Jay Evensen

Deseret Morning News editorial page editor Jay Evensen was awarded second place Tuesday in the inaugural In Character Prize.

Evensen was recognized for his column, "Forgiveness has power to change future," published Aug. 21, 2005.

The award, which honors the editorial treatment of human virtue and its importance in the life of our society and country, is sponsored by In Character magazine, published by The John Templeton Foundation.

"Jay Evensen writes a consistently informative and provocative column," said John Hughes, editor of the Deseret Morning News. "Interestingly, this column on making the world a better place had been cited by (LDS Church) President (Gordon B.) Hinckley at a conference session mentioning the Deseret Morning News and Jay by name."

Evensen's column mentioned Victoria Ruvolo, 44, who had a frozen turkey thrown through her front windshield. She endured many hours of surgery and then learned about the background of her 19-year-old assailant, Ryan Cushing, before insisting prosecutors offer him a plea deal. Ruvolo and Cushing embraced in the courtroom after he apologized to her. She then urged him to make something of his life.

"Humans seem to be learning to understand the power of forgiveness," Evensen wrote. "As a healing agent, it appears to be stronger than any surgery, counseling or anger-management course."

Evensen and Stacey T. Wardle, editor of the monthly literary journal The Rogue Voice, were awarded $5,000 each as honorable mentions, while the top prize of $10,000 went to University of Richmond associate professors Douglas A. Hick and Jonathan B. Wight.

Judges chose the three finalists out of 195 entries from newspapers published in 25 states, including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and USA Today.

"We were delighted by this national recognition," Hughes said.