The Tampa Bay Times won 11 first place awards and 23 overall in this year's Florida Society of News Editors competition, making it the most honored large news organization in the state.
The paper also received the award for the best writer in Florida at FSNE's awards luncheon Saturday at the Southeastern Press Convention in Destin.
Times staff writer Michael Kruse won the Paul Hansell Distinguished Journalism Award, which recognizes overall excellence in reporting and writing, for a body of work in 2011. Included in his entry was a story of one family's befuddlement on the day the world did NOT end, a profile of a novice golfer who is convinced he could become a pro with just 10,000 hours of practice, and the chronicle of one woman's slow descent into an isolated madness.
Kruse, 34, who has been a journalist for 12 years and at the Times for seven years, received $1,000 and a plaque named in honor of Hansell, a longtime Associated Press bureau chief in Florida.
The 2012 first-place Times FSNE winners were:
• The staff for "The Worst Day," about the deaths of two St. Petersburg police officers, in the category of daily deadline reporting.
• Ben Montgomery for "Spectacle," on the lynching of Claude Neal, in features and arts writing.
• Rick Stroud for sports coverage.
• Sue Carlton in commentary.
• Joni James for editorials.
• Stephanie Swearngin for "DEAD," the Osama bin Laden page, in page one design.
• Andy Braford for "Many DHs but no perfect fit," in sports page design.
• Bryan Thomas for "Just another girl," about a girl with connective tissue disease, in feature photography.
• John Pendygraft for "If I Die Young," in photo story.
• PolitiFact for best niche website.
• Alexandra Zayas for "I was raped by you," in use of social media in breaking news.
Second-place winners were Sean Daly in features and arts writing; Lane DeGregory in community leadership; Janet Keeler in headline writing; Tim Nickens in editorials; Jennifer DeCamp in feature page design; the politics team for the Buzz blog; and Don Morris in news graphics and illustrations.
Third-place winners were Ivan Penn in investigative reporting; Jeff Klinkenberg in beat reporting; Jennifer Hiatt in sports page design; Bryan Thomas in feature photography; and Eric Deggans for the Feed blog.
The Orlando Sentinel received six first-prize honors, and the Palm Beach Post received 16 awards. The Tampa Tribune won four second-place awards. Judges for the annual contest are journalists outside of Florida.
Kate Spinner of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune won the 2012 Waldo Proffitt Award for Excellence in Environmental Journalism in Florida, presented by the University of South Florida.
Times Managing Editor Mike Wilson is a member of the FSNE board of directors.