Author archives: John Crouch

Bucks County Courier Times honored with G. Richard Dew Award

19.09.2017 John Crouch Awards

The Bucks County Courier Times in Levittown, Pennsylvania, was recently announced as the recipient of the 2017 Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation’s G. Richard Dew Award for its “Unwell Water” series.

The award is the foundation’s highest honor and is given in recognition of outstanding reporting that improves the quality of community life and furthers the public’s understanding of the role of the news media and how it relates to matters of public interest.

The paper’s “Unwell Water” series was an extensive, two-year investigative project that detailed chemicals at area military bases that were leaking into an underground aquifer and exposing residents to unsafe drinking water.

The series, led by reporters Kyle Bagenstose and Jenny Wagner, led to the closure of at least 22 public drinking fountains and sparked action by local and national politicians and advocates.

A judge wrote:

“This sprawling series took two seemingly tiny facts from two seemingly disparate spreadsheets and produced hundreds of stories over several years. All a result of old-fashioned reporting and modern data-sifting by Bagenstose and Wagner. I am in awe of the quality of the reporting, writing and editing; its evenhandedness, lack of sensationalism and fairness, along with its insistence on cutting through the resistance to find truths; the commitment of the newspaper to provide the times and resources required; and the responsiveness both of the newspaper to its community and of the community to its newspaper.”

For more information about the series, visit the Bucks County Courier Times.

For more information about the G. Richard Dew Award, visit the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation.

GateHouser rescued from Harvey floodwaters, with help from another Gatehouser

Houston residents have returned to their hurricane-ravaged homes, ready to rip out drywall, tear up carpets and sift through the destruction for surviving valuables.

Robin Good, director of business development with GateHouse Media, was among those homeowners. As devastating as her situation is, it could have been worse.

Good and her elderly dog were nearly stranded in their home in Katy, Texas, while the flood waters rose. But a connection with another GateHouse employee resulted in a timely rescue.

The Thursday before the storm really hit, Aug. 27, Good was returning home from a business trip. Officials were urging residents to shelter in place, so Good stocked up on supplies, made sure all her devices were charged and prepared to hunker down.

“It didn’t seem so bad that night and of course there was no flooding. It was overcast the next day but the sun came out,” Good said. “Then we got 48 inches in 48 hours. Houston floods, but I’ve never had a problem before.”

Still, Good’s home hadn’t lost power, and her backyard only had a little flooding. Saturday and Sunday go by, and the roadways leaving Good’s neighborhood were unpassable. She was stranded — but still safe. The water hadn’t risen.

That changed on Monday, when the water swiftly began flooding her yard, then her home.

Good retreated to her attic but didn’t have an ax in case she needed to break through. She began posting increasingly distressed status updates on Facebook, where they were seen by a friend.

Aimee Thomas, a multimedia account executive with the StarBanner in Ocala, Florida, met Good for just a week when Good was in Florida on a work trip. The two hit it off and friended each other on Facebook.

Thomas happened to have a friend who lived in Sugar Land, Texas — about 20 miles from Houston — who had a Jeep prepared for rescues. Thomas put the two in contact, and Good was whisked to safety as the waters closed in around her.

The water was too high for the Jeep to make it to her house, so Good waded through waist-deep water to make it out. Her 13-year-old dog, Bonnie, swam “for the first time in her life,” Good said.

As the storm raged, Good made it to Dallas, where her niece met her. The two drove 22 hours to North Carolina. After an agonizing wait, Good was finally able to get back into her house late last week.

The house, she said, is a complete loss.

“I put some things up on shelves, but at that point you just get out. You get out with your life,” Good said. “About 80 percent of people in Houston don’t have flood insurance and I’m one of those people.”

Now, she’s facing the monstrous task of cleanup.

“We’re tearing every bit of drywall out now. All the floors. All the furniture,” she said. “It looks like a war zone.”

Steve Lundblade named general manager of Sentinel, Kansan

Steve Lundblade

Steve Lundblade was recently named the general manager of the McPherson Sentinel and the Newton Kansan in Kansas.

Lundblade is a Wichita native and has more than 20 years of experience in the journalism industry. He has previously held positions at the Wichita Eagle, the Kansas City Sar and at the magazine division of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Lundblade will oversee day-to-day operations for both publications, as well as revenue, circulation and news budgeting.

For more information, visit the McPherson Sentinel.

Intelligencer series honored by Society of Environmental Journalists

15.08.2017 John Crouch Awards

The Intelligencer’s “Unwell Water” series, by reporters Kyle Bagenstose and Jenny Wagner, was named as the second-place winner of the Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding In-depth Reporting in the small market category by the Society of Environmental Journalists.

The SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment winners will be recognized at a celebratory luncheon in October.

Of the entry, judges said:

This series shows what’s possible when a small, local paper pursues a story and doesn’t let go. Reporters at the Intelligencer spent years covering how the chemicals PFOS and PFOA had contaminated residential drinking water, publishing 12 investigative reports and more than 100 stories. They clearly explained the complex science of chemical exposure and potential cancer clusters and showed how public officials had done little to protect residents from harm. The series triggered lawsuits, public pressure and political action at every level.

For more information, including a complete list of winners, visit the SEJ’s awards page.

GateHouse parent company announces Morris Publishing Group acquisitions

GateHouse Media’s parent company, New Media Investment Group, recently announced its acquisition of 79 publications and related assets from Morris Publishing Group.

Assets include 11 daily newspapers, including The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Florida, and The Augusta Chronicle and Savannah Morning News in Georgia.

The acquisition also includes Morris’s Main Street Digital group, substantially all weekly and niche print products and all related websites and digital operations.

For more information, visit New Media Investment Group.

GateHouse Media newspapers recognized by Florida Society of Professional Journalists

27.07.2017 John Crouch Awards

The Florida Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists recently recognized journalists from the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune at its annual Sunshine State Awards, which recognizes quality journalism from across Florida.

Josh Salman, Emily Le Coz and Elizabeth Johnson earned the both Gene Miller Award for Investigative Reporting and the First Amendment Foundation Freedom of Information Award for the Herald-Tribune’s Bias on the Bench project.

Former Herald-Tribune reporter Maggie Clark was a finalist for the James Batten Award for Public Service for her Medicaid coverage, Herald-Tribune’s Lee Williams was a finalist for the Integrity Florida Award for Public Corruption Reporting for his Prosecutor Pub Crawl piece and the Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Lola Gomez was a finalist for the Diversity Award for her Living in the Shadows work.

Other awards in individual categories include:

Feature Reporting (Small)
First-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Chris Anderson for Mason

First-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Josh Salman, Emily Le Coz, and Elizabeth Johnson for Bias on the Bench
Second-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Maggie Clark for Medicaid

Commentary & Criticism – General
Second-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Maggie Menderski

Commentary & Criticism – Arts
Third-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Carrie Seidman

Profile Reporting
First-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Chris Anderson for Mason
Third-place: The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Suzanne Hirt

State and Local Election Reporting
Third-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Zac Anderson

Presidential Election Reporting
First-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Zac Anderson

Data Reporting
Second-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Shelby Webb for Expulsions
Third-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Josh Salman, Emily Le Coz and Elizabeth Johnson for Bias on the Bench

Editorial Writing
Third-place: The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Scott Kent

Beat Reporting – Arts
First-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Jay Handelman

Beat Reporting – Community
Third-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Zach Murdock

Beat Reporting – Education
First-place: Sarasota Herald Tribune’s Shelby Webb for Expulsions

Beat Reporting – Environment, Health & Science
First-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Barbara Peters Smith for HealthBeat

Beat Reporting – Hardship Issues
First-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Maggie Clark for Medicaid
Third-place: The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Eileen Zaffiro-Kean

Special Publication or Section
Third-place: The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Daytona Rising

Breaking News Photography
Third-place: The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s David Tucker

Second-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Jennifer Borressen for Unravel

Front Page Design (Small)
Second-place: Center for News & Design’s Ariana Torrey for her work for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Online Package
Third-place: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Shelby Webb for Housing in SRQ

For more information, visit the Florida SPJ.

Mike Murphy named Missouri VP of operations

Mike Murphy was recently named as GateHouse Media’s vice president of operations for the state of Missouri.

Murphy has served as senior group publisher in north central Missouri since 2014, where he has been responsible for newspapers in Boonville, Brookfield, Chillicothe, Hannibal, Kirksville, Mexico and Moberly.

As VP of operations, Murphy will retain the responsibilities of his former position and take on the day-to-day operations of several other publications in Missouri, including the Columbia Daily Tribune, and oversee Tribune Publishing Co. operations.

For more information, visit the Hannibal-Courier-Post.

Ellis Smith named general manager of The Hawk Eye

Ellis Smith was recently named as the new general manager of The Hawk Eye in Burlington, Iowa.

He most recently served as digital editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, where his work garnered several industry awards and he was also part of the paper’s “The Poverty Puzzle” reporting project, which earned the Free Press a finalist position for the Pulitzer Prize.

He is a graduate of the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia, where he was editor-in-chief of the college’s newspaper, the West Georgian, and also produced a daily live newscast UTV-13.

For more information, visit The Hawk Eye.

