National writer Jeff Donn and senior field producer Rob Celliers were honored along with 11 other Associated Press staff members who won the news organization's 2011 Oliver S. Gramling Awards.
Donn, based in Boston and a member of AP's national investigative team, won one of two $10,000 Gramling Journalism Awards at a dinner Wednesday night for his investigative pieces on the Gulf oil spill, Japan's nuclear crisis at Fukushima and the alarming state of aging nuclear plants in the United States. The other Journalism Award went to Celliers, based in Durban, South Africa, for his video skills, ingenuity and courage in gathering historic footage of the Middle East unrest.
One of two $10,000 Gramling Achievement Awards was awarded to Sacramento, Calif., correspondent Tom Verdin for his leadership in AP's groundbreaking work with the Associated Press Media Editors on the "Broken Budget" series about the financial crisis facing state governments. The other Achievement Award was given to the AP Stylebook team of Darrell Christian, Sally Jacobsen, David Minthorn, Colleen Newvine and Michael Boord. They were cited for expanding the Stylebook product line across text, online and mobile formats.
The two awards, established in 1994, are given annually to staff members whose work and initiative contribute significantly to the news report and to overall AP operations.
They are named after Oliver S. Gramling, the newsman and executive credited with developing the AP's first radio wire in 1941. Gramling bequeathed his estate to the AP when he died in 1992, directing that it be used for staff members nominated for excellence by their colleagues.
A committee of AP managers selected the winners, who were among employees nominated by the staff.
"This year's award winners speak to the core of what makes AP the definitive source for news," said President and CEO Tom Curley. "Whether it's helping our journalists in Dakar (Senegal) navigate local customs or taking one of AP's oldest and most recognized products and turning it into a must-have smartphone app, all of these staffers help us empower our customers and lead our competition."
One of three $3,000 Gramling Spirit Awards went to Maliki Ouedraogo, office messenger for the West Africa bureau in Dakar, Senegal, for more than two decades of fierce dedication to the AP by helping bureau chiefs, correspondents, photographers and producers in their coverage of the region. Kathryn Loomans, chief radio supervisor for the Broadcast News Center in Washington, won the other Spirit Award for her people skills and cross-format cooperation, particularly in identifying ways of including video. Nico Maounis, New York-based special events manager for Global Media Services, won the third Spirit Award for his excellent work in setting up video operations for the media and for his journalistic instincts.
The two $3,000 Gramling Scholarship Awards went to Diaa Hadid, correspondent in Ramallah, West Bank, who intends to study Hebrew at the Milah institution of Jerusalem, to enhance her reporting; and to Julia Weeks, photo editor for the AP Images Content Team, who plans to pursue a certificate in digital media marketing at New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies to help expand AP Images' presence in social media networks.