A-List 2015: Sports & Media

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Vladimir Tarasenko | Photo by Icon Sportswire via AP Images

Ferguson Coverage

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Photographers


Now that they’ve won a Pulitzer Prize, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s photographers don’t need us to sing their praises, but we’d be remiss in not giving a nod to their work. In the weeks following the Michael Brown shooting, the morning paper brought iconic pictures to our doorstep on a daily basis. Brown’s crying mother, the protester hurling a tear gas canister back at police, the roses at the memorial, the hands stretched heavenward…indelible images all.

College Athlete

Drake Houdashelt


In his senior season at Fort Zumwalt West High School in O’Fallon, Missouri, wrestler Drake Houdashelt went 51–0 and won the state championship. Then he went to the University of Missouri, where he dreamed of someday winning a national title. It took five years—and then one last sudden-death overtime—but the 149-pound redshirt senior finally pulled it off this spring, finishing first at the NCAA Championships, which were held here in St. Louis. He became just the fifth Missouri wrestler ever to win a national title.

Startup Gone National



Founded in 2013 by a group of locals, including Jim McKelvey of Square fame and pizza magnate Chris Sommers, LaunchCode aimed to kill two birds with one startup. Millions of Americans can’t find decent jobs, and millions of companies can’t find decent programmers. LaunchCode connects talented people, regardless of their education or work history, with companies that can use their skills. The organization’s gone national, working with more than 300 employers across the country to offer apprenticeships, 90 percent of which turn into well-paying fulltime jobs.

Breakout Star

Vladimir Tarasenko


Tarasenko’s coming-out party was held October 28, 2014. That night, he netted his first hat trick, including a game-winning goal in overtime. He went on to lead the Blues in goals (37), points (73), and plus-minus (plus-27). Better than the numbers, he’s a joy to watch, scoring in every way imaginable, firing the puck past goaltenders with nasty wrist shots or sneaking it into the goal with fancy foot- and stick-work.

New News Anchor

Emily Rau


In the span of just a few months, Emily Rau went from reporter to anchor to anchoring both News 4 This Morning and News 4 at Noon. The native of Washington, Missouri, won an Emmy last year, and we’ve been impressed with her versatility— she’s equally adept at reporting live from Busch Stadium on Opening Day or presenting a hard-hitting investigative piece. And waking up in time for a 4 a.m. broadcast can’t be easy, either.

KMOV's Emily Rau | Photo by Elizabeth Jochum

TV News Reporter

Brittany Noble-Jones


When Michael Brown was killed last August, Brittany Noble-Jones was one of the first journalists on the scene. Her early interview with Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s griefstricken mother, was seen around the globe on Instagram. As unrest continued, she became a trusted voice, using social media as both a reporting tool and a way to connect with her audience. For her excellent work, Noble-Jones was named the 2015 Emerging Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.