“Eloquent, even poetic” — EN journalists take the lead in storytelling, editorial writing and business reporting


Express-News reporters received first place for storytelling, editorial writing, and business reporting in the annual Texas Editors’ Excellence in Journalism Competition.

Vincent T. Davis, author of the newspaper’s weekly San Antonio Stories column, won the coveted Michael Brick Storytelling Award for “elegant, insightful, and closely observed stories about an ordinary person or people.”

Cary Clack won first place in Editorial Writing and Patrick Danner won first prize for Corporate Reporting.

Overall, Express-News journalists, photographers, page designers, digital producers and other staff won 24 prizes in the competition, which recognizes work published in 2021. The results were announced on Saturday at the Texas Editors’ Convention in Irving.

Award-winning journalism included a five-part series on domestic violence in San Antonio, coverage of the increased flow of migrants to Texas in the first year of the Biden administration, and stories documenting the environmental destruction caused by the stone quarries in the Texas Hill Country. .

‘Good writing, detailed reports’

Davis, a reporter on the newspaper’s Underground staff, spent 22 years in the Air Force before embarking on a career as a journalist. He is known for writing intimate portraits of what he calls “ordinary people”.

the Michael Brick The award is named after a Texas journalist who wrote for The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Express-News and other newspapers before his death in 2016 at the age of 41. qualities for which Brick was admired.

The five stories from Davis’ winning entry included profiles of Nettie Hinton, an African-American educator and civil rights activist, and a 96-year-old barber named Andy Banda, who was closing his shop after 70 years.

Hinton grew up in San Antonio under Jim Crow, and Davis’ profile vividly evoked a not-so-distant era when black people had to sit in the back of buses and pay a poll tax and were allowed into Playland. Park, with its famous roller coaster, on Tuesdays only.

In his Banda profile, Davis described how the sight of barber chairs bolted to a tile floor and a box of magazines “took me back in time to my childhood” and to a Georgia barbershop where his great-grandfather took him for haircuts.

“As he and other veterans, church deacons and brickyard workers solved the world’s ills, I leafed through periodicals like Argosy, Ebony and Popular Mechanics spread out on a table like a gambler’s hand of cards “, wrote Davis. .

“Eloquent, even poetic”

Clack, a columnist and member of the Express-News editorial board, was honored for a selection of five editorials on topics ranging from the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol to new laws in Texas and other States restricting mail-in voting and polling station hours.

Writing in the timeline on the Capitol seat, Clack said it “has been perhaps the lowest and most shameful moment for an American president.” He asked, “But what about those who looked away, shut up and allowed (then President Donald Trump) as he acted on his delusional, authoritarian impulses?”

In another op-ed, Clack blamed past and present Texan leaders for the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri, which left millions of Texans without power, heat and water for days. “This was a crisis triggered by the untapped power of nature, then amplified by the consequences of past policy decisions and poor leadership,” he wrote.

The competition judges said of Clack’s work: “The arguments are clear, strong and compelling. The writing is eloquent, even poetic.

“Keep a watchful eye”

Danner won recognition for a story about a personal injury lawyer’s claim that he won a $1.25 billion judgment for a sexual assault victim. Attorney Thomas J. Henry announced the claim on a giant billboard along Interstate 35 in downtown San Antonio.

Danner’s story revealed what the billboard left out: the assault victim never received any money.

A judge had granted Henry’s request for the huge reward after the defendant in the case, a youth baseball coach, failed to show up for trial in December 2018. As Danner reported, Henry n did not file a lien on the defendant’s property or take any other action. to be levied on judgment.

Henry didn’t publicly tout the award until 2021, when the Texas State Bar relaxed its publicity rules, removing the requirement for attorneys to disclose the “net to client” of any judgment or verdict. that they advertise.

Danner’s article prompted a state bar panel to recommend that the Texas Supreme Court close the loophole, and in January the court ordered attorneys to disclose in advertisements the amounts actually received by the clients.

The pageant judges praised Danner for “keeping a close eye on a prominent Texas personality.”

Photography, design, reporting on time

Express-News reporters won second place in five categories: Adrian Alvarez in Design of the Year, Mike Finger in Sports Writing, Dudley Althaus in Specialty Reporting, Lisa Krantz in Feature Photography and Jacob Beltran and Taylor Pettaway in breaking news.

Alvarez, the paper’s art director, has been recognized for his compelling front-page designs for Express-News reporting on domestic violence, homelessness, the assault on the US Capitol and other important stories.

Beltran and Pettaway were honored for reporting on a shooting at a West Side car meet in which a 6-year-old girl was killed.

Althaus, a special correspondent for the Express-News, has been recognized for his vivid dispatches from the US-Mexico border in which he describes the hardships endured by migrants, their reasons for making the dangerous journey, the role of smugglers and the frontier effort. Patrolling to deal with the influx.

Krantz has been recognized for his photographs illustrating the intense devotion of Deona Jo “DJ” Sutterfield to her son Zach, who suffered severe burns and other injuries in a 2018 fire at an apartment complex in San Marks.

Sutterfield quit her job to be by her son’s side as he received medical treatment for 17 months in San Antonio, more than 200 miles from her home in San Angelo. She was named Texas Mother of the Year 2021 by national nonprofit organization American Mothers Inc.

Finger has been recognized for his columns that captured indelible moments in San Antonio sports: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s dream come true in guiding the U.S. men’s basketball team to a medal. Olympic gold, the induction of Spurs star Tim Duncan into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the University of Texas in the San Antonio Conference’s inaugural American Football Championship.

The “Nowhere to Hide” series recognized

Emilie Eaton and Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje won third place in the Best Investigative Report of the Year category for “Nowhere to Hide,” their series about domestic violence in San Antonio.

The series also won third place in the Online Featured Package of the Year for the work of Eaton, Stoeltje, graphic journalist Ryan Serpico, digital producer Angela Alcala-Bach, graphic designer Monte Bach, digital audience analyst Joy Marie Scott and Randi Stevenson, executive producer. from ExpressNews.com.

Express-News staffers won third place in six additional categories: Brian Chasnoff in the Featured Journalist of the Year, Jeff McDonald in the Sports and Featured Sports Journalist of the Year categories, Jessica Phelps in the Photojournalist Feature of the Year, Nancy M Preyor-Johnson in Feature Opinion Writer of the Year and Nancy Floeck Wilson in Writing Headlines.

Eight Express-News journalists received honorable mentions: Chasnoff for best investigative reporting of the year; restaurant critic Mike Sutter for his comments and reviews; food writer Chuck Blount in the same category; columnist Elaine Ayala in writing general columns; Ryan Serpico in the informative graphics; Marvin Pfeiffer and freelancer Sam Grenadier in sports photography; and Lauren Caruba in feature writing.

[email protected] | Twitter: @MarcDuvoisin


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