2013 Single-Topic News or Feature for Print/Online (Medium Staff) Second Prize: Daniel Connolly and Karen Pulfer Focht

Daniel Connolly (Reporter) and Karen Pulfer Focht (Photographer) | The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.)

Judges’ Comments

“This is an important story, beautifully told. It brings to life the issue of limited opportunities for immigrant children as Daniel Connolly tells the tale of a compelling subject at a pivotal moment in his life. The fact that he opened the eyes of many readers is an impact that matters. The FAQ, audio clips, video and photos helped give context to the story. The visit to Mexico added wonderful depth to the story.”

“Detailed reporting, spare and effective prose, a neat story structure and a topic of clear import combine to make this entry compelling and powerful. Daniel Connolly’s portrayal of an illegal immigrant with academic promise will resonate with many readers. Sympathy for his protagonist established at the outset, Daniel briefly sidetracks to explain with authoritative facts that America is growing increasingly diverse while failing to nurture academic growth among non-whites, with far-reaching potential consequences. With the gravity and import of his story thus established, he returns to his narrative to weave a tale that shows, instead of tells, the human toll of national policy, while implying a broader societal relevance. Daniel used the looming college decision of Isaias Ramos to establish a tension that carried the story through to a satisfying, if indecisive, conclusion that almost begs for a sequel after the immediate events in the main character’s life have run their course.”