Emilio Morenatti, the award-winning photographer who was wounded last month in a bombing in Afghanistan, is among nine Associated Press staff members selected as winners of the 2009 Oliver S. Gramling Awards for excellence.
The Islamabad-based photographer, whose left foot was amputated after the Aug. 11 attack, won one of two $10,000 Gramling Journalism Awards, as did another high-profile AP journalist — golf writer Doug Ferguson.
Two $10,000 Gramling Achievement Awards were awarded: to New York-based Intranet Manager Christine Flores of Corporate Communications, for transforming the company's intranet into a site that for employees has become a must-have resource for internal communications and business; and to London-based Project and Resource Manager Dave Pentlow, for designing, implementing and managing the technical aspects for much of the video infrastructure used to cover big stories, such as the Olympics and the U.S. presidential election and inauguration.
A committee of AP managers selected the winners, who were among AP employees nominated by the staff.
"Whether it's war photography that looks like art and brings tears to the eyes, or a writer's uncanny ability to make readers feel the excitement of being on the golf course, this group of winners represents the best of what AP has to offer," AP President and CEO Tom Curley said.
Morenatti was praised for traveling the world to enlighten AP's audiences and using his talent to capture images likened to paintings, with their mastery of light and color, at great risk to himself. Jacksonville, Florida-based Ferguson was cited for persistently breaking stories and taking AP golf writing to an unprecedented level with his respected byline.
The other winners:
_ $3,000 Gramling Spirit Awards: Dallas-based Diana Heidgerd, for her boundless enthusiasm and dedication to quality journalism, first as Texas broadcast editor for a quarter century and now as the state's morning breaking news staffer; Bangkok-based Business Manager Kisinee Laohavirojana, for being the glue that holds AP's Asia operations together with her wide-ranging expertise in building construction, heating and cooling systems, marketing and computers.
_ $3,000 Gramling Scholarship Awards: Jessica Gresko, Sharon Hobbs and Jaime Holguin. Gresko, formerly of the Miami bureau and now with the Mid-Atlantic bureau in Washington, D.C., is studying for a Masters in the Study of Law at Georgetown University, a program that provides immersion in law specifically designed for journalists, so she can enhance her reporting of legal stories. Hobbs, the New York-based manager of legal services, will enroll in a paralegal certificate training program at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to learn more about contracts management, due diligence, research and legal documentation. Holguin, a multimedia producer in the Interactive and Graphics department at AP's headquarters, plans to take advanced courses to expand his ability to produce "vidgraphics," which incorporate video, motion graphics, animation, voiceovers and original soundtracks.
The 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 who is credited with developing 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 AP staff members nominated for excellence by their colleagues.
Founded in 1846, AP is the world's largest source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world's population sees AP news, which is distributed to all media platforms and formats.
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