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Times Sports section earns top marks
By JACK SHEPPARD
Published February 27, 2005
For the third time in seven years, the St. Petersburg Times Sports section has been named one of the nation's top 10 daily sections for 2004 in judging this week by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Competing against the country's largest newspapers (with daily circulations above 250,000), the Times also ranked in the top 20 for Sunday sports sections, and had two writers - columnist Gary Shelton and auto racing writer Brant James - rank among the top 10 for sports columns and game stories, respectively.
Other papers ranking in the top 10 for daily sports sections were the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Orlando Sentinel, USA Today and the Washington Post. The Times is the only Tampa Bay newspaper to compete in the large newspaper category.
The Times previously has been ranked by APSE as one of the 10 best daily Sports sections in 1983, 1984, 1988, 1999 and 2001. It has been ranked among the top 10 Sunday sections four times ('83, '84, '98 and '00) and among the top 10 special sections five times ('83, '84, '88, '99 and '01).
The honor marks the fourth time Shelton has been recognized as one of the top columnists. He was previously among the top 10 in 1994, 1995 and 2003. He was named the nation's No. 1 sports columnist in 1995. This year's ranking was based on columns about the first Olympic gold medal won by an Israeli athlete, on Warrick Dunn, on the responsibility of college presidents to address the lack of black football coaches, on people profiting off the death of Pat Tillman, and on Rams coach Mike Martz.
James was honored for his coverage of last year's Daytona 500 victory by Dale Earnhardt Jr. His work, as with Shelton's, will be forwarded for another round of judging that will rank the top five in each category. Those results are due later in the spring.