Gibson beat out 56 other entries in the “under 30,000 circulation” category. He will be awarded a plaque at the 2017 APSE Summer Conference in New Orleans in June.
The beat writing category was judged on a portfolio of five stories that show “authoritative, newsy and innovative coverage of a beat.” Entries included at least one breaking news story, one event or game coverage story, one enterprise piece and two wild-card stories that could be from any of the aforementioned categories or other stories or analysis related to the beat.
Gibson’s portfolio included “Paso Robles unleashes ‘The Beast’ in win over Atascadero,” recapping the Paso Robles High School football team’s win over Atascadero in early November; “By chance, I hiked with Templeton’s Isaac Lindsey to the top of Cerro Alto,” a first-person account of a random meeting with a former prep football player who suffered a major head injury in 2015; “Making a Splash: Facelift set to begin at Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo high schools this summer,” an analysis of the effect Measure D would have on local athletic programs; “Arroyo Grande grad Ryan Teixeira finds bone marrow match in younger brother,” an emotional account of a former prep baseball star battling cancer; and “Paso Robles High football coach Rich Schimke placed on leave, investigation ongoing,” a breaking news story covering an incident involving the longtime Bearcats coach.
“This award is a testament to the outstanding work consistently produced by Travis since he joined The Tribune in the summer of 2015,” sports editor Dan Itel said. “It is also a reflection of the appreciation our readers continue to show for the work Travis produces on a day-to-day basis.”
Entries were stripped of headlines, graphics, bylines and any other element that would identify the writer or news organization and judged by two different APSE committees this winter. In February, preliminary judges selected a top 10, which were then given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second and so on to determine the final ranking.
Gibson received 56 points (three first-place votes), beating out the runner-up — Daniel Jones of the Columbia (Missouri) Daily Tribune — by 14 points.