The Courier-Journal (Louisville)

Reporters win big at Louisville SPJ awards

Kuzydym recognized as Journalist of the Year

- Ana Rocío Álvarez Bríñez Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK

The Courier Journal took home more than 30 awards Thursday evening at the 2024 Society of Profession­al Journalist­s Louisville Pro Chapter ceremony, including Journalist of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

Stephanie Kuzydym was recognized as Journalist of the Year for her work in covering the horse racing industry during a series of horse deaths at Churchill Downs during the 2023 Kentucky Derby season and “Safer Sidelines,” the in-depth investigat­ion into the sudden deaths of student athletes. Eleanor McCrary was awarded Rookie of the Year for her investigat­ion into childhood lead exposure, co-written with 2023 Rookie of the Year Connor Giffin.

“What an honor for SPJ to bestow reporters at The Courier Journal with Journalist of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards,” Courier Journal Executive Editor Mary Irby-Jones said. “It is always an honor for journalist­s in our newsroom to be recognized for the work we continue to do to serve our community.”

Kuzydym and “Safer Sidelines” have won many accolades nationally and locally, including awards at the National Headliner Awards, Online News Associatio­n, Kentucky Press Associatio­n and Associated Press Sports Editors.

Her work into sudden deaths of athletes started long before joining The Courier Journal — Kuzydym started a database in 2016 called “The Boys Who Died of Football,” documentin­g a case every time she came across a headline detailing an athlete’s death. She joined the Louisville newspaper after receiving a grant from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Health Journalism to continue the investigat­ion, culminatin­g in a sweeping project that has sparked changes to safety measures used in Kentucky schools and cited by organizati­ons working to improve athlete safety across the country.

McCrary, the metro reporter at The Courier Journal, and Giffin, environmen­tal reporter for the newspaper, joined forces to comb through dozens of documents and interviews to learn how lead paint in Louisville had poisoned hundreds of children, coming together in a five-part investigat­ion called “A Heavy Burden.”

Before joining The Courier Journal as a full time staff member in 2023, McCrary was an intern for the newspaper in 2022 and completed a fellowship on the fact-check desk at USA TODAY.

Journalist of the Year

Stephanie Kuzydym for her investigat­ive work, including her project “Safer Sidelines” which examines

sudden deaths of student athletes. Here are other stories by Kuzydym:

“KHSAA lightning policy is strong, but what happens when it’s ignored?”

“As racing returns to Churchill Downs after horse deaths, why the word ‘safe’ stays unsaid”

“Proposal to remove guns in mental health crises meets opposition at Kentucky hearing”

“Parklands of Floyds Fork is expanding by hundreds of acres, crossing into Bullitt County”

Rookie of the Year

Eleanor McCrary for her work on “A Heavy Burden” and her continued reporting on the administra­tion of Mayor Craig Greenberg and city officials. Here are other articles by McCrary:

“Mayor Greenberg refuses to sign Louisville’s new anti-gentrifica­tion ordinance”

“Volunteers of America to operate Louisville’s Community Care Campus”

“Longtime Louisville city employee Ozzy Gibson named interim director of TARC”

“TARC executive director Carrie Butler resigns”

First place SPJ Louisville awards

Sports Column Writing: C.L. Brown, “AD Tom Jurich, Josh Heird, Horse racing is at crossroads, Denny Crum”

Best Kentucky Derby story: Brooks Holton, “How Secretaria­t changed Ron Turcotte’s life — and helped decorated jockey inspire others”

Crime/courts/criminal justice reporting: Lucas Aulbach, “Louisville shooting aftermath, 911 calls of Louisville Old National Bank shooting, A Louisville corner changed forever”

Editorial writing: Bonnie Jean Feldkamp on behalf of The Courier Journal Editorial Board, “Louisville mourns mass shooting, new police chief hire, JCPS ‘transporta­tion disaster’”

Social justice reporting: Bailey Loosemore, “Louisville’s homeless camp ‘clearing spree,” ‘It’s life or death,’ Christ Temple Christian Life Center”

Health reporting: Connor Giffin and Eleanor McCrary, “A Heavy Burden”

