The Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group came home with several prestigious awards from the Illinois Press Association conference in Bloomington, including a Sweepstakes winner.
Reporter Holly Kee's series of stories on Victoria Mueller, the Johnston City High School senior who was seriously injured in a car accident last year, was awarded the Division I Sweepstakes prize for the Illinois Associated Press contest, meaning the judges considered it the single best piece of journalism among all the Division I (small newspaper) entries for 2017.
In all, the editorial staffs of the Marion Republican, Harrisburg Register/Eldorado Journal, Du Quoin Call, Benton News, Carbondale Times, Randolph County Herald-Tribune and the Gallatin County Democrat won a sweepstakes award, three 1st place awards, two second place honors, two 3rd places and four honorable mentions, from both the AP and IPA contests.
"I am so proud," said SILMG General Manager Stefanie Anderson, who was in Bloomington to pick up the awards.
"Our staff works hard every day to cover local news and local sports, and while they don't do it for awards, it is gratifying to see their work recognized."
Illinois AP contest
Division I Sweepstakes award: Holly Kee, The Marion Republican, for "Johnston City's #22."
Sports Breaking News: 1st place, Travis DeNeal and Michael Dann, The Harrisburg Register, "A Hawk Goes to Heaven," on the death of longtime Gallatin County coach and former Shawneetown police chief Robert "Radar" Patton in February 2017.
Sports Action Photo: 1st place, Michael Dann, The Harrisburg Daily Register, for "Safe or Out?"
Feature: 1st place, Holly Kee, The Marion Republican, for "Johnston City's #22".
Breaking News: 2nd place, Geoff Ritter and staff, on the newspapers' coverage of the Fat Tuesday tornado on Feb. 28, 2017.
Column or Blog: 2nd place, John Homan, whose Opinion page columns run in Marion, Harrisburg/Eldorado and Du Quoin, based on an entry of three columns.
Illinois Press Association contest
Sports News, 3rd place: Travis DeNeal and Michael Dann, "A Hawk Goes to Heaven"
News reporting, single story, 3rd place: Geoff Ritter, "Tornado marks end of an era at Elkville's Powerade Park."
Original column, Honorable mention: John Homan columns
News reporting series, Honorable mention: Staff, The Fat Tuesday tornado.
Newspaper Design, Honorable Mention: Spyder Dann, "Reason to Smile"
Sports Photo, Honorable Mention: Spyder Dann, "Safe or out?"