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Trib reporter's Iraq stories win top Pa. press award

| Saturday, May 18, 2013, 10:30 p.m.

Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine received a Best of Show award on Friday from the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors for “Rules of engagement,” his investigation into the deaths of two deaf, unarmed teenage brothers by American soldiers in Iraq.

PAPME announced the award at its annual meeting Friday.

Judges select one Best of Show winner from among all writing entries, regardless of circulation class. The winner receives a plaque and $150.

“Rules of engagement” also won a first-place award from the organization for investigative reporting.

Prine's package of stories exposed the fatal shootings of the Iraqi brothers, who were tending cattle outside a small village, by Army Sgt. Michael Barbera, who later ordered the killing of their deaf cousin.

Prine traveled with interpreters to the village in an area no longer secured by American forces to talk with the boys' families.

“Rules of engagement” also earned a first place Keystone Press Award for daily newspapers with a circulation over 75,000 in the investigative reporting category from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation.

Winners were honored at a banquet during the Pennsylvania Press Conference on Saturday at the Hilton Harrisburg.

These Trib Total Media staffers and staffers with the newspaper group's sister organization, Gateway Publications, received Keystones:

Division I

Daily and Sunday newspapers with a circulation over 75,000

• Luis Fábregas, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, second place, column.

• Jasmine Goldband, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, honorable mention, photo story, “Road to Recovery.”

Division III

Daily and Sunday newspapers with a circulation of 20,000 to 39,999

• Tom Yerace, Valley News Dispatch, first place, investigative reporting, “Neighborhood Menace.”

• Brian Rittmeyer, Valley News Dispatch, honorable mention, spot news (daily), “Plaza Burns.”

• Chuck Biedka, Valley News Dispatch, second place, news feature story, “Cost of Cops.”

• Rex Rutkoski, Valley News Dispatch, feature beat reporting, honorable mention, “Art Beat Rutkoski.”

• Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch, news photo, honorable mention, “Dad Saves Son.”

• Erica Hilliard, Valley News Dispatch, feature photo, honorable mention, “Winter Cold.”

Division IV

Daily and Sunday newspapers with a circulation under 20,000

• Keith Barnes, The (McKeesport) Daily News, sports event coverage, second place, “Woodland Hills player says he was provoked.”

• Mitch Fryer, Leader Times, feature story, first place, “Looking for, and finding, the last hick in Hicksville.

• Lou Ruediger, Leader Times, news photo, second place, “Woman, 87, injured by carrier's truck while retrieving day's mail.”

• Jim Ference, The Valley Independent, photo story, honorable mention, “Pioneer days draws crowd to Perryopolis.”

Division V

Non-daily newspapers with a circulation over 10,000

• Matt Grubba, Norwin Star, sports event coverage, second place, “Knights topple defending WPIAL champs;” sports photo, second place, “Knights have 21 shots at WPIAL medal stand.”

• Daveen Rae Kurutz, Murrysville Star, news beat reporting, second place, education beat reporting; features beat reporting, second place, history beat reporting.

Division VI

Non-daily newspapers with a circulation of 5,000 to 9,999

• Chris Foreman, Penn-Trafford Star, ongoing news coverage, second place, Trafford beat.

• Stephanie Hacke, South Hills Record, news feature story, first place, “Wild animals enjoying the South Hills-area lifestyle;” business or consumer story, second place, “Municipal worker invents manhole cover remover.”

• Randy Jarosz, South Hills Record, feature photo, honorable mention, “Call of the Wild.”

• Brian Estadt, Penn-Trafford Star, headline writing, first place, “Paper cuts, Race relations, Panel discussion.”

Division VII

Non-daily newspapers with a circulation of less than 5,000

• Nathan Smith, Signal Item, sports story, first place, “Chartiers Valley hockey teammates' bond goes beyond the ice;” sports story, second place, “Coaching shake-up not stopping Lady Cougars.”

• Martin Stewart, The (Aspinwall) Herald, sports/outdoor column, first place, “Stew stays.”

• Deborah Brehun, Ligonier Echo, news feature story, first place, “Volunteers refurbish abandoned cemetery;” personality profile, first place, “First waitress remembers Serro Diner's heyday.”

• Doug Gulasy, Signal Item, business or consumer story, honorable mention, “Spinal cord injury won't stop Crafton man from living.”Nathan Smith, Signal Item, sports beat reporting, first place, Bishop Canevin football.

• Jan Pakler, The (Aspinwall) Herald, news photo, first place, “Last goodbye.”

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