Tim Graham, Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck of The Buffalo News won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2015 contest in Breaking News for the 75-175,000 circulation category.

The trio from Buffalo won for breaking the news about Patrick Kane being the subject of a rape investigation by Hamburg police. Graham, Michel and Herbeck will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2016 APSE banquet. The banquet and awards dinner concludes the APSE Conference June 22-25 at The Omni in Charlotte, N.C.

Graham, Michel and Herbeck collected one of six first-place votes and finished with 53 points. Finishing second was  Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com (New Orleans) who two first-place votes and 46 points. Mike Barber of the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch was third with 43 points

Sports editors in the 75-175,000 category submitted 51 entries. The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Contest chair Tommy Deas numbered each entry, assuring they had been stripped of headlines, graphics, bylines and any other element that would identify the writer or news organization.

In late February and early March, preliminary judges at the APSE Winter Conference at Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., selected a top 10, with each judge ranking the entries in order from 1 to 10 separately on a secret ballot. Entries were given 10 points for a first-­place vote, 9 points for second and 8 points for third place, and so on. The final 10 were given to a second judging group, which ranked the entries 1-10 in the same fashion. The winner and final rankings are determined by tallying the ballots.

Each organization could submit three breaking news entries. Judging was based on strong reporting based on sports news developments, such as trades, hirings, firings, franchise shifts, etc., that occurred in a news cycle.  

The top 10 are is listed below with links to writers’ Twitter pages, APSE member websites and winning entries:


  1. Tim Graham, Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News, one first-place vote, 53 points

Sources: Patrick Kane target of rape investigation


  1. Jeff Duncan, NOLA.com (New Orleans), two first-place votes, 46 points

New Orleans Saints, Pelicans ownership shocker: wife Gayle, not granddaughter Rita, will control empire after Tom Benson dies


  1. Mike Barber, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, 43 points

Virginia Tech football players apparently assessed fines for missing meals, class, study hall


  1. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, two first-place votes, 38 points

Hawks didn’t interview witnesses to ugly hotel incident involving draft pick Frank Clark


  1. Bill Haisten, Andrea Eger, Paighten Harkins, Tulsa (Okla.) World, one first-place vote, 31 points

‘Wholesome, happy’ OSU homecoming parade shattered as car careens into spectators, killing four


  1. Michael Silverman and Steve Buckley, Boston Herald, 29 points

Larry Lucchino to leave role as Red Sox CEO


  1. Jacob Unruh, The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 27 points

High school football: Lawton MacArthur player allowed to play despite facing criminal charges


  1. Tim Pearrell, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, 24 points

Shaka Smart leaving VCU to coach Texas Longhorns


  1. Candace Buckner, Indianapolis Star, 23 points

Insider: Pacers’ David West turns down money for new fit


  1. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 16 points

Brewers minor-leaguer makes baseball history by coming out publicly as gay