DENVER – The Durango Herald won first place in the Colorado Associated Press Editors and Reporters contest this weekend in Denver.
The paper also won the Editorial Sweepstakes award at the Colorado Press Association contest and placed a close second to Steamboat Today for CPA's General Excellence award, given to the newspaper with the most awards in news, advertising and circulation.
“A successful newspaper requires engaged readers and advertisers who believe in its strength. We thank everyone in our community who supports this effort,” said Herald Publisher Richard Ballantine.
The Herald won most of the first place awards in CPA's website contest, but the online awards did not count toward scores for the General Excellence prize.
Managing Editor Don Lindley celebrated awards for work by the newsroom.
“Winning the Editorial Sweepstakes award in the CPA contest and the General Excellence award in CAPER is a tribute to a dedicated staff. The contests also pinpoint some things we need to keep working on,” Lindley said.
Other Southwest Colorado newspapers also received top honors in their circulation classes.
The Herald's sister paper, the Cortez Journal, won the CPA General Excellence award for large nondaily papers, and the Pagosa Springs Sun won for medium-sized nondailies.
“I'm so proud of our staff for producing such quality work on such a consistent basis,” said Journal Publisher Suzy Meyer.
Both contests covered the period from Sept. 1, 2010, to Aug. 31, 2011.
The Herald's writing impressed the judge from Pennsylvania who handed out the General Excellence award.
“I visited Durango once, and the reporting in this paper makes me want to go back. A strong commitment to keeping its citizens informed is self-evident in this product,” the judge wrote.
The awards are:
Editorial writing: Third place for Bill Roberts for a portfolio of editorials.
Environmental story: The Herald swept the category, with first and second place awards for Joe Hanel for stories about the defunct biodiesel plant in Dove Creek and an effort to count and track black bears. Melissa Castro Wyatt won third place for a story headlined “Let the mining begin?”
Feature photo: First place for Shaun Stanley, for a silhouette of a skateboarder. “Great composition that really caught my eye,” the judge said.
Headline writing: First place for Katie Burford. “These headlines are all great because they work as headlines first, and the pun or wordplay is secondary,” the judge wrote. Second place for Jeff Eisele.
Informational graphic:First place for German Rojas for a portfolio of graphics the judge called “technically well-executed.”
Investigative reporting: First place for Hanel for a story reported from China about bicycle factories, which the judge called a “big story for a paper this size.” Third place for Shane Benjamin for a story about substance abuse of bath salts. “The focus lead about a mother and her daughter personalize a story that parents need to know about,” the judge wrote.
News column: Second place for Megan Graham. “This writer, who's clearly well-read, concentrated on taking on tough issues rather than easy, soft targets,” the judge said.
Online breaking news: Second place for Herald staff.
Online general excellence: Third place for Herald staff.
Online special package: First place for Herald staff for a series on the Animas River. “This is a fascinating, media-rich package with long-term value to Web visitors well beyond the Herald's immediate market,” the judge wrote.
Photo coverage of a continuing stories: First place for Shaun Stanley for the “Neighbors in Need” series about poverty in Durango. Second place for Herald staff for the Animas River series.
Photo illustrations: Second place for Josh Stephenson for a photo called “There's an app for that.” Third place for Jerry McBride for an illustration for a story about the synthetic drug known as spice.
Picture story/photo essay: The Herald swept the category, with first and third place for McBride for “Trains back on track” and images from the fire in downtown Silverton. Steve Lewis took second place for a story about gliders.
Photo portfolios: Second place for McBride. Third place for Stanley.
Portrait/personality: First place for McBride for “Farewell, Renaissance Man.”
Series: First place for Heather Scofield, Garrett Andrews and Emery Cowan for “Neighbors in Need: Poverty in Durango.” “Though it is certainly a reality, it is not one often captured by other newspapers,” the judge wrote.
Sports column: Second place for Dale Strode for a selection of columns.
Sports photo: First place for Sarah Friedman for a photo of the Durango Roller Girls.
Sports story: Third place for Ryan Owens for a feature on a college softball catcher.
Spot news photo: First place for Lewis for a photo of a fire in the Rafter J subdivision.
Official confirmation of the final placings was not available Saturday afternoon.
Public service: Shane Benjamin
Ad special section: Karla Sluis, Mitchell Carter
Ad special section: Karla Sluis
Advertising layout and design: Michelle Uhl
Automotive ad: Jennifer Dickens
Black-and-white ad: Jennifer Dickens
Black-and-white ad: Tracy Willbanks
Circulation promo: Tracy Willbanks
Editorial writing: Bill Roberts
Color ad: Brady Sutherlin
Classified page or section: Brady Sutherlin, Mitchell Carter, Janelle Farnam
Website advertising: Herald staff
Website content:Herald staff
Website design: Herald staff
Website interactivity:Herald staff
Website community: Herald staff
Website multimedia: Josh Stephenson
Headline writing: Amy Maestas
Informational graphic: German Rojas
Feature page design: German Rojas
Editorial cartoon: Judith Reynolds
Photo essay: Shaun Stanley
News photograph: Shaun Stanley (two awards)
Feature photograph: Sarah Friedman
Sports photograph: Jerry McBride (two awards)
Sports photograph: Sarah Friedman
Story-picture combo: Stephanie Cook, Jordyn Dahl, Jerry McBride
Agriculture story: Emery Cowan
Business story: Heather Scofield
Education story: Ann Butler
News story: Melissa Castro Wyatt
Sports event story: Dale Strode
Sports column: Dale Strode
Series: Shane Benjamin, Jan Nesset
Series: Heather Scofield, Garrett Andrews
Sustained coverage: Stephanie Cook, Lynda Edwards, Dale Rodebaugh
Deadline news: Shane Benjamin
Serious column: John Peel
Humorous column: Mike Smedley