Wednesday, October 8, 2008


We've known for a while the Jen and Nicki won national-level awards in the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors' contest, but a post on noted the announcements were just made. So figured I'd shine the light on these stories again, and note that they're definitely connected to our Year of Storytelling and the newsroom's narrative writing effort.

Great work to all who had a hand in these stories.

(The category was papers with circulation up to 75,000.)

Narrative Feature

2. Nicki Lefever, York Daily Record. “Will stem cells help?”

"Lorraine Weil stood barefoot on the cold floor of Washington Dulles International Airport with her hands clasped at her waist. She stared directly at the Transportation Security Officer who inspected every inch of her daughter's wheelchair.

The officer swabbed the handles, peeked under the quilted blanket that covered her legs and checked Shawna's medical supplies.

A $60,000 journey halfway around the world to seek medical treatment was about to begin.

It's been nearly four years since a car accident left Gary and Lorraine Weil's once-spunky middle daughter in a persistent vegetative state, unable to speak or take care of herself. The 21-year-old spends most of her time in a hospital bed or on a therapy mat in her family's Hopewell Township home.

But in April, Lorraine found hope: a neurological hospital in China that administers stem-cell therapy unavailable in the U.S." ....

Short Feature

3. Jennifer Vogelsong, York Daily Record. “Tie that binds her friendship”

"Just a glimpse of the scarf was all Joan Ellis would need to transport herself back to better times, before her father took ill and died. Just a glimpse of the large, printed square of silk, and she would feel the forces of friendship buoying her through difficult times.

At the beginning of each winter, she'd take the cherished piece from her closet and incorporate it into her wardrobe.

She gets choked up just talking about it.

The last time she wore the scarf was to a friend's house for a Christmas party Dec. 9. Hundreds of people attended the fancy event, and Ellis was among the last to leave.

The next morning, when she went to put the scarf back in her closet, she realized it was missing." ....

A&E Feature

1. Jennifer Vogelsong, York Daily Record. (“It is just you. This is it.”)

Shruthie Amin sat in dressing room No. 1 at the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center on a Saturday afternoon in late July, her lips moving silently and hands cutting small designs through the air as her teacher tugged her waistlong hair into a single, low braid.

In a few hours, the 17-year-old Springettsbury Township girl would present a three-hour solo performance of classical Indian dance for more than 500 guests. They came from four continents to see the results of her work and celebrate an accomplishment more than six years and thousands of dollars in the making.

She could feel the weight of the occasion, literally, in her hair — hair that had not been cut since she began studying dance as a little girl. It’s tradition for an Indian girl to dance with long hair. A necessity for easy performance updos. A symbol of what she has accumulated throughout the years.

As the hair grew, so grew Shruthie’s abilities, her understanding and, ultimately, her love for an art form more than 3,000 years old.

Her teacher, or guru, wove gold ribbon through the braid, pinned a gold ornament to the tail and tied a jeweled headdress across her hairline, slowly transforming Shruthie from an American-born teenager into an Indian princess.

“You are going to be fine,” the guru whispered. “Just keep going. Be calm and smile.” ..........