
Comments: Great authoritative reporting and writing. Excellent use of photos and graphics made "Bad Blood" stand out in a very strong field.
* Peter Sur, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, "Saluting American Valor"
* Maui News Reporting Staff, The Maui News, "Maui Meltdown"

D4 Feature Writing/Short Form
First Place
Mary Vorsino, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Father Damien's Miracle Woman"


* Allison Schaefers, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Home sweet home"
* Matthew Thayer, The Maui News, "It's a wrap, again"

D5 Feature Writing/Long Form
First Place
William Cole, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Bad Blood: The Ambush of Chosen Company in Afghanistan"
D6 News Page Design
First Place
Mike Rovner, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Tight times"
Comments: The simple yet iconic photo, coupled with a clever headline (and stylized headline treatment) raise this design to the top. The subject in the photo is obviously a construction worker, and the headline plays into the image in the photo as well as the news peg.
D7 Feature Page Design
First Place
Russell McCrory, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Prized Fighter"
Comments: A superb blend of elements in the main package came together very nicely to make a fun and readable end product. The photos are sized perfectly, and the idea to make this look like an old-style boxing poster is well-executed without being over the top. The page has a nice balance to it.


* Joe Edwards, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "First on the tee"
* Joe Guinto, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Portraying Damien"


ND1 Business Reporting
First Place
Christine Cabalo, Hawaii Marine, "Bright Idea! New efficient lights dazzle K-Bay"
ND2 General News/Enterprise Reporting
First Place
Ragnar Carlson, Honolulu Weekly, "Malaekahanaville"
Comments: Nice mix of research and colorful detail through interviews.


* Jed Stockton, Big Island Weekly, "Sea level change on Big Island series"
* Christine Cabalo, Hawaii Marine, "The Feminine Physique"

ND3 Feature Writing
First Place
Joe Udell, The Hawai'i Herald, "Water Runs Deep"
Comments: A Japanese American traces his family in Japan. Fascinating.

* Don Chapman, MidWeek, "The High Priests Wore Board Shorts"
* Adrienne LaFrance, Honolulu Weekly, "Memorial War"

ND4 Community Reporting
First Place
Mark Vieth, Lahaina News, "Cochran concerned about LHS Boarding Department"


* Trisha Smith, Maui Weekly, "Gray Area of 'Green Medicine'"
* Trisha Smith, Maui Weekly, "Lahainaween: Trick or Treat?"

ND5 Page Design
First Place
Christine Cabalo, Hawaii Marine, "Hawaii Hotspots: Ten sites to see"


M1 Business Reporting
First Place
Dennis Hollier, Hawaii Business magazine, "HMSA Will Remain Goliath"
Comments: At a time when health care is at the fore of national debate, Dennis Hollier's piece on competition among Hawaii's insurers sheds light on how the state has some of the highest rates of coverage and the lowest costs of care in the nation. He examines the consequences of state-enacted regulations and explains the risk Hawaii citizens face in allowing one insurer to reign."


Shara Enay, Hawaii Business magazine, "Hidden gems to help you"
M2 Industry or Trade Reporting
First Place
Patricia Tummons, Environment Hawai'i, "Longliners Seek Loophole in Bigeye Limits"
M3 Profile
First Place
Rufus Kimura, Hana Hou!, "Into the Twilight Zone"
M4 Feature Writing/Short Form
First Place
Chad Blair, Hana Hou!, "The Art of Algae"
Comments: Chad Blair's profile of a collections technician at the Bishop Museum was well written and thoroughly enjoyable at the same time it manages to convey the importance of the seemingly menial work combined with colorful details and a rich background of reporting. The piece is a classic example of short-form feature writing.


* Deborah Boehm, Hana Hou!, "Bonanza!"
* Jason Ubay, Hawaii Business magazine, "The Obama Presidency"
M5 Feature Writing/Long Form
First Place
Jesse Katz, Hana Hou!, "Seven Summits"


* Derek Ferrar, Hana Hou!, "Flight of the Mosquito"
* Julia Steele, Hana Hou!, "Tree of Plenty"
M6 Page Design
First Place
Wes Funai, Hawaii Business magazine, "Best Places to Work - And the Winners are ... "
Comments: Winner 'Best Places to Work' was a very clean design with excellent use of drop-in photographs, judicious Photoshop work and meticulous use of white space. The addition of the graphs and photos that weren't shot too tight gives the viewer some room to breathe.


