DENVER The Durango Herald won top honors among small daily newspapers in Colorado at two newspaper contests this weekend.
The paper won the general excellence award in the Colorado Associated Press Editors and Reporters contest and the Colorado Press Association contest, both announced during a weekend conference at the Westin hotel in Denver.
Four Corners newspapers cleaned up at the CPA contest. The Pagosa Springs Sun and Cortez Journal both won general excellence awards in their circulation categories. The Journal also won general excellence at the CAPER contest.
While the Herald has excellent writers, photographers and editors who do very good work every day, it takes the interest and support of readers and advertisers to make all of this possible, said Richard Ballantine, publisher of the Herald.
Both contests covered work done from September 2011 to August 2012, a period that included the Aurora movie theater shooting, a historic wildfire season and part of the 2012 presidential campaign.
The awards reflect many superlative efforts, by a great group of journalists who embrace hard work, collaboration and the highest ideals of community journalism, said Don Lindley, Herald managing editor. Winning The Associated Press award for overall excellence and, for the third straight year, the CPA sweepstakes award for overall editorial excellence, is really special.
The Herald won general excellence as the top paper with a daily circulation less than 15,000. The group included papers like the Steamboat Pilot & Today, Vail Daily and Aurora Sentinel.
Judges cited the creative, witty headlines. Nice, clean layout. Eye-catching photographs. Nice focus and highlight of local stories.
The awards are:
Public service: Second place, Emery Cowan, Jim Haug and Heather Scofield for Behind closed doors: Questions raised about transparency of some local government entities; Meeting places stir debate. The public service award is judged against all other Colorado newspapers, regardless of size.
Beat reporting: Second place, Shane Benjamin for coverage of a house explosion. Honorable mention, Jordyn Dahl, Megan Graham, Paige Blankenbuehler and Benjamin for coverage of the Sydney Spies yearbook photo controversy.
Business story: First place, Chase Olivarius-McAllister for The afterlife: Options abound People are increasingly moving away from traditional casket and funeral. The judge called it a witty take on a topic that generally doesnt get too much attention in the press.
Editorials: Second place, Bill Roberts.
Environmental story: Second place, Pamela Hasterok for Shares of love: Small-scale farms supply healthy, organic produce.
Feature photo: First place, Shaun Stanley for Tele. Second place, Jerry McBride for Crow Canyon.
Feature story: Honorable mention, Benjamin for Equally incarcerated: Number of women jailed in county has tripled in 10 years.
General news photo: First place, Stanley for Water training. Second place, McBride for A new flower.
Informational graphic: Second place, Cliff Vancura for Navigating the streets of Durango.
Investigative reporting: First place, Joe Hanel for Colorados most dangerous mountain pass. The judge called it a data-driven story thats still a good read. Combination of clever writing and deft number-crunching made this the winner. Honorable mention, Kelcie Pegher for When safe is unsafe, a look at a young womans death when taking a contraceptive drug.
Online general excellence: First place, Herald staff. The judge said the website serves its community well with a strong mix of content and multimedia. Navigation is easy. Good use of thumbnails. Offers opportunities for reader interaction.
Online breaking news: First place, Durango Herald staff.
Online special package: The Herald staff swept the category. First place for coverage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The judge cited the websites use of photo galleries, videos and maps. An excellent example of how an event should be previewed and covered online, the judge wrote. Second place for the Politics page. Honorable mention for Snowdown coverage.
Photo coverage of a continuing story: First place, McBride, Stanley, and Isaiah Branch-Boyle for photos of the 2012 fire season.
Photo illustration: First place, McBride for Visual space invaders. Second place, Stanley for Canine cuisine. Honorable mention, McBride for Benefit dinners 2012.
Photo Portfolio: First place, McBride for a selection of his best photos of the year.
Portrait/personality: Second place, David Bergeland for Silver. Honorable mention, McBride for Michelle.
Series: First place, Dale Rodebaugh and Dahl for Missionary Ridge 10 years later. The judge wrote, solid writing, compelling photos and great infographics offer the reader a glimpse back in time, but also give some sense of what has happened in the intervening years. Second place, Scofield for Culture reclaimed. Honorable mention, Katie Burford for Back from war: The things they carry.
Sports column: Second place, Dale Strode for a selection of columns including Bicycle cowboy gets back in the saddle; Fort Lewis cyclist balances bikes with academics; and Durangos sporting area code expands.
Sports photo: First place, McBride for Snow tackle. Honorable mention, Steve Lewis for Letdown.
Spot news photo: First place, McBride for Fireray. Second place, Stanley for Lightner Creek Fire.
