- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Washington Times has won two Sigma Delta Chi awards for excellence in journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists in a national competition of 1,800 entries from news organizations that spanned print, radio, television and online stories published or broadcast in 2013.

“Massacre at the Navy Yard” — which featured the combined work of a dozen reporters mobilized to cover the mass shooting at the facility in September — was cited in the deadline reporting category. The bylined coverage included credible eyewitness accounts, political fallout, local and national reactions, and important cultural implications of the events written under deadline and with compelling accuracy.

“It’s nice to be recognized by your peers, but this breaking news award is particularly gratifying because everyone in the newsroom contributed to the coverage,” said Christopher Dolan, The Times’ managing editor.

“We’re proud of the live-time coverage we produced for the Web throughout that chaotic day and the fleshed-out reporting that appeared in the paper,” he said.

The winning team consisted of White House reporters Dave Boyer and Ben Wolfgang, political editor Stephen Dinan, metro reporters Andrea Noble and Meredith Somers, political reporter Jacqueline Klimas, Inside the Beltway columnist Jennifer Harper, national security reporter Kristina Wong, investigative reporters Jeffrey Anderson and Phillip Swarts, social issues reporter Cheryl Wetzstein and sports reporter Amanda Comak.

Photographers Andrew Harnik and Andrew Geraci supplied on-the-scene images of police action in the aftermath, along with candlelight vigils.

Graphic designers Greg Groesch and Linas Garsys created multiple charts and maps to outline the action of the day and provide relevant information. The Universal Desk edited and packaged the content with thoughtful clarity under a challenging deadline.

The Times was the first to verify and publish eyewitness information during the unfolding events, and the first to challenge erroneous reports about the weapons used by the gunman on that September morning.

Sports reporter Nathan Fenno was honored in the contest’s investigative reporting category for “Heads at Risk: Blind Side to Concussions,” a unique and relentless examination of concussions on the college gridiron, with a specific focus on NCAA policy and the very real toll on the young players.

Mr. Fenno followed the trends for a year and ultimately generated a national conversation and a practical database tracing the risks of life-altering injuries during campus athletic events.

The Sigma Delta Chi Awards date back to 1932. The Society of Professional Journalists was founded in 1909 to protect First Amendment rights and “promote the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry.”

The award winners will be honored at a banquet June 20 at the National Press Club in Washington.

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