The Chronicle newsroom has a long history of excellence, having in recent years being honored with two C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards (in 2006 for coverage of Regina Clark, the Centralia woman killed while soldiering in Iraq; and in 2008 for our coverage of the disastrous flood of December 2007).
While the Blethens are rare and considered the jewel of journalism honors in the Pacific Northwest (Chronicle Executive Editor Michael Wagar won a Blethen back in 1998 when he was a reporter for The Kitsap Sun for coverage of diversity issues), the main yearly honors are in the annual Society of Professional Journalists’ Northwest Excellence in Journalism Contest.
This past Saturday night the awards banquet honored three Chronicle journalists — Design Desk Chief Sheyna Watkins, Visuals Editor Brandon Swanson and senior staff reporter Marqise Allen.
Watkins took a second place honor for her overall page design after submitting three full page items: “Lewis County’s Most Wanted;” a feature about a Winlock woman who cooks chocolate truffles; and a front page featuring a Chehalis stained glass artist.
Swanson won a second place for entering a feature story about a family that cleans up after crime scenes. Swanson also took photographs and produced a video for the feature story.
Allen was honored with a third place award for his investigation into a reserve police officer in Pe Ell who was accused by some in the community of overstepping his authority.
The awards ceremony included journalists from five Northwest states. It was held at Safeco Field with the results being displayed on the big screen high above the diamond.
The Chronicle is proud of these accomplishments. While we remain humble in the opportunity given us to exercise free speech and assist in community conversations, we also note that this newspaper is the hands-down news leader for the greater Lewis County area, with more staff devoted to bringing you local news than any other outlet.
We also note the other divisions within The Chronicle and its parent company, Lafromboise Communications.
Without the ad sales and design department, for example, there’s no money to fund a newsroom. The customer service representatives at the front lines and the front desk at The Chronicle help brand our businesses with their professional and personal touch. The printing crew, no stranger to winning top Pacific Northwest printing awards year after year, every day make the photos and type line up just so to give you a sharp print product. We’re all led by a progressive, forward-thinking administrative team.
In all, it takes a daily miracle to get the stories of Lewis County from our sources to your front porch. But at its center, it takes dedicated journalists such as those honored Saturday night.
Congratulations, Sheyna, Brandon and Marqise and the rest of the newsroom team.