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Tampa Bay Times journalists honored in Florida state news competition

FSNE awards prizes for the state’s best journalism. The Tampa Bay Times collects 23 awards, including top honors in eight categories.
This photo of Carter Verhaeghe taken in 2020 by Times photographer Dirk Shadd won first place in sports photography at the Florida Society of News Editors competition.
This photo of Carter Verhaeghe taken in 2020 by Times photographer Dirk Shadd won first place in sports photography at the Florida Society of News Editors competition. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jul. 15
Updated Jul. 16

The Tampa Bay Times won 23 awards in the annual Florida Society of News Editors contest announced Thursday in Sarasota.

The Times took home eight first place honors at the lunch ceremony held at The Westin Sarasota, including the gold medal prize for public service in the large newspaper division. That went to reporters Kathleen McGrory, Neil Bedi and video producer Jennifer Glenfield for Targeted, a series about a Pasco County Sheriff’s initiative that relentlessly harassed residents, often without probable cause. The series also won first place in the investigative reporting category.

The Times was awarded more total prizes than any other Florida newsroom across all three size divisions. (The Times competes in the large newspaper group.) The newsroom swept the prizes in two categories — feature writing and page design.

Christopher Spata earned first place in feature writing for a story about political signs dotting a St. Petersburg neighborhood. Second place went to Ileana Najarro for a story about the pigeon men of Tampa, and third place to Leonora LaPeter Anton for essays about her dad.

Tara McCarty earned first place in page design for her presentation of the investigation Cash Driven about an armored truck company and its troubled safety record. Sean Kristoff-Jones took home both second and third place awards to complete the sweep. His design of a project titled Black Lives, told through the eyes of a St. Petersburg couple, placed second. His presentation of vignettes of those lost to COVID-19 in Florida placed third.

Jack Evans, Jay Cridlin and Claire McNeill were honored with a first place prize in the community leadership category for their innovative Scrapbook project which collected reader submissions, including songs, poems and journal entries that documented life during the pandemic.

Graham Brink won first place for column writing for his collection of work focused on the economic impacts of the pandemic.

This photograph by Douglas R. Clifford of 3-year-old Mychael Latimer Jr. won first place in the spot news category in the FSNE competition.
This photograph by Douglas R. Clifford of 3-year-old Mychael Latimer Jr. won first place in the spot news category in the FSNE competition. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

In the photography categories, Douglas R. Clifford earned first place for spot news for his photograph of a young Black child wearing a mask and holding a sign that read “Stop killing us!” as a bonfire raged behind him on a Tampa street.

Dirk Shadd took first place for sports photography for his image of a hockey puck hitting now former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Carter Verhaeghe in the face. The photograph, when projected on a big screen, elicited one of the stronger responses from the packed ballroom during the awards ceremony.

Related: Complete list of FSNE winners

Other second place awards for Times’ journalists went to John Pendygraft for feature photography and another award for best photo story; Sue Carlton for beat reporting; Matt Baker for sports reporting; Glenfield, James Borchuck and Shadd for features video; Malena Carollo for business reporting; and the newsroom staff for breaking news coverage.

Other third place awards went to Marc Topkin in breaking news; Pendygraft again for feature photography; Joey Knight for sports reporting; and Stephanie Hayes for column writing.

The Times Publishing Co.’s Spanish language publication CENTRO Tampa collected four awards, including a first place for sports coverage that went to Juan Jose Posada.

Second place award winners for CENTRO Tampa stories were Juan Carlos Chavez; Myriam Warren; and Kavitha Surana and Martha Asencio-Rhine.