COLUMBUS — Eleven Civitas Media newspapers across Ohio won 31 awards Sunday, May 21, in the annual Ohio Associated Press Media Editors newspaper competition.
Civitas Media includes Ohio Valley Publishing and its newspapers, the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, The Daily Sentinel and Sunday Times-Sentinel in Ohio and Point Pleasant Register in West Virginia.
First, second and third place awards in various categories were handed out in a ceremony held in Columbus. Taking home the third place award for Best Columnist in Division I, was Beth Sergent, editor of OVP. Sergent’s columns appeared in OVP publications in 2016.
In all, 67 daily newspapers submitted 2,084 entries in the contest, which featured news and sports stories, features, editorials, columns, graphics and photos from 2016.
Civitas winners are as follows, including judges’ comments where available.
Division I (Daily circulation up to 7,999)
Best Headline Writer – Second place, Tom Barr, Wilmington News Journal. “These made our judges chuckle.”
Best Business Writer – First place, Andrea Chaffin, The (London) Madison Press. “Very well done. The lead took you back in time to see a visual of how the store once thrived. The story was a nice timeline, starting with how the store once was, and brought you into the struggles it faces today. The details of the hardships that these workers have to face to keep this once-thriving store alive was terrific. Overall, the story did a nice job of ‘painting a picture with words.’ Thorough research on the entire history of this beloved store.”
Best Business Writer – Third place, Joshua Keeran, Urbana Daily Citizen. “Taking a story about a hotdog stand and turning into something more than just that really stood out. The story became very interesting upon hearing about how this hotdog stand was relevant to a violent event that took place and almost took one of the brother’s lives.”
Best Columnist – First place, Belinda Paschal, Piqua Daily Call.
Best Columnist – Second place, Gary Abernathy, The (Hillsboro) Times-Gazette. “Unique and well written.”
Best Columnist – Third place, Beth Sergent, Gallipolis Daily Tribune. “A great voice and entertaining to read.”
Best Feature Writer – First place, Cecilia Fox, Troy Daily News. “There were many excellent submissions for this category, but the writer’s narratives, refreshing leads and great pacing stood out. The writing flows well and draws the reader in.”
Best Feature Writer – Third place, Audrey Ingram, The (London) Madison Press.
Best Sports Columnist – Second place, John Bombatch, Fairborn Daily Herald. “Stories transition well. A refreshing voice and pace make reading your work enjoyable.”
Best Sports Writer – First place, David Fong, Troy Daily News. “David Fong brought a writing style that was not only strong and compelling, it was one where you felt the importance of the game and the subjects involved to those around them and the community covered at-large.”
Best Sports Enterprise – First place, John Bombatch, Xenia Daily Gazette, “Following Grace Norman Through the Olympics.”
Best Sports Enterprise – Second place, Justin Miller, Urbana Daily Citizen, “#johnstrong: The Road to Recovery.”
Best Daily Sports Section – Second place, Josh Brown and David Fong, Troy Daily News. “Strong design and plenty of good local art paired with a great mix of local sports makes this entry a real standout.”
Best Feature Photo – Third place, Don Tate, Fairborn Daily Herald. “Air Show Takes Flight” “Beautiful! The color contrast is amazing, and what great timing!”
Best Public Service – First place, Tom Barr and Matt Louallen, Wilmington News Journal. “Honor Flight Section” “An amazing job to do something so memorable for these veterans, who are most deserving. Tremendous work.”
Best Investigative Reporting – First place, Gary Abernathy, The (Hillsboro) Times-Gazette. “The Mayor Drew Hastings Case.” “Wow. Great in-depth reporting. It details an impressive amount of facts and paints a vivid picture of what appears to be either mayoral corruption or police revenge.”
Division II (Daily circulation of 8,000 to 11,999)
Best Headline Writer – First place, Chris Slone, Portsmouth Daily Times.
Best Business Writer – Third place, Patricia Ann Speelman, The Sidney Daily News.
Best Sports Columnist – Second place, Dave Ross, The Sidney Daily News.
Best Sports Photo – First place, Luke Gronneberg, The Sidney Daily News. “D-4 State Champions Again” “The composition and layers in this photo enhance this emotionally charged moment. Very well done.”
Best Spot News Coverage – Second place, Alexandra Newman, The Sidney Daily News. “JC Police Chief Arrested” “You get points when you write a spot news story that is complete and thorough. You get extra points when you surprise officials with what you know. This story had details and answers I didn’t think to ask. It’s a simple story, but an example of excellent reporting before anything was written down.”
Division IV (Daily circulation of 19,000 to 59,999)
Best Headline Writer – Second place, David Trinko, The Lima News.
Best Business Writer – Second place, John Bush, The Lima News. “Nice goodbye to a longtime restaurant while also covering the new development of a greenhouse business. Very good reads for a look at three guys who took a chance and a man who traveled to discover coffee and what he wanted to do with his life.”
Best Editorial Writer – Third place, David Trinko, The Lima News.
Best Sports Columnist – Second place, Jim Naveau, The Lima News. “Strong, decisive arguments. That’s the mark of a good columnist.”
Best Sports Feature Writer – Second place, Jim Naveau, The Lima News. “Reading about LeBron’s early years separated this entry from the pack.”
Best Sports Writer – Third place, Tom Usher, The Lima News. “Thirty years’ worth of reasons why.”
Best Photographer – Second place, Richard Parrish, The Lima News. “The basketball and hair photos stood out from the rest.”
Best News Photo – Third place, Craig J. Orosz, The Lima News. “Tight Squeeze” “A fun, eye-catching photo.”
Best Sports Photo – First place, Richard Parrish, The Lima News. “Shawnee Rebounds” “Great action shot. Focus on the player and the ball is spot on.”
Best Enterprise Reporting – Third place, The Lima News. “Lima in Black and White.”
Best Full Page Design – Second place, Amanda Vanness and Jim Krumel, The Lima News. “Cleveland Indians: 2016 American League Champs”