* Darin Isobe, HAWAI'I Magazine, "Dancing from the Heart"
* Kunio Hayashi, Hana Hou!, "Tree of Plenty"
M7 Magazine Cover
First Place
Darin Isobe, HAWAI'I Magazine, "HAWAI'I Magazine's November/December 2009 Cover"
Comments: The use of color and the movement in the photo set this entry apart. The color used in the name of the magazine matches that of the mountains, which helps to draw attention to the main headline. The color of the word adventures grabs attention but is a suitable complement to the blues and greens that dominate the layout."


P1 Column Writing/News
First Place
David Shapiro, The Honolulu Advertiser, "David Shapiro"
Comments: Excellent watchdog journalism. Clean, crisp and to the point.

* Lee Cataluna, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Lee Cataluna"
* Mark Platte, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Mark Platte"
P2 Column Writing/Features or Sports
First Place
A. Kam Napier, Honolulu Magazine, "Editor's Page"
Comments: Clear and pointed writing with a flair


* Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Further Review"
* Robert Collias, The Maui News, "Between the Lines"
P3 Government Reporting
First Place
Nancy Cook Lauer, West Hawaii Today, "Sell, Sell, Sell"

Comments: Reporter Nancy Cook Lauer sifts through nearly a decade of documents and discovers that Hawaii County government has consistently rejected alternatives for thousands of acres of farmland it is now trying to sell to balance the budget. The article was frequently cited during subsequent County Council hearings about this topic of great community interest.


* Sean Hao, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Honolulu Rail"
* Loren Moreno, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Some find fault in search for president"
* Michael Keany, Honolulu Magazine, "Do Teachers Make the Grade?"
P4 Breaking News Reporting
First Place
Craig Gima, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Samoa Tsunami"
Comments: The reporter clearly made the most of an opportunity to cover an unusual event and to take lessons home from it.

* Curtis Lum, Mary Vorsino, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Woman shot to death in Ewa"
* John Windrow, Curtis Lum, Suzanne Roig, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Woman Shot Dead at Makiki Complex"
P5 Health Reporting
First Place
Rob Perez, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Nursing Home Patient Evicted, Left at the Hospital"

Comments: This package employs a case-study approach to detail an elder-care problem destined to grow exponentially, thanks to the Baby Boom bulge and ever-increasing life expectancies. It combines gripping human elements with rich multi-sourced reporting on both the case at hand and the larger issue it illustrates. Dominant front-page play provides well-deserved support, as do the accompanying chart, photos and design elements. There were other commendable entries in this category, including one by the same author. But this one stood out.


* Dan Nakaso, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Persistent Problem Stumps Chinatown"
* Rob Perez, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Expense of Elderly Care Puts Strain on Isles' Middle Class"
P6 Sports Reporting
First Place
Don Chapman, MidWeek, "The High Priests Wore Board Shorts"
Comments: The warm and witty tone of the piece engaged and informed the reader. A great example of event coverage that captured the moment and transported the reader to the scene.


* Billy Hull, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Many happy returns"
* Michael Tsai, The Honolulu Advertiser, "UH Sports Losing Fan Base"

P7 Arts/Entertainment Reporting
First Place
Mike Gordon, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Part-time Performers"
Comments: Well-reported piece.


* Kawehi Haug, The Honolulu Advertiser, "20 Bucks"
* Burl Burlingame, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "The man who didn't really stare at goats"
P8 Editorial
First Place
Patricia Tummons, Environment Hawai'i, "Going, Going, Gone: Will Ahi Vanish from the Auction Floor?"

Comments: Very good problem description, strong solution suggestion.


* Editorials and Opinions Staff Advertiser, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Public Housing"
* David Bock, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, "Build the TMT on Mauna Kea"
P9 Editorial Cartoon/Illustration
First Place
Dick Adair, MidWeek, "North Korea"


* Carlo Carbajal, Hawaii Business magazine, "The Perfect Office"
* Kip Aoki, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Boeuf a la Bourguignon a la Julia"
P10 Informational Graphic
First Place
Minette McCabe, Martha P. Hernandez, Richard Ambo, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Missouri to be towed to drydock"

Comments: Several of the full-page and double-truck layouts submitted in this category were magnificent. They had our entire art staff marveling. That made it difficult to settle on a set of finalists, let alone a top winner. But in a close call, we gave the edge to the takeout detailing the battleship Missouri's then-pending journey to drydock. It combined a superb color palette, rich transformational detail, exceptional organization, an effective design scheme and consistent execution. We also took note of the news value, timeliness and reader interest in the subject matter. This entry had an edge there on most of its competition.
P11 News Photography
First Place
William Ing, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, "Terrifying home robbery"
Comments: Winner was a powerful image wrought with emotion and well-implemented. Photographer showed some enterprise and didn't shy away from a difficult situation - he was the the eyes of the readers, as it should be.


