CONCORD, N.C., May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Aflac honored five journalists
Thursday during the presentation of the Motorsports Journalism Awards of
Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin, an annual tradition since 1985. The
ceremony was held at Lowe's Motor Speedway as part of the Coca-Cola 600 race
The Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence recognize
outstanding motorsports coverage in five categories while honoring the memory
of Russ Catlin, a motorsports journalism pioneer.
"Through the dedication of these exceptional journalists, our sport and
its stories are brought to life for millions of racing fans," said Jeff
Charney, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer for Aflac. "Aflac is
honored to salute the 2008 winners of these awards."
This year's entries were judged by students at the Indiana University
School of Journalism. Winners were presented with a plaque and a $1,000
scholarship from Aflac in the winner's name, donated to the school of their
choice. The competition fielded more than 75 entries.
"The Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence are a time-honored
tradition in racing," said Scott Cooper, Vice President of Communication for
Lowe's Motor Speedway. "For 23 years, we've acknowledged the contributions of
motorsports journalists. We're thankful Aflac gives us the opportunity to
continue this tradition."
The award is among the most coveted in motorsports journalism. Reporters
from several media outlets, including USA Today, CBS Sports, Sports
Illustrated and the Washington Post have all been past winners.
The 2008 Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of
Russ Catlin comprise five categories. Winners are as follows:
Writing - Daily
Susan Wade - Newark Star-Ledger
Entry: "Mourning All Day; Drivers and Owners Pay Tribute to Fallen
Scott Kalitta at NHRA Super Nationals"
Judges' comments: Timely; well-written with good interviews;
newsworthy; good detail; well structured with fine transitions;
solid lead and ending.
Scholarship: Indiana University; School of Journalism; Bloomington,
Writing - Other
Mike Hembree - NASCAR Scene
Entry: "NASCAR'S Lost Tracks"
Judges' comments: Good lead and excellent research; fine interviews
with a variety of sources; nice detail and solid reporting; original
historic piece; well-written in general with good structure for a
long story; nice flow.
Scholarship: University of South Carolina, School of Journalism and
Mass Communications, Columbia, S.C.
Broadcast - National
Tom Rinaldi - ESPN, ESPN NASCAR NOW
Entry: Jerome Davis Feature
Judges' comments: Great story idea with enterprise reporting;
pleasant mix of old and new footage; no gratuitous use of
background music; well-written and edited; concise; good
Scholarship: Columbia University; The Columbia Graduate School of
Journalism; New York, N.Y.
Broadcast - Local
Kevin Wrenn - WGHP-TV, FOX 8, High Point, N.C.
Entry: "Faster Pastor"
Judges' comments: Technically good; fine use of close-ups; audio
and video were in sync and complemented each other; great idea and
story focus; nice variety of scenes with mixture of interviews and
actual track footage; journalistically sound; creative, original
Scholarship: Jordan-Matthews High School, English Department, Siler
Will Lester - Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Judges' comments: Good framing and capturing of "decisive moment" in
this fiery explosion of a funny car; Heat waves from cars are
interesting visual effects, providing some sense of high
temperatures accompanying great speeds; Good focus and color.
Scholarship: California State University, Fullerton; College of
Communications; Fullerton, Calif.
In addition to the annual winners, Aflac also honored the memory of the
late David Poole, motorsports writer for the Charlotte Observer and co-host of
"The Morning Drive" on SIRIUS satellite radio. Poole was honored with a
plaque for his journalism excellence. Poole's wife, Katy, accepted the plaque
as well as a $1,000 donation from Aflac in his memory to the Pennies for Wessa
Foundation. Poole had published, and entered into this year's competition, his
story "Dale's Lucky Penny," which centers around the pennies for Wessa
Foundation. The story was originally published on February 17, 2008.
For more than 50 years, Aflac products have given policyholders the
opportunity to direct cash where it is needed most when a life-interrupting
medical event causes financial challenges. As the number one provider of
guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States and the number one
insurance company in terms of individual insurance policies in force in Japan,
Aflac insurance products provide protection to more than 40 million people
worldwide. In 2009, Aflac was recognized by Ethisphere magazine as one of the
World's Most Ethical Companies for the third consecutive year and was also
named by the Reputation Institute as the Most Reputable Company in the Global
Insurance Industry for the second consecutive year. In 2009 Fortune magazine
recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for
the eleventh consecutive year. Fortune magazine also ranked Aflac No. 1 on its
global list of the Most Admired Companies in the Life and Health Insurance
category. Aflac appears on Hispanic Enterprise magazine's list of the 50 Best
Companies for Supplier Diversity and on Black Enterprise magazine's list of
the 40 Best Companies for Diversity. Aflac was also named by Forbes magazine
as America's Best-Managed Company in the Insurance category. Aflac
Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange
under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com.
Jeff Dennison, Breaking Limits
Tim Turner, Aflac