Daily News staffers haul in 11 awards in AP contest


By Daily News • Last Updated 10:39 pm on Friday, March 07, 2014

Cory Smith

Mike Taylor

Curtis Wildfong

Maureen Burns

LANSING — There are nearly 30 daily newspapers with a circulation of 15,000 or less in Michigan. Only two will win as many awards in the 2013 Michigan Associated Press Media Editors (APME) Contest as The Daily News.

Daily News staffers were recently announced to be finalists for 11 awards for their work in 2013. Three finalists were named in each of 21 categories. (See below for a complete list of finalists.) First-, second- and third-place awards will be announced at the Michigan APME annual luncheon in Lansing on June 1.

“This might be the most Associated Press contest awards The Daily News has ever won,” Managing Editor Darrin Clark said. “It is definitely the most we’ve won in the past 20 years. We’ve had a lot of years with four or five awards. We won eight in 1999 and seven in 1997 and 2000.

“I’m really happy for our staff,” he added. “We had a significant overhaul about two years ago. We hired some new people and changed the positions of a few others. The idea was to put people in positions that played to their strengths and interests. I think this is proof that our structure is working.”

News Editor Elisabeth Waldon agreed, noting that the way the newsroom arrangement is currently set up takes advantage of everyone’s unique talent and point of view.

“It’s inspirational to be surrounded by so many different talents,” Waldon said. “When news breaks or a story idea comes in, we have a great assortment of people to choose from so that we can assign each story to a specific person who has a specific talent or interest or experience with that particular topic.

“It’s a pleasure to come to work each day and practice journalism alongside people who really care about the quality of the craft,” she added. “Everyone in our newsroom works hard on a daily basis to present accurate, compelling, relevant and fulfilling stories, photographs and perspectives to our community.”

Cory Smith is a finalist for Best Multimedia Journalist, Best Feature Photo, Best Photo Story, Best Video, Best Sustained Coverage of a Single News Event and Best Investigative Reporting.

“Cory is a great example of a 21st century journalist,” Clark said. “He is skilled in photography, video and reporting. I’m not surprised at all that he’s up for so many awards. It’s well-deserved.”

Mike Taylor is a finalist for Best Writer and Best Column. Curtis Wildfong is a finalist for Best Feature Story and Best Investigative Reporting (for work at his previous job with the Owosso Argus-Press). Maureen Burns is a finalist for Best Column.

“As a features writer and columnist, Mike brings a colorful presence to our pages. He make The Daily News fun to read,” Clark said. “Curtis brings an even and professional approach to his job, so I expect him to be up for awards in every contest he enters. Maureen gives us a really nice community connection with her locally based and personal columns.”

“People say newspapers are dying. But nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to how our dedicated team covers the area, where residents rely on our staff to find out what’s going on locally with breaking news, important meetings, sports and other interesting events,” Daily News Publisher Julie Stafford said.

“Many papers have reporters cranking out stories, but these awards show The Daily News has extremely talented writers carefully crafting their words and photographs both online and in print. We stack up competitively with bigger papers that have more resources. These nominations are proof that we care about our communities and their people. There are names of folks on our editorial staff that are not listed under any category, but our newsroom truly is a team. And I’m proud of what we do each and every day.”

DIVISION I, Newspapers with daily circulation under 15,000

Best Multimedia Journalist: Andy Fitzpatrick, Battle Creek Enquirer; Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News; J. Scott Park, The Jackson Citizen Patriot.

 

Best Editorial: Rich Perlberg, Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, “GOP Tantrum Could Cost $600 Million”; Dan Kitkowski, Marinette EagleHerald, “Domestic Abuse Advocate Touched Many Lives”; Cheryl Welch, Grand Haven Tribune, “Stand Up Against Racism.”

 

Best Writer: Mike Taylor, The (Greenville) Daily News; Danielle Salisbury, The Jackson Citizen Patriot; Becky Vargo, Grand Haven Tribune.

 

Best Sustained Coverage of a Single Sports Event: Matt Wellens, The (Marquette) Mining Journal, “NMU Hoops Coach Search”; Nick Buckley and Bill Broderick, Battle Creek Enquirer, “Playing Together”; Rich McGowan and Leanne Smith, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Keeping the Promise?”

 

Best Sports Enterprise: Rich McGowan, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Teen Balances Athletics, Boxing, Future Goals While Tackling Grown-Up Responsibilities at Home”; Rich McGowan, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Parma Western High School Sophomore Healthy After Winning Battle Against Cancer”; Nate Schneider, Mount Pleasant Morning Sun, “Shepherd’s Anny Kenny Nearing Full Recovery After Blood Disorder.”

 

Best Sports Column: Dan Chalk, Midland Daily News, “Sharing Bad Memories of What It’s Like to Be Bullied”; Bill Broderick, Battle Creek Enquirer, “Bearcat Great Not Allowed to Use the Field House”; Nate Schneider, Mount Pleasant Morning Sun, “All-State Robbery.”

 

Best Sports: Brian Beaupied, Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, “Fab Four”; Matt DeYoung, Grand Haven Tribune, “Breathtaking Victory”; Paul P. Adams, Huron Daily Tribune, “Back 2 the Creek.”

 

Best Informational Graphics or Illustrations: Jordan Haenlein, Grand Haven Tribune, “That’s the Ticket!”; Jordan Haenlein, Grand Haven Tribune, “Stocks Surge”; Krystle Wagner and Jordan Haenlein, Grand Haven Tribune, “Sky’s the Limit.”

 

Best News Photo: Becky Vargo, Grand Haven Tribune, “Asleep on the Bus”; J. Scott Park, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Arraignment for Brother”; Holly Richer, Escanaba Daily Press, “Blaze in Ford River.”

 

Best Feature Photo: Paul P. Adams, Huron Daily Tribune, “Relay for Life”; Nick Garrison, Battle Creek Enquirer, “Balloon Coverleaf”; Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Crystal Lake Fireworks.”

 

Best Sports Photo: J. Scott Park, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Thumbs Up for Teammates”; Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis, Mount Pleasant Morning Sun, “Beal Bench Celebrates”; Jason Juno, Ironwood Daily Globe, “Game Changer.”

 

Best Photo Story: Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “We Want to Find Devon”; Sean Proctor, Midland Daily News, “Fight for Katie K”; J. Scott Park, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Shelby Maldonado’s Journey Back.”

 

Best Video: Gillis Benedict, Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, “Bikers for Books”; John Grap, Battle Creek Enquirer, “Dickman Road Homeless Camp”; Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Belding Robotics Team Competition.”

 

Best Website: Grand Haven Tribune; Escanaba Daily Press; Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

 

Best Feature Story: Kelly Dame, Midland Daily News, “Groundwork for Blue”; Curtis Wildfong, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Someone Who Understands”; Mike Desotell, Marinette EagleHerald, “Child’s Letter Inspires Aid, Idea.”

 

Best Public Service: Christopher Behnan, Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, “Gridlock Threatens Man’s Life”; Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, “Fracking”; Alex Doty, Grand Haven Tribune, “Wages 101.”

 

Best News Column: Maureen Burns, The (Greenville) Daily News, “That Never Ending Word”; Brad Flory, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Worrying About Brains in High-School Sports Is Not Mollycoddling”; Mike Taylor, The (Greenville) Daily News, “I’ll Never Rake Again Without Thinking of My Old Man.”

 

Best Breaking News: Becky Vargo, Grand Haven Tribune, “Russian Roulette: Teen Clinging to Life After ‘Game’ Goes Wrong”; Krystle Wagner, Grand Haven Tribune, “Teen Dies in Crash”; Becky Vargo, Grand Haven Tribune, “Young Mom Abducted.”

 

Best Sustained Coverage of a Single News Event: Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Devon Morrison Missing”; Huron Daily Tribune, “Residents Battle City, Contractor Over Sewage Woes”; Christopher Behnan and Wayne Peal, Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, “Drug Contamination.”

 

Best Investigative Reporting: Curtis Wildfong, The (Owosso) Argus-Press, “Owosso Reaches Settlement in Lawsuit Filed by Officer”; Cory Smith, The (Greenville) Daily News, “Belding Officials ‘Frustrated’ by Woman’s ‘Large Volume’ of Requests”; Jackie Stark, The (Marquette) Mining Journal, “Details Emerge in Drowning Probe.”

 

Best Enterprise Reporting: Lisa Satayut, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Kids Raising Kids”; Brienne Prusak, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Jackson County’s Recovery Court”; Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, “Deadly Medicine: One Year Later.”

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