"Austin Bombing: The Final Day"

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Recipient of the STAR BREAKING NEWS REPORT OF THE YEAR award in The Charles E. Green Awards (2018)

Staff Writers
Houston Chronicle

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Judge’s Comments:

Good newsrooms are at their best during breaking news, and that was clearly reflected in all of the entries for the Texas Headliners Foundation’s Breaking News Report of the Year.

The Austin American-Statesman’s coverage of the Austin bomber stood above the rest with its extraordinary iterative reporting and outstanding explanatory print package on the capture and death of the Austin bomber.

Beginning with a reporter Tony Plohetski’s tweet at 3:23 a.m. and first post 14 minutes later that broke the news, the American-Statesman was a step ahead the breaking news all day on social media, including Facebook Live, and its website. A well-deployed and coordinated team was the first to report developments and find sources throughout the day. The series of reports no doubt offered some relief to a jittery community trying to make sense of it all, while statesman.com became the go-to outlet for the rest of the world to learn what was unfolding in Austin. The coverage from a broad range of angles was aggressive, clear and level-headed while avoiding the sensational and cliché.

With a story breaking so early, the American-Statesman had a full day to place the breaking news into context of what was a much larger narrative of the bomber’s destructive path. The resulting five pages of coverage was smartly written and edited, and especially well done visually. This is the kind of teamwork that defines a newsroom.

Tim Warsinskey
Managing Editor
The Plain Dealer
Cleveland, Ohio

Judge’s Bio:

Tim Warsinskey is the Managing Editor of The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio. He has held that position since June 2016. He leads the day-to-day operations of the newsroom that provides stories, photos and graphics for The Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com. He also coordinates communication between The Plain Dealer newsroom and publication hub, which produces the printed paper, and between the newsroom and Cleveland.com.

Before holding that position, he was a reporter and editor at The Plain Dealer for 26 years, and Vice Chair of The Newspaper Guild Local One. He covered a wide variety of community, national and international sports and news assignments, including the 2006 and 2012 Olympics and Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to Philadelphia. He won five Ohio Prep Sports Writer of the Year Awards and numerous other reporting, writing and community service honors. He was inducted into the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Hall of Fame in 2015. From 1984 until 1990, he worked for two other Ohio newspapers, the Chillicothe Gazette and The News-Herald of Willoughby, and won several writing and reporting awards at both.

He is an Akron native and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University.

To see the prize-winning coverage from the Austin American-Statesman for its coverage of the Austin bombings, select from the links below.

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Headliners Foundation