One of my favorite newsroom gatherings every year is the day we announce “Best of Eagle” winners for our staff from the previous year’s work. In choosing winners, we look back over our best work of the previous year, and it’s always a reminder for me of how many talented journalists the newsroom is fortunate to have.
Throughout the year, we have in-house monthly contests to choose the best headline, photo, writing and page design. (For 2010, we’re adding a monthly contest for the best innovative work on Kansas.com.) At the end of each year, we ask outside judges to pick the best from the monthly winners. These are the Best of Eagle winners, and each receives a plaque and cash award. Their names are also engraved on plaques that remain in the newsroom to honor all previous winners.
On Thursday, we announced this year’s winners:
Headline: Rod Pocowatchit for his headline “Claws and Effect,” with a subheadline “Fight scenes, loud explosions drive X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” The headlines ran on the May 1 Go! section for the opening of the Hugh Jackman film.
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Page Design: Rod Pocowatchit for his Go! section cover design for the movie “Angels & Demons.” You don’t need any more evidence of the range of Rod’s talents: best headline, best page design, and he writes weekly about movies in the Sunday Arts & Leisure section. This is the third time Rod has won the Best of Eagle design award, and his first award for headline-writing.
Writing: Roy Wenzl for his series, “The Miracle of Father Kapaun.” The eight-part series, published in December, recounted the Kansas priest’s life and death in a Korean War POW camp, through the voices of fellow prisoners who say Kapaun worked endlessly to lift their spirits and give them hope that they would survive. This award marks the sixth time Roy’s work has been honored as a Best of Eagle winner.
Photography: Fernando Salazar for his powerful image of Jacie Brown holding newborn Aiden, her son who would live 51 minutes, but touch his parents’ lives forever. This was the third time Fernando’s photographs have been named Best of Eagle.
We also honored Travis Heying’s multimedia work on video, audio, photographs and a 50-minute documentary on Father Emil Kapaun. Travis is a six-time winner of our photography award.
Congratulations to all of the Best of Eagle winners, as well as the monthly contest winners, for their hard work in bringing you a newspaper and Web site we’re proud of.