A seven-person team from Newsday won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2015 contest in Project writing for the Over 175,000 circulation category.

Jim Baumbach, Neil Best, Robert Cassidy, Bob Glauber, Mark La Monica, Kimberley A. Martin and Tom Rock won for a series examining the challenges faced by NFL players when their careers come to an end. They 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-Charlotte Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.

The Newsday seven edged runner-up J. Brady McCollough of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by one point, 51-50. Newsday had two first-place votes; McCollough had one. Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register placed third with 40 points.

Sports editors in the Over 175,000 category submitted 29 project 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, nine points for second and so on down to one point for a 10th­-place vote. 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.

The Project Reporting category judges a collection of articles and other components that sheds new light on personalities and issues in the news, including trends and original ideas. Entries were limited to 10 stories, with optional material allowed to be read at the discretion of judges.

The Top 10 is listed below with links to writers’ Twitter pages, APSE member websites and winning entries.


  1. Jim Baumbach, Neil Best, Robert Cassidy, Bob Glauber, Mark La Monica, Kimberley A. Martin and Tom Rock, Newsday (Melville, N.Y.), 51 points, 2 first-place votes
    Life after football


  1. J. Brady McCollough, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 50 points, 1 first-place vote
    Baseball republic: Inside the Dominican machine


  1. Ryan Kartje, Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.), 40 points
    FanDuel, DraftKings and million-dollar prizes make fantasy sports bigger than ever
    Companies, fans alike ride the live fantasy roller coaster
    Scott Hanson is a regular guy who has turned a few dollars into millions – all because of daily fantasy sports
    NCAA leaders build stance against daily fantasy, but may be in losing game
    Meteoric rise of daily fantasy sports causes lawmakers to consider regulation, perhaps taxation
    Daily fantasy sports industry waits for California’s next move


        T4. Wright Thompson, ESPN.com, 36 points, 3 first-place votes
        Beyond the breach (New Orleans 10 years after Katrina)


         T4. Sam Gardner, FoxSports.com, 36 points
         Mario Andretti captures the 1967 Daytona 500, his lone NASCAR victory
         Referee Dean Morton scored in the only NHL game he played
         Ohio Northern dealt mighty Mount Union its lone regular-season loss since 1994 
         Mine That Bird ruled 2009 Kentucky Derby at 50-to-1
         Tyson Wheeler sinks a ‘3’ and makes NBA history, of sorts
         Steve O’Neal launched a punt that likely will never be matched
        Roy Gleason only MLB player wounded in Vietnam War
        Ex-Cubs pitcher Danny Young could have been ‘the black Randy Johnson’
        Cory Aldridge’s long and grinding road to a big-league hit
        Dave Scholz took the fast break to success with the Philadelphia 76ers


  1. Steve Berkowitz, Erik Brady, Rachel Axon, Dan Wolken, Christopher Schnaars and John Kelly, USA TODAY Sports, 30 points
    Wisconsin takes a pass on paying inflated salary to football coach
    NCAA salaries graphic
    Do Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M want more money, control? #Yessir!
    South Carolina’s three wins were the costliest in FBS
    Is it better to be an assistant than head coach?
    New expense for college football programs: Looking good
    Booster organizations provide shield for college football project details
    Schools in power conferences spending more on recruiting
    How cost of attendance may become a recruiting tool


  1. Matthew Stanmyre and Andrew Mills, The Star-Ledger/NJ.com, 25 points
    How to build a sports superstar in 2015: The engineering of 15-year-old Josh McKenzie


  1. George Diaz, Shannon Green, Chris Hays, Matt Murschel, Iliana Limon Romero, Brendan Sonnone and Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel, 24 points
    College football coaches grapple with ‘marijuana epidemic’
    High school coaches struggle to keep marijuana away from players
    NCAA pushes to end marijuana testing, suspensions in favor of treatment
    Some NFL players see marijuana as way to ease pain, push legalization
  1. Corbett Smith, Matt Wixon and Greg Riddle, The Dallas Morning News, 21 points
    Gaming the system
    No new trick
    No simple question
    Whom can you believe?
  1. Tom FitzGerald, Vic Tafur, Bruce Jenkins, Ann Killion and Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 points
    How mountain biking’s mega-success started on Mount Tamalpais
    When wetsuits debuted in Bay Area, surfing was forever changed
    With 1 hand, Stanford’s Hank Luisetti pushed basketball forward
    In Oakland, Bruce Lee transformed martial arts
    111 years ago, extreme running born on Mount Tamalpais
    How Bay Area mountaineers altered the face of rock climbing