* Richard Ambo, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Bad Blood: I know he's in heaven"
* Bruce Asato, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Mililani Teacher Wins National Award"

P12 Feature Photography
First Place
Dana Edmunds, Hana Hou!, "Surf summit"
Comments: Nice work, good color, good variety - great presentation, good enterprise by photographer.


* Gregory Yamamoto, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Troops Train to Reintegrate"
* Olivier Koning, Hawaii Business magazine, "Talk Story-Dean Okimoto"

P13 Sports Photography
First Place
Jamm Aquino, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Doused"
Comments: 'Doused' is the perfect culmination of planning and luck in that it captured a moment that all of us have tried to capture - but never as successfully as this. The emotion is there, the technical quality is spot on and the layout/printing does the photograph justice.
P14 Photo Essay
First Place
Jamm Aquino, F.L. Morris, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Lantern ceremony"
Comments: The first place winner separated itself from the field not by the quality of the photos, but the fact that it truly fit the tenets of the category of photo essay: The images are diverse and varied and, simply put, tell a story not evident in the other entries. Well done.


* Dana Edmunds, Hana Hou!, "The Beat Goes On"
* Mark Arbeit, Kristin Lipman, Honolulu Magazine, "Close to You"

P15 Special Section
First Place
Staff, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "50 years of statehood, 1959-2009"
Comments: A comprehensive package that also makes connections with the present.


* Michael Tsai, Paul Kuromoto, Martha Hernandez, Jonathan Kim, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Statehood Day"
* Mary Vorsino, Dan Nakaso, Martha Hernandez, Paul Kuromoto, Jon Orque, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Saint Damien: A Modern Christian Hero"

P16 Investigative Reporting
First Place
William Cole, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Bad Blood: The Ambush of Chosen Company in Afghanistan"
Comments: Indepth, critical description of a losing action in Afghanistan.


* Patricia Tummons, Environment Hawai'i, "The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council"
* Sean Hao, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Honolulu Rail"

P17 Public Service Reporting
First Place
William Cole, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Bad Blood: The Ambush of Chosen Company in Afghanistan"

Comments: William Cole does an excellent job of making a faraway war real, emotional and accessible. The brave questions raised by the reporting in his series are of both national and local import. Great work.


Christie Wilson, Rob Perez, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Man, Land & Sea"

I1 Online Spot News Reporting
First Place
Honolulu Advertiser Online Staff, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Obama inauguration: Hawaii Goes to Washington"
I2 Online General News Reporting
First Place
Honolulu Advertiser Online Staff, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Bad Blood: The Ambush of Chosen Company in Afghanistan"

Comments: The Wanat series online differed from the print version in its interactivity and multimedia components. The Web package features video, photo galleries, supporting documents in PDF format and calls to action for readers to share the stories via social networks. A timeline created in Flash and incorporating combat video and audio traces the events leading up to the battle of Wanat that wounded 27 and killed nine, among them a soldier from Hawaii. An interactive map invites readers to pan and zoom around the battle scene and muse over key locations for additional details.
I3 Best Online Multimedia Presentation
First Place
Honolulu Advertiser Online Staff, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Bad Blood: The Ambush of Chosen Company in Afghanistan"
I4 Best Web Page Design
First Place
Honolulu Advertiser Online Staff, The Honolulu Advertiser, "Bad Blood: The Ambush of Chosen Company in Afghanistan"

Comments: It's hard to imagine a richer, fuller, more imaginative piece of online enterprise. In our view, The Advertiser's Bad Blood package represents today's state of the art when it comes to online treatment of a special report. It combines gorgeous design and superb functionality with an amazingly rich array of multimedia and interactive elements. What's more, the underlying subject matter, a single battle in the ongoing war in Afghanistan, carries enough news value and reader interest to justify the effort. If you haven't already paid the site a visit, you should do so. You will be well rewarded

S2 Student Feature Writing
First Place
Lauren Rigney, Pacific Edge Magazine, "G.I.V.E.-ing at Ma'o Organic Farms"

R1 General News/Enterprise Reporting
First Place
Ben Markus, Hawaii Public Radio, "Hawaii School Furloughs Stir Anger"
Comments: Variety of sound and different angles.
R2 Feature Reporting
First Place
Ben Markus, Hawaii Public Radio, "Big Waves Delight Surfers in Hawaii"

Comments: Good use of sound. Lively writing. Feel for being on the board.

