By John Bednarowski

APSE Second Vice President

Nick Underhill, Ramon Antonio Vargas, Matt Sledge, John Simerman of the The Advocate won first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2016 contest in the Breaking News category for the 75,000-175,000 circulation category.

The group won for their coverage of former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith. They will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2017 APSE banquet. The banquet and awards dinner will conclude the APSE Summer Conference, which takes place June 26-29 at The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.

Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune placed second. Erin Smith and Adam Kirkjian of the Boston Herald finished third.

Sports editors in the 75,000 to 175,000 category submitted 49 Breaking News entries. The contest is open to APSE members. Click here to join.

Contest chair Jeff Rosen and fellow APSE officers Tommy Deas, John Bednarowski and Robert Gagliardi 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 February, preliminary judges at the APSE Winter Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and off-site around the country, 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 Breaking News category judges an article of a sports news development (trades, hirings, firings, franchise shifts, etc.) that occurred in the most recent news cycle, Elements of the story considered in judging include timeliness, thoroughness, exclusivity, significance.

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

  1. Nick Underhill, Ramon Antonio Vargas, Matt Sledge, John Simerman, The Advocate 68 points (5 first- place votes)

A look back at Will Smith’s football career: remembered as a leader, selfless on and off the field

  1. Steve Luhm, The Salt Lake Tribune 52 points (1 first-place vote)

Jerry Sloan suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and a form of dementia

  1. Erin Smith and Adam Kirkjian, Boston Herald 42 points

Pats’ Chandler Jones sought medical help early Sunday

  1. Chris Tomasson, St. Paul Pioneer Press 39 points

Vikings defensive coordinator was arrested for DWI, pleaded to careless driving

  1. Berry Tramel and Nolan Clay, The Oklahoman 37 points (1 first-place vote)

Sooners’ Joe Mixon: ‘It felt like a dude hit me’

  1. Brian Murphy, St. Paul Pioneer Press 36 points

Twins’ Joe Mauer says concussions blurred vision; affected hitting

T-7. Andrew Carter, News & Observer 29 points

NCAA pulls championship events from North Carolina over HB2

T-7. Mike Finger, San Antonio News-Express 29 points

Longhorns to dismiss Strong as football coach

  1. Adam Sparks, The Tennessean 28 points

Vanderbilt pitcher Donny Everett dies in drowning accident

  1. Ross Dellenger, Scott Rabalais, Sheldon Mickels, The Advocate 25 points

LSU’s new football coach Ed Orgeron: ‘This is bigger than life’



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