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Best of Press 2019: Excellence In News Contest winners

CLASS 01 - GENERAL EXCELLENCE

Division A

1st Place: The Woodstock Independent.

2nd Place: Shelbyville Daily Union.

3rd Place: Riverside-Brookfield Landmark.  

Honorable Mention: Cass County Star-Gazette, Beardstown.

 
Division B

1st Place: The Hinsdalean. “The Hinsdalean seems to be the near-perfect balance between advertising and solid, community journalism, eye-catching art, opinion, sports and more - all with a clean and easy to read layout.”

2nd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro.  

3rd Place: The Galena Gazette.  

 
Division C

1st Place: Austin Weekly News, Chicago. “Well-written pieces, clean design and great use of media and pull-quotes.”  

2nd Place: The MidWeek, DeKalb.  

3rd Place: Jersey County Journal, Jerseyville.

 
Division D

1st Place: The Telegraph, Alton. “The Telegraph offers a rich array of local content - comprehensive and clearly written news coverage, a broad range of local sports stories, a local editorial voice, good coverage of the arts and community happenings, and plenty of local photographs. It is a very satisfying package.”

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb. “The Daily Chronicle is a beautiful newspaper, presenting a good selection of local news and photographs, comprehensive sports coverage, a local editorial voice and good arts and living coverage.”  

3rd Place: Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, Mattoon.“Good local news and sports coverage, with a lot of information about community happenings and opportunities.”  

 
Division E

1st Place: Daily Gazette, Sterling. “The whole newsroom scrambled after gunfire broke out at a local high school,  resulting in multiple pages of compelling detail and reaction. Community journalism at its finest.”  

2nd Place: Quincy Herald-Whig. “On a Sunday in April, their front page told three sweet stories about ordinary folks making a difference in their community. Makes you want to move to Quincy!”  

3rd Place: Herald & Review, Decatur. “The Herald & Review gathers ample and compelling local news and speaks with a strong editorial voice.”  

Honorable Mention: The State Journal-Register, Springfield. “Broad statehouse and local government coverage, plus an editorial page that stands guard over the public's right to know.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group.

2nd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights.

3rd Place: Chicago Sun-Times.

 

CLASS 02 - COMMUNITY SERVICE

Division A

1st Place: The Woodstock Independent, Susan W. Murray, Larry Lough. Opioid Crisis: Grabbing a Tiger by the Tail. “Excellent effort help readers understand the impact of the opioid crisis in the local community. Strong effort to provide national statistics and information, then add local context and relatable information. The series begs the question: What is the community doing in response now?”

2nd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Susan W. Murray, Tricia Carzoli, Larry Lough. Homeless in Woodstock. “Another excellent job of highlighting a community issue and putting a relatable spin on it for readers. The profiles of the homeless - telling their stories and how they ended up in crisis - were excellent! Close runner-up for first place!”  

3rd Place: Forest Park Review, Nona Tepper. Flier Fact-Check. “Good reporting  and effort to fact-check and provide voters with the information they needed to make an informed decision in a highly controversial case. Good job.”  

Honorable Mention: The Tuscola Journal, Kayleigh Rahn, Michelle Coartney, Rachel Ray. Tuscola by the Numbers. “Really enjoyed this series. Good approach to helping readers understand the impact and reach of everyday organizations in their community. Love the odd facts like 79 steps at the courthouse and how many books Miss Marta has read during story time!”  

 
Division B

1st Place: The Galena Gazette, Staff. County EMS concerns. “There is a variety of coverage that remains constant on issues with the EMS. The paper presents the information in different formats in an interesting way.”  

2nd Place: Pike Press, Pittsfield, Staff. Griggsville Pre-k. “There is extensive coverage on how the decision will affect both parents and children in the community.”  

3rd Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Staff. BCR hosts Candidates Forum. “The paper extensively covers the upcoming candidates and asks them detailed questions. In addition to hosting the event, it is providing thorough information for those unable to make it.”  

Honorable Mention: The Galena Gazette, Staff. Influenza. “The content is well designed and written. It carefully parallels the past with the current trends. It also creates a compelling argument for the flu vaccine.”  

 
Division C

1st Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Karen Cullotta, Stacey Wescott. Firefighters and cancer.

2nd Place: Wednesday Journal Group, Oak Park, Javier Govea, Linda Francis, Alexa Rogals. SAY Connects - A year-long series focusing on communicating our priorities for children.

3rd Place: Wednesday Journal Group, Oak Park, Jacquinete Baldwin, Darnell Shields, Shameka Turner, Lacey Sikora. Austin Coming Together 2018.

Honorable Mention: Jersey County Journal, Jerseyville, Meