Documentary Feature on At-Risk High School Football Team Recognized for Outstanding Sports Reporting

The Denver Post, a Digital First Media (DFM) brand, has won the 2017 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Sports Reporting in the Large Digital News Organization Category. The Post’s AAron Ontiveroz, Director of Emerging Media, and Kyle Newman, Digital Prep Sports Editor, collaborated to craft the award-winning 13-minute documentary feature on the Justice High Football team’s fight to beat the odds and contend for a conference championship.

The award was announced on June 20 and will be presented to the Denver Post on October 9 at Gotham Hall in New York City.

The documentary feature on Justice High, a public charter school in Lafayette, Colo. that services at-risk students, highlighted the football team’s attempt to overcome insurmountable obstacles, despite going winless in the 2015 season and dealing with challenging circumstances in their personal lives.

“This story really connects us with what it’s like to be human – about getting knocked down, getting back up and not giving in to the circumstances that try to keep you down,” said Ontiveroz. “While the Justice High Football Team may not have clinched the championship, they achieved something so much more valuable and proved their resilience on and off the field.”

Ontiveroz and Newman worked with Coach Nels Thoreson and the Justice High Football team to provide a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to turn the team around, the struggles the team members faced on a daily basis and how the experience changed their lives for the better. Ontiveroz shot and produced the video, while Newman reported the story.

The Edward R. Murrow Awards, presented annually since 1971 by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), are considered among the highest honors for journalism, recognizing outstanding achievements in electronic journalism, radio, television and digital newsrooms across the world.

In the running for the Sports Reporting award, The Denver Post was up against prominent news organizations like The New York Times and The Washington Post.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized with this award,” said Mac Tully, President and CEO of The Denver Post. “Just as Justice High defied the odds—winning this award, the Denver Post showed the outstanding quality of journalism we are capable of and consistently producing.”
The documentary, titled Justice football helps at-risk high school students get back on track, can be viewed in its entirety on

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