Enterprise/investigat­ive reporting: Stephanie Kuzydym, “Safer Sidelines”

Best picture story: Jeff Faughender, “Fire crews conduct prescribed burn at Iroquois Park”

Sports feature photograph­y: Matt Stone, “On the Bench”

Sports action photograph­y: Jeff Faughender, “Tipoff elegance”

Page Design: Bill Campling, “Derby “Louisville basketball attendance problem, Wesley Cox”

Sports feature writing: Stephanie Kuzydym, “Best friends die separate, untimely deaths, setting families on mission of hope”

Personalit­y/profile writing: Kirby Adams, “Dan Oliver, Corey Queen, The Hat Girls”

Government/politics reporting: Josh Wood, “Greenberg administra­tion’s first year woes”

Best video (non-broadcast): Jeff Faughender, “Safer Sidelines”

Column writing: Maggie Menderski, “Trusted Company, ‘Doesn’t Make Sense’ Old National Bank, Come Back Inn”

Second place SPJ Louisville awards

Editorial writing: Bonnie Jean

Feldkamp

Continuing coverage: Josh Wood, “‘An intimidati­on thing’, ‘Slap on the hand’, ‘Like an animal’”

Feature writing: Maggie Menderski, “Secretaria­t’s Park, Haitian Refugees, Delaying Alzheimer”

General news photograph­y: Michael Clevenger and Scott Utterback, “Tornado Damage”

Sports action photograph­y: Scott Utterback, “Slam Dunk”

Business/technology reporting: Bailey Loosemore, “Heritage Green apartments, Dollar stores”

Column writing: Lennie Omalza

Third place SPJ Louisville awards

Best Kentucky Derby story: Jason Frakes, “‘He was one of a kind’: Secretaria­t’s legacy remains untouched 50 years after Triple Crown”

Sports feature photograph­y: Sam Upshaw, “Off the Court”

Sports reporting: Jason Frakes, “‘Overkill’ or status quo? Recent horse racing deaths cast shadow before Preakness Stakes”

Personalit­y/profile writing: Ana Rocío Álvarez Bríñez, “Linda Frankel, Raegan and Rylyn Richins, Willie Carver Jr.”

Feature writing: Amanda Hancock, “Goshen store owner, ‘Mother of Bourbon,’ Louisville restaurant­s alphabet challenge”

Column writing: Joe Gerth, “‘My old Kentucky Home,’ Former state Rep. Jerry Miller, Anti Trans bill”

 ?? ?? McCrary
McCrary
 ?? ?? Kuzydym
Kuzydym
 ?? MICHAEL CLEVENGER AND SCOTT UTTERBACK/COURIER JOURNAL ?? The roof blew off of an apartment building in South Louisville after strong storms and a tornado came through the area on April 5, 2023.
MICHAEL CLEVENGER AND SCOTT UTTERBACK/COURIER JOURNAL The roof blew off of an apartment building in South Louisville after strong storms and a tornado came through the area on April 5, 2023.
 ?? SAM UPSHAW JR./COURIER JOURNAL ?? Southweste­rn head coach Junior Molden carried his daughter Kinsley Molden (24) off the court after she was injured against Bullitt East during the Girls LIT at the Valley High School gym in Louisville on Jan. 25, 2023.
SAM UPSHAW JR./COURIER JOURNAL Southweste­rn head coach Junior Molden carried his daughter Kinsley Molden (24) off the court after she was injured against Bullitt East during the Girls LIT at the Valley High School gym in Louisville on Jan. 25, 2023.
 ?? MATT STONE/COURIER JOURNAL ?? Frederick Douglass forward Jake Simonsen has an arm around forward Aveion Chenualt after the loss to George Rogers Clark in the second KHSAA Boys Sweet 16 semifinal on March 18, 2023. The Cardinals advanced after winning 51-44.
MATT STONE/COURIER JOURNAL Frederick Douglass forward Jake Simonsen has an arm around forward Aveion Chenualt after the loss to George Rogers Clark in the second KHSAA Boys Sweet 16 semifinal on March 18, 2023. The Cardinals advanced after winning 51-44.

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