‘Varsity Blues’ series earns Curley Center award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A five-part series addressing issues impacting high school sports that focused on topics ranging from budget shortfalls to sports specialization was selected as the winner of the Award for Excellence in Coverage of Youth Sports.

The award for “Varsity Blues,” compiled by the Tampa Bay Times, will be presented by the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State during a free public event Wednesday, April 16, at the Nittany Lion Inn. The national award comes with a trophy and an honorarium.

External judges for the award were unanimous in their support for the series among three finalists. The overall field of entries included submissions from new organizations coast to coast, large and small.

“The Tampa Bay Times produced an ambitious and wide-ranging series, earning the respect of readers and our judges alike,” said John Affleck, the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and director of the Curley Center.

The Award for Excellence in Coverage of Youth Sports recognizes creative, in-depth and innovative coverage of youth and high school sports by broadcast, print and online journalists. The award was created in 2009 to recognize work by daily and weekly newspapers, multimedia and online news outlets, local and national television news broadcasts, and national news organizations.

Previous winners were: John Branch, The New York Times, 2012; Rob Rossi, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 2011; George Dohrmann, “Play Their Hearts Out,” 2010; and Bob Hohler, The Boston Globe, 2009.

The John Curley Center for Sports Journalism explores issues and trends in sports journalism through instruction, outreach, programming and research. The center was established in 2003 with Distinguished Professional in Residence and Professor John Curley and Dean Doug Anderson serving as founding co-directors.

It was named the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism in September 2006, honoring Curley, whose more than five decades of newspaper experience includes work as a reporter, editor, publisher and, ultimately, president, CEO and chairman of the Gannett Co. He was the first editor of USA Today.

The center’s undergraduate curricular emphasis includes courses in sports writing, sports broadcasting, sports information, sports, media and society, and sports and public policy, which is cross-listed with the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. The Center emphasizes internships with newspapers, magazines and electronic media, and on-campus co-curricular work at the student-run newspaper (The Daily Collegian), the Penn State sports information office and campus radio.

Last Updated March 26, 2014