Tuscaloosa News honored by APA, APME

17.07.2017 John Crouch Awards


The Tuscaloosa News was recently recognized with awards in both the Alabama Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest and the Alabama Associated Press Media Editors’ newspaper contest for work done in 2016.

In each contest, the paper competed in the division that includes the state’s largest newspapers.

It earned 11 first-place, nine second-place and 10 third-place awards in the Alabama Press Association contest, including second place in the General Excellence category and first place in the Freedom of Information-First Amendment category.

In the Associated Press Media Editors contest, it received 13 first-place awards, including the Freedom of Information award, in addition winning seven second-place and five third-place awards and the Sports Sweepstakes award.

Alabama Press Association awards included:

First place
• Best Newspaper Website
• Best Local Education Coverage
• Best Sports Coverage
• Freedom of Information-First Amendment – Drew Taylor
• Best Sports Single Event Story – Tommy Deas
• Best Use of Graphics or Illustrations
• Best Special Section – Newsprint
• Best Niche Publication
• Best Periodical
• Best Production and Printing
• Best Advertising Campaign

Second place
• General Excellence
• Best Layout and Design
• Best Spot News Story – Mark Hughes Cobb
• Best Sports News In-depth Coverage – Aaron Suttles
• Best Headline – Tommy Deas
• Best Editorial
• Best Special Section – Newsprint
• Best Niche Publication
• Best In-paper Promotion of Newspaper

Third place
• Best Editorial Page or Section
• Best In-depth News Coverage – Mark Hughes Cobb, Jason Morton, Stephen Dethrage, Drew Taylor, Cecil Hurt and Gary Cosby Jr.
• Best News Feature Story Coverage – Stephanie Taylor
• Best Human Interest Column – Lydia Seabol Avant
• Best Sports Single Event Story – Joey Chandler
• Best Sports Feature Story – Aaron Suttles
• Best Sports Photo – Gary Cosby Jr.
• Best Use of Graphics or Illustrations
• Advertising Sweepstakes
• Best Classified Display Ad

Associated Press Media Editors awards included:

First place
• Freedom of Information – Drew Taylor
• Sports Action Photo – Gary Cosby Jr.
• Portrait – Gary Cosby Jr.
• Photo Illustration – Gary Cosby Jr.
• Sports Non-deadline Reporting – Aaron Suttles
• Sports Feature Story – Aaron Suttles
• Education Story – Drew Taylor
• Sports Column Writing – Cecil Hurt
• Non-deadline Reporting – Mark Hughes Cobb, Jason Morton, Stephen Dethrage, Drew Taylor, Cecil Hurt and Gary Cosby Jr.
• Deadline Reporting – Angel Coker
• Sports Deadline Reporting – staff
• Non-deadline Page Design
• Headlines

• Public Service – Stephanie Taylor, Gary Cosby Jr. and Michael James
• Sports Deadline Reporting – staff
• Sports Non-deadline Reporting – Joey Chandler
• Photo Illustration – Gary Cosby Jr.
• Photo Compilation – Michelle Lepianka Carter
• Individual Portfolio – Gary Cosby Jr.
• Deadline Page Design

Third place
• Sports Deadline Reporting – Aaron Suttles and Tommy Deas
• Photo Compilation – Gary Cosby Jr.
• Spot News Photo – Erin Nelson
• Humorous Photo – Erin Nelson
• Lifestyle Feature – Mark Hughes Cobb

For more information, visit The Tuscaloosa News.

Denise Robbins named new Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing

Denise Robbins was recently named as GateHouse Media’s new Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing.

Robbins brings 20 years of success in developing multichannel marketing, strategic partnership and innovative consumer revenue programs to the role, and will be responsible for GateHouse Media’s consumer marketing strategy and revenue growth. This includes both print and digital subscriptions and the development of new consumer-driven revenue streams. In addition to working closely with corporate and field circulation leaders, she will partner with GateHouse’s content, product and strategy teams on the development of new products and services.

“As we continue our effort to achieve year-over-year revenue growth, it is essential that we both optimize our traditional newspaper circulation revenue and develop new consumer revenue streams,” said Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media. “Denise’s experience, using consumer insights and data to drive business strategy, will be a significant asset for us.”

Most recently, Robbins served as Executive Director/Consumer Revenue for The New York Times, where she led acquisition marketing and customer experience for the newspaper’s print subscription business. She previously served as VP and Corporate Director for New Bay Media, an NYC-based private equity portfolio of more than 60 music and consumer electronics publications. In this role, reporting to the CEO, she had responsibility for consumer revenue across the enterprise. Robbins launched her career in a variety of marketing positions with specialty publishers, beginning in circulation marketing at Dow Jones/IDD enterprises.

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