SPJ announced today that the story by former New Times Broward-Palm Beach staff writer Kyle Swenson won the Sigma Delta Chi Award for feature writing.
Swenson's story chronicled the rise of Jason Genova, a Publix checkout employee who has built a devoted online following for his gym-rat videos that follow his attempts to make it as a competitive bodybuilder. Here's how Swenson explained the rise of Genova in the story:
[A] one-minute, 59-second video is immediately uploaded onto his YouTube channel in late October. In less than ten hours, the clip will total 3,000 views; in three days, 13,800, with 382 comments from users. Maybe not quite the kind of brushfire web attention that fixes on a fresh Kardashian cleavage selfie, but damned incredible for a Publix checkout employee.
On paper, Jason Genova is a broke Boynton Beach nobody. But thanks to a combination of single-minded drive and the internet's weird magic, he's become a looming figure in the corners of the web devoted to fitness, weightlifting, and bodybuilding.
Swenson — alongside fellow winners from the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere — will be feted June 20 in Washington, D.C.