The Fifth Down

Blaudschun, Wieberg take FWAA beat writer awards

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Long-time FWAA members Mark Blaudschun and Steve Wieberg have been named co-winners of the 2012 Beat Reporter of the Year Award for their coverage of college sports during the last three decades.

The FWAA's Beat Reporter of the Year Award is based on a comprehensive look at a way a person covers the beat and encompasses all categories of coverage over a period of time.

Blaudschun, 64, received the coveted Bert McGrane Award in 2007, the FWAA's Hall of Fame. He retired from The Boston Globe last summer after 25 years of service but has continued to cover sports through his highly popular web site AJerseyGuy.com.

Wieberg, 58, is a member of the United States Basketball Writer's Hall of Fame. He retired from USA Today last summer after a 30-year run and is now freelancing. Both have won awards in the past in the FWAA Best Writing Contest.

Malcolm Moran, the inaugural John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society, headed a committee that judged the nominations. Moran serves as director of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, housed in the College of Communications at Penn State University. He is a former sports reporter for the Newsday, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and USA Today and also an FWAA Board Member.

In this issue of The Fifth Down:
Dufresne: What you see ...
Bohls: Reflecting on father's service
Blaudschun, Wieberg take beat writer awards
Awards calendar
Complete Best Writing Contest winners

"In an unprecedented era of inflated rights fees and conference affiliation madness, no one has tracked the developments more successfully than Mark," Moran said. "That is because a long time ago, decision makers learned two things about him. First, you can trust him without hesitation. And second, never dare him to discover the site of your secret meeting, because he'll be waiting outside when your car pulls up to the door."

Moran added about Wieberg: "There are very few reporters that have created a franchise. Steve's aggressive, thoughtful, and most of all fair coverage of the college athletics industry has been required reading since USA Today was launched 30 years ago. Steve's understanding of complex issues gave him the ability to identify the next controversy when most reporters are still trying to figure out the last one."

Blaudschun grew up in New Jersey, but graduated in 1970 from the University of Miami and took his first fulltime job back north. He worked for the Rockland Journal News, just outside New York City, covering high school sports for $125 a week.

Two years later he returned to New Jersey, accepting a job at the Passaic Herald News. He went from covering high schools to covering the New York Giants and New York Knicks. He switched from Passaic to the Trenton Times, but still was a New Jersey guy covering the New York City teams. Blaudschun left New Jersey in 1982 to cover Southwest Conference football for The Dallas Morning News.

Blaudschun went to the Boston Globe in 1987 and covered the New England Patriots for several years before beginning a more than two-decade stint of covering college football in 1990. Mark was president of the FWAA in 1999.

Wieberg, a University of Missouri School of Journalism graduate, had been a part of the USA Today since (Continued from page 1) its start up in 1982. He was the paper's top writer in covering the NCAA and was the primary reporter for many years in its basketball and football coverage. Through 2012, he had covered every Final since 1983 and had been a fixture at many Olympics.

Before USA Today, Wieberg was a sports reporter and Sunday sports editor at the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader from 1981-82, and before that worked five years at the Mexico (Mo.) Ledger.

Steve served as president of the USBWA in 1996- 97. Besides winning his FWAA Awards, he also has been a multi-time winner in the USBWA's contest and in the Associated Press Sports Editors contest. In October 2007, he was named by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the "10 Most Powerful People in College Sports." In 1995 and 1996, Wieberg was selected by College Sports Magazine as one of the "50 Most Influential People in College Sports."

"Mark and Steve have been staples of the college sports writing community for a long time and brought an excellence to the table in several areas," said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. "Both are excellent reporters and have shown great expertise in other areas such as enterprise, game story and columns over the years."

KEY FWAA CONTACTS

Bert McGrane Award nominees: Mark Blaudshun (blauds@aol.com)
Volney Meece Scholarship nominees: Dave Sittler (davesitt@aol.com)
Website, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week: Ted Gangi (webmaster@sportswriters.net)
Membership Directory: Charlie Fiss, AT&T Cotton Bowl (charlie@attcottonbowl.com)
Ethics/Press Relations Committee: Kirk Bohls (kbohls@statesman.com)
College Football Playoff Liaison: Gina Lehe, College Football Playoff (glehe@collegefootballplayoff.com)
Eddie Robinson Award: Steve Richardson (tiger@fwaa.com)
Fifth Down Blog/FWAA Best Writing Contest: Ken Stephens (ken.stephens@sbcglobal.net)
Bronko Nagurski Award: John Rocco, Charlotte Touchdown Club (jrocco@touchdownclub.com)
Outland Trophy, All-America Team: Steve Richardson (tiger@fwaa.com)
Grantland Rice Super 16 Poll: Phil Marwill, National Football Foundation (pmarwill@footballfoundation.org)
Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award: George Schroeder, USA TODAY (gschroeder@aol.com), Ron Higgins, Nola.com (rhigg@aol.com)
Freshman All-America Team: Mike Griffith, MLive Media Group (mgrif32@aol.com)

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