Derrick Malama, Hawaii Public Radio, "Hawaiian Music Retrospective"

T1 Government Reporting
First Place
Sisto Hawaii Domingo Jr.-Videojournalist, KHNL News 8, "Courthouse Al"
Comments: Judges enjoyed that the reporter let people and Al tell the story. Wonderful enterprise story.
T2 Business Reporting
First Place
Marisa Yamane, Ken Mashiyama, KHON2 News, "Joe Pacific"
Comments: Reporter did a great job enterprising an economy story and profiling a local business. Well written."


Keoki Kerr, KITV, "Transit High Paying Jobs"
T3 General News/Enterprise Reporting
Leland Kim, Ed Matthews, KHNL News 8, "Back to the 'Aina"
Comments: Wonderful enterprised local story - beautifully shot and edited. Judges had a hard time deciding against other general news stories, but this enterprised story shone above the others."

* Pamela Young, Rex Von Arnswaldt, KITV, "Pilgrimage"
* Marisa Yamane, Justin Kanno, KHON2 News, "American Samoa Tsunami"

T4 Feature Reporting
First Place
Diane Ako, Tracy Arakaki, KHNL News 8, "The Unlikely Samurai"
Comments: Beautiful. Heartwarming and inspiring story. Story has all the elements. Perfect lighting, wonderfully edited. Great choice of music. Well written. Spot on transitions, Photography was phenomenal. Easily rises to the top at all of the other entries.


* Diane Ako, Taires Hiranaka, KHNL News 8, "Butterfly farmer"
* Marisa Yamane, Justin Kanno, KHON2 News, "Haunted Hawaii"

T5 Spot News Reporting
First Place
Dick Allgire, KITV, "Surfer Rescued"
Comments: Good timing. Crew in the right place at the right time for breaking news and did a great job following up with friends and rescuers to finish telling the story. Good reporting."


* Andrew Pereira, KHON2 News, "Rats in Chinatown Market"
* Brianne Randle, Greg Lau, KHON2 News, "Hauula Home Collapse"

T6 Investigative Reporting
First Place
Andrew Pereira, Greg Lau, KHON2 News, "Dirty Ogo Sold in Chinatown"

Comments: Crew did a great job "chasing" the dirty ogo to market and notifying the vendor. Great investigative reporting.


* Keoki Kerr, KITV, "Dirty Dining"
* Ron Mizutani, Justin Kanno, KHON2 News, "Science of the Sting"

T7 Videography
First Place
Sonny Ahuna, KITV, "Surfer Rescued"
Comments: Quick thinking during 'breaking news' to get the shots needed to put together an exemplary spot news story.
T8 Series Reporting/Documentary/Special News Program
First Place
Lisa Kubota, Oscar Valenzuela, Anna Gomes, KGMB9, "Hawaii: The Imperial Visit"
Comments: This was the toughest decision for the judges this year. All of the winners did outstanding jobs with the work presented, but the enterprised elements of 'The Imperial Visit' was the deciding factor. Taking a local event and globalizing it and then bringing it full circle separated this entry from the others. Well done!


* Ron Mizutani, Greg Lau, KHON2 News, "Statehood: Hawaii's Golden Jubilee"
* Pamela Young, Rex Von Arnswaldt, KITV, "St. Damien, A Man Called Kamiano"

T9 Public Service Reporting
First Place
Leland Kim, KHNL News 8, "Tracking H1N1"

Comments: Leland Kim's extensive H1N1 coverage exemplifies public service reporting - bringing relevant information to the community as concerns of H1N1 and confirmed cases hit the island. Nice job sticking with the story.


Sisto Hawaii Domingo Jr.-Videojournalist, KHNL News 8, "Daddy Dolls"

Thank You to the Hawaii SPJ Judges of the Region 10 Pacific Northwest Contest

Pacific Basin--Steve Petranik, Kathryn Wagner, coordinators
Lennie Omalza
John Heckathorn
Joanne Romero
A. Kam Napier
Michael Keany
Tiffany Hill
Kathryn Wagner

Hawaii Medical Service Association-Craig DeSilva, coordinator
Chance Gusukuma
Marlene Nakamoto
Jonathan Tanji

Honolulu Advertiser-Christine Strobel, coordinator
Curtis Murayama
Stan Lee
Christine Strobel

Star-Bulletin-Stirling Morita, coordinator
Helen Altonn
Richard Borreca
Susan Essoyan
George F. Lee
Seth Markow
Stirling Morita
Charlene Robinson
Rob Shikina
Lucy Young Oda

West Hawaii Today
Nancy Cook Lauer
Audrey McAvoy
Dave Briscoe

Honolulu Weekly
Adrienne LaFrance