SPRINGFIELD – For the sixth straight year, Sauk Valley Media has received a statewide award for promoting the public’s right to know.
That award was among 25 honors – including four first places – the staff of the Telegraph and Daily Gazette received Friday in the Excellence in News Contest sponsored by the Illinois Press Association. The awards, the most the newspaper has ever won in the annual competition, were presented during the IPA’s annual luncheon in Springfield.
Sauk Valley Media also was runner-up for the Mabel S. Shaw Memorial Trophy, a sweepstakes award based on the number of awards and placings.
First-place awards, won in competition with other Illinois newspapers of 15,000-40,000 circulation, were for:
• Feature Photo, Photo Editor Alex Paschal, “Snow in the Pines,” one of five awards Paschal won
• Sports Feature, Sports Editor Dan Woessner, “Father Time”; Woessner also won a third place for Sports Column
• Headline Writing, Managing Editor Jeff Rogers
• Local Editorial, Opinion Page Editor Jim Dunn, for a series of editorials on the Rita Crundwell case
A group of editorials on open government also won an honorable mention for Dunn for Promotion of the Public’s Right to Know, bringing to nine the number of honors the newspaper staff has won in that category over the past 6 years.
The staff received two awards for Community Service: a second place for a series on concussions suffered by high school athletes, and an honorable mention for the “Caught in the Middle” and “Boomtown” forums that SVM sponsored.
“These awards are great recognition for some outstanding work the staff has done over the past year,” said Larry Lough, executive editor. “Although we might be the smallest newspaper competing in this contest class, we still compete very well in virtually every category.”
The newspaper staff placed third in General Excellence based on overall performance, and three individual sections were honored separately:
• Editorial Page, second place
• Lifestyles Section, second place
• Sports Section, third place
The staff won three other second-place awards, six other thirds and three other honorable mentions. They were:
• Original Column, Lough
• Enterprise/Feature Writing, Jenny Young, “Young Mother’s Cancer Returns”
• Sports Photo, Paschal, Moms Comfort (Alex Paschal)
• Best Investigative Reporting, reporter David Giuliani, “Politics in office of state’s attorney?”
• Best Coverage of Taxation, staff, for coverage of the Lee County sales tax referendum
• Illustration, Paschal, “Growing Green”
• Sports Feature, Assistant Sports Editor Christopher Heimerman, “The Hidden Injury”
• News Reporting-Series, Heimerman, “The Hidden Injury”
• News Reporting-Single Story, reporters Tara Becker and Emily Coleman, “Time to get some money back”
• Personality Portrait, Paschal, “Fiddler”
• Illustration, Paschal, “Tattooed Worker”
• Enterprise/Feature Writing, Coleman, “Faces of Unemployment”
On Thursday, the newspaper staff won 13 awards in a separate statewide contest sponsored by the Illinois Associated Press Media Association. Among six first-place honors was the top award, for General Excellence.