Award Winning Staff

PORTLAND  — The Chronicle won three honors in the 2012 C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards for distinguished newspaper reporting, including two first-place awards.

The Chronicle won more awards than any other single newspaper in the under 50,000-circulation category in the 35th annual judging for the most competitive news writing contest in a region that includes six states and two Canadian provinces. 

A first-place award for deadline reporting went to the entire newsroom for the newspaper’s coverage after the Feb. 14 fire that destroyed the Dr. Matz building in downtown Centralia and displaced residents and tenants of the 123-year-old building. Chronicle journalists who contributed to the award-winning coverage included reporters Bianca Fortis, Kyle Spurr, Amy Nile and Adam Pearson; freelance journalist Victoria Stewart; editors Eric Schwartz (who also wrote a story for that day’s edition) and Brian Mittge; photographers Chris Geier and Pete Caster; page designer Sheyna Watkins; news clerk Doug Blosser and web designer Tara Leonard. 

Judges called the entry “outstanding” with “excellent, thorough coverage” and a variety of angles that never sacrificed quality for the need to make deadline.

The Chronicle also won the other deadline reporting award given to smaller newspapers, with a second-place award for coverage of the guilty verdict in the 2010 Salkum triple-homicide. 

That package, written by Assistant Editor Eric Schwartz with the use of reporting by reporter Adam Pearson, was “a compelling story that involved the reader and invoked feelings of outrage in the reader,” judges wrote.

Pearson, who now writes for a business magazine in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La., also won a second-place award for distinguished coverage of diversity with his story about the plight of people who have lost their license and face a difficult set of obstacles to become legal drivers again.

“This is a great story idea and was well executed,” the judge wrote.

Chronicle Publisher Christine Fossett said she is proud of the skill and dedication of her award-winning staff, who had previously won single Blethen awards in 2006, 2008 and 2011.

“I am aware of the quality journalism produced by the Chronicle news staff and I anticipated that we would be a strong competitor for the award,” Fossett said. “I was hoping to bring home one Blethen, so to be awarded three was very exciting.”

The awards were presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association in Portland, Ore. They are given in memory of the man who published The Seattle Times from 1915 until his death in 1941. C.B. Blethen’s great-grandon, Rob Blethen, presented the award.

“It’s wonderful to see meaningful and impactful journalism alive in the Pacific Northwest,” Blethen said.

PNNA daily newspaper members in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Alberta and British Columbia are eligible to enter the contest, which is administered independently of The Seattle Times by PNNA. Judges are news executives from daily newspapers outside the PNNA area and are not affiliated with PNNA member groups.

All entrants, regardless of circulation, compete for the special Debby Lowman Award for distinguished reporting of consumer affairs, which honors The Times consumer affairs reporter who died of cancer in 1978.

 

The winners of the 2012 awards:

Deadline Reporting

Under 50,000 circulation:

1st Place, The Chronicle, Centralia, Wash. "Centralia Fire Aftermath: Extraordinary Moments of Heroism, Compassion." By The Chronicle staff.

2nd Place, The Chronicle ,Centralia, Wash. "'Vicious' Triple-Murderer Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole." By Eric Schwartz and Adam Pearson.

 

Over 50,000 circulation:

1st Place, The Seattle Times, Seattle. "Café Racer and downtown Seattle shootings." By The Seattle Times staff.

2nd Place, The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash. "January Storm." By The News Tribune staff.

 

Distinguished Coverage of Diversity

Under 50,000 circulation:

1st Place, The Chronicle, Centralia, Wash. "Life Without a License." By Adam Pearson.

2nd Place, The Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Ore. "Seven Myths about the Klamath Tribes." By Shelby King.

 

Over 50,000 circulation:

1st Place, The Oregonian,Portland, Ore. "Housing bias in the city of Portland." By Nikole Hannah-Jones.

2nd Place, The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash. "Cecil's Story." By Kathleen Merryman.

 

Enterprise Reporting

Under 50,000 circulation:

1st Place, The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash."Vancouver's former Payette Clinic: A Legacy of Pain." By Marissa Harshman

2nd Place, The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash. "Funding basic Ed isn't so basic," By Jaques Von Lunen.

 

Over 50,000 circulation:

1st Place, The Seattle Times, Seattle. "The Price of Protection," By Christine Willmsen.

2nd Place, The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash. "Ten Years at War: When Duty Keeps Calling." By The News Tribune staff.

 

Feature Writing

Under 50,000 circulation:

1st Place, Idaho State Journal, Pocatello, Idaho. "Sept. 11: Ten Years Later, Serving in Crisis,"By The Idaho State Journal staff.

2nd Place, The Daily Herald, Everett, Wash. "The Daring, Death-Defying (and quite profitable!) Stunts of Al Faussett." By Alejandro Dominguez.

 

Over 50,000 circulation:

1st Place, The Oregonian,Portland, Ore. "The War Bride," By Anne Saker.

2nd Place, The Seattle Times, Seattle. "Elwha: The grand experiment to restore a legendary valley." By The Seattle Times staff.

 

Investigative Reporting:

Under 50,000 circulation:

1st Place, Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Ore. "The Betty Lou Parks Case." By Ty Beaver.

2nd Place, The Bulletin, Bend, Ore. "Foreclosure Middleman." By Heidi Hagemeier.

 

Over 50,000 circulation:

1st Place, The Oregonian, Portland, Ore. "PERS: Oregon's retirement system challenges." By Ted Sickinger and Jeff Mapes.

2nd Place, The Seattle Times, Seattle. "Methadone and the politics of pain." By Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong.

 

Debby Lowman Award (Combined Divisions):

1st Place, The Seattle Times, Seattle. "Feeling the Weight: A Children's Tale of Temptation, Comfort and Compulsion."By Maureen O'Hagan.

2nd Place, Tri-City Herald,Kennewick, Wash,"Hanford Layoffs: The Ripple Effect." By The Tri-City Herald staff.

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