PFWA announces 2013 Dick Connor Writing Awards

Jason Cole, formerly of Yahoo! Sports, won two first-place awards, while Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, Seth Wickersham of ESPN the Magazine and Nate Dunlevy of ColtsAuthority.com also won first place in their respective categories in the Professional Football Writers of America’s 2013 Dick Connor Writing Awards.

The Connor Awards encompass news, game stories, columns, features, enterprise features and blogs written by PFWA members from post-Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis through Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

The awards are named for Connor, a former PFWA president and the organization’s 1991 Dick McCann Award recipient, who worked for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. Connor was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 1992 and was a 22-time Colorado Sports Writer of the Year honoree.

Dick Connor, who wrote for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News, was a past PFWA president and the organization's 1991 Dick McCann Award recipient.

Dick Connor, who wrote for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News, was a past PFWA president and the organization’s 1991 Dick McCann Award recipient.

Cole took first place in the News category for “Adviser: Drew Rosenhaus offered cash to sign Dez Bryant before 2010 NFL Draft” and in the Columns category for “Birth Mother still trying to connect with new 49ers starting QB Colin Kaepernick”. Cole also came in second place in the Enterprise Features category for three total place awards.

Wilde captured the Game Stories category for his story, “Seahawks 14, Packers 12: Stunning”. Moore was the winner in the Features competition for “Even after 28 years, Drew Pearson knows guilt Josh Brent faces”. Wickersham won the Enterprise Features category for “A thin line between love and hate” about Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Dunlevy won the Blogs category for his work covering the Indianapolis Colts.

Tim Graham of the Buffalo News placed in three categories — third in News (shared with fellow News reporter Mark Gaughan), Enterprise Features and Blogs — to tie Cole for the most 2013 awards. Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal placed second and third in the Columns category as the other multiple-place honoree.

In all, 17 different PFWA members received a first-, second- or third-place award, or honorable mention.

The News, Game Stories, Columns, Features and Enterprise Features were judged by David McHam, journalism professor at the University of Houston who was the head of the journalism school at both Baylor and SMU before moving to UH.

The Blogs category was judged by Kenneth Bunting, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition at the University of Missouri school of journalism, and Glenn Drosendahl, a former sports editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and a writer for the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The full list of the 2013 winners follows:

2013 DICK CONNOR WRITING AWARDS

News
1. Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports: Adviser: Drew Rosenhaus offered cash to sign Dez Bryant before 2010 NFL Draft
2. Tom Rock, Newsday: Coughlin proud Victor Cruz visited Jack Pinto’s family
3. Tim Graham & Mark Gaughan, Buffalo News: Bills bounty system under Williams alleged

Game Stories
1. Jason Wilde, ESPNWisconsin.com: Seahawks 14, Packers 12: Stunning
2. Kevin Armstrong, New York Daily News: After Jovan Belcher murder/suicide tragedy, Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel, Chiefs players, forced to play with heavy hearts
3. Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press: Sanchez struggles, Jets turn it over four times in rout by 49ers

Columns
1. Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports: Birth mother still trying to connect with new 49ers starting QB Colin Kaepernick
2. Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal: Impossible to hate man Ohio loves to loathe
3. Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal: Lombardi would be disastrous for Browns
Honorable Mention: Nate Dunlevy, Bleacher Report: The Meaning of Andrew Luck

Features
1. David Moore, Dallas Morning News: Even after 28 years, Drew Pearson knows guilt Josh Brent faces
2. Rich Cimini, ESPNNewYork.com: The bond no collision could break
3. Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune: Dick Butkus might not be the snarling Monster of the Midway he once was, but he’s still a legendary figure at 70
Honorable Mention: Shalise Manza Young, Boston Globe: Donte’ Stallworth a changed man after fateful turn in 2009; Jason Wilde, ESPNWisconsin.com: One of the greatest guys I’ve ever met

Enterprise Features
1. Seth Wickersham, ESPN the Magazine: A thin line between love and hate (regarding Dan Snyder)
2. Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports: Raucous lifestyle leads to fall of Jeff Rubin, a former financial adviser to NFL players
3. Tim Graham, Buffalo News: Ray Lewis’ glory story is haunted by killings
Honorable Mention: Chris Tomasson, FoxSportsFlorida.com: Nick Saban’s Miami tenure not recalled fondly; Greg Bedard, Boston Globe: Quick and to the point(s); Just one word triggers the Patriots’ potent no-huddle offense

Blogs
1. Nate Dunlevy, ColtsAuthority.com
2. Brian Allee-Walsh, SportsNola.com
3. Tim Graham, Buffalo News

ABOUT THE PFWA: The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams on a daily basis. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter, who covers the Atlanta Falcons, is the organization’s president for 2013-15. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org or on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.

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