Colorado Press Association contest
The Herald won general excellence, as well as the sweepstakes award in the editorial division, in the Colorado Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.
Advertising layout & design: Third place, Michelle Uhl.
Automotive ad: First place, Janelle Farnam.
Use of color in an ad: Second and third place, Tracy Willbanks.
Real estate ad: Second place, Mitchell Carter.
Advertising special section: First place, Karla Sluis for Durango Living magazine.
Classified page(s) or section(s): First and second places, Brady Sutherlin, Janelle Farnam, Karolann Latimer.
Restaurant or dining ad: Second place, Mitchell Carter.
Newspaper/house ad promotion: First place, Hanah Noland.
Public Service: First place, Emery Cowan, for A historic promise: Native American tuition waiver at Fort Lewis College. Third place, Cowan, Jim Haug and Heather Scofield for Behind closed doors Questions raised about transparency of some local government entities.
Editorial Writing: Second place, Megan Graham for a selection of editorials including Lake Nighthorse recreation: Take action to open facility to public; County rejects its climate plan: Commissioners shirk call to set crucial direction; and Police and zombies: Halloween event brought out bad from all sides.
Serious Column Writing: First place, John Peel, for a selection of columns including 13-year-old rebounds from tragedy and HIV-positive Durango man speaks up.
Humorous Column Writing: First place, Mike Smedley for Figures dont add up in numbers game; Unknown Rs, UFO drone thing perplex.
Deadline News Reporting: First place, Shane Benjamin, for a story about a home explosion headlined There was no house: Family of 3 survives devastating explosion; Dog found alive after search. Third place, Ann Butler for Fire erupts near Mancos: Evacuations ordered; blaze grows to 500 acres.
Sports Event Story: First place, Ryan Owens for Goooooo-ooaaaaaaal! An unlikely hero makes a dream come true: FLC again is national champion.
Feature Story: Second place, Chase Olivarius-McAllister for KKK: Membership booming: Grand Wizard says Colorado among places that has growing presence, activity.
Series: First place, Dale Rodebaugh and Jordyn Dahl for Missionary Ridge 10 Years later. Second place, Scofield for Culture reclaimed.
Sustained Coverage: Third place, Benjamin and Rodebaugh for coverage of a house explosion.
Agriculture Story: First place, Pamela Hasterok, for Shares of love: Small-scale farms supply healthy, organic produce. Second place, Cowan for Parched and praying for rain: Outlook dire for farmers without adequate water. Third place, Rodebaugh for Its organic, and then some: Heartwood farms vision of old-time agriculture energizes young workers.
Education Story: First place, Olivarius-McAllister for DHS aims to work some magic: School forges ahead with new principal. Third place, Cowan for We need our culture: Native American FLC students fight the odds to graduate.
Business News Story: Second place, Haug for Commercial creep? Proposed bed-and-breakfast on East Third Avenue divides neighbors on wisdom of adding businesses.
Business Feature Story: First place, Cowan, for Suds and crafts: As appreciation for microbrews grows, makers rewarded for exploring and pushing boundaries. Third place, Cowan for Local distillers quench big thirsts: Sustainability movement helps boost small spirit-makers.
Environmental Story: Third place, Hanel for Recipe for disaster: Feds, state clash on permitting prescribed fire.
Health Enterprise Story: Second place, Scofield for On the edge without a net: High number of uninsured Hispanics strains economy, families. Third place, Luke Groskopf for Naturopaths license or no? Though other states require it, all efforts in Colo. have failed.
Investigative Story Package: First place, Hanel for a rating of the worst mountain passes. Second place, Kelcie Pegher for When being safe is unsafe.
Daily Website Content: First place for the Heralds Politics page, www.durangoherald.com/Politics/.
Daily Website-Multimedia: Second place for the Herald staffs Snowdown coverage, www.durangoherald.com/snowdown.
Daily Website-Interactivity: Second place for the staffs Animas River package, www.durangoherald.com/rivers/animas.
Daily Website-Design: Second place for the Heralds home page, www.durangoherald.com.
Daily Website-Community: Third place, Herald staff coverage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge bicycle race.
Editorial Layout and Design: Second place to the Heralds editing and design staff for issues on Jan. 11, 2012 and May 15, 2012.
News Page Design: Second place, Cliff Vancura for Navigating the streets of Durango.
Feature Page Design: Third place, Vancura for Taste of Japan.
News Photograph: Third place, Jerry McBride for Search on for shooter.
Photo Essay: First place, McBride, for New life is sign of spring. Second place, Shaun Stanley for Boys of summer. Third place, McBride, for Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.