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AP names nine winners of its 2009 Gramling Awards for staff excellence


NEW YORK -- The Associated Press has named nine members of its worldwide staff as winners of its 2009 Oliver S. Gramling Awards for excellence, including two of the global news organization’s most high-profile journalists this year -- photographer Emilio Morenatti and golf writer Doug Ferguson.

“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,” said AP President and CEO Tom Curley.

Besides Morenatti and Ferguson, the honorees include an intranet manager who envisions technical solutions and explains them to others in easy-to-understand terms, a video infrastructure expert regarded as a behind-the-scenes unsung hero, a Texas broadcast beacon of inspiration, an administrative and financial manager in Thailand who is a guardian angel for a small army of staffers in the region, and three scholarship winners.

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.

The awards are named after Oliver S. Gramling, the AP 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.

A committee of AP managers selected the winners.

This year’s winners:

-- $10,000 Gramling Journalism Awards: Islamabad-based photographer Emilio Morenatti, for traveling the world to enlighten AP’s audiences and using his award-winning talent to capture images likened to paintings, with their mastery of light and color, at great risk to himself; Jacksonville, Fla.,-based sports writer Doug Ferguson, for persistently breaking stories and taking AP golf writing to an unprecedented level with his familiar and respected byline.

-- $10,000 Gramling Achievement Awards: New York-based Intranet Manager Christine Flores of Corporate Communications, for transforming InsideAP into a sparkling intranet site that for employees has become a must-have resource for internal communications and business; 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.

-- $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 (M.S.L) at Georgetown University, a program that provides immersion in law specifically designed for journalists, so she can enhance her reporting of legal stories. New York-based Manager of Legal Services Hobbs 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 a series of advanced courses to expand his ability to produce “vidgraphics,” which incorporate video, motion graphics, animation, voiceovers and original soundtracks.


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