The Pekin Daily Times won 26 awards in its division Friday at the Illinois Press Association’s annual convention in Springfield, an annual event that honors the work of the best newspaper reporters, editors, photographers, designers and other journalists in Illinois. More than 100 daily and non-daily newspapers competed in 36 editorial categories.
The paper’s news staff won first place in General Excellence. In bestowing this honor, judges lauded the Pekin Daily Times for its all-local front page, good lead art and smart packaging.
“I am proud of the Pekin Daily Times each day, but I’m especially happy and proud today, when the staff that produces this quality hometown news is recognized for their work, said Linda Smith Brown, general manager of the Pekin Daily Times. “Each day our goal is to bring the most professionally produced hometown news product to our readers. Today our industry’s professional organization in the state has recognized our newsroom employees for a job well done.”
Other awards received by the Times newsroom include:
• Community service, staff, first place, for the Times’ efforts to bring attention to the need to clean up Pekin.
• News reporting single story, Sharon Woods Harris, first place, for “Deadbeat Illinois hits home.”
• News reporting series, Michael Smothers and Laura Turner, first place, for “Mourning the loss.” Judges said, “Your articles go above and beyond the typical coverage of a fatal accident. Great job covering all angles. The writing was tight and colorful, and the result of the story was great.”
• Information graphic, Rick Rynerson, first place, for “What will you pay?” The graphic illustrated what property tax homeowners will pay.
• Sports photo, Skyler Edwards, first place. Judges said, “Nicely framed. Spot-on focus on quarterback. Just a superb shot.”
• Spot news photo, Josh Bradshaw, first place, for “Fire on the highway”
• Best website, staff, second place
• Editorial page, staff, second place
• General news photo, Skyler Edwards, second place
• Government beat reporting, Ed McMenamin, second place, for “Cost of digging out” as well as stories about Pekin City Council member Tom Blanchard
• Lifestyle, staff, second place
• Local editorial, editorial board, second place, for “Blanchard: The transparent councilman?”
• Original column, Michelle Teheux, second place, for “Yes, I see you — but where’s your helmet?”
• Single page design, Eric Atkins, second place
• Feature photo, Josh Bradshaw, third place
• Newspaper design, staff, third place
• Spot news photo, Josh Bradshaw, third place, for “Fountains”
• Single page design, Eric Atkins, third place
• Business/economic reporting, Michael Smothers, honorable mention, for “Awesome job jolts coming” in East Peoria
• Enterprise reporting, Valari Hyatt, honorable mention, for “Spreading the word,” a story about a family wrongly accused of child abuse
• Feature photo, Skyler Edwards, honorable mention
• General news photo, Skyler Edwards, honorable mention
• Government beat reporting, Sharon Woods Harris, honorable mention, for coverage of the home rule question
• News reporting series, Michael Smothers, honorable mention, for the news story about the arrest of former Pekin City Council member John Neumann.
• News reporting single story, Ken Harris, honorable mention, for “Draining Lake Stinky”
In addition to the 26 awards, the Daily Times came in second for the Patrick Coburn Award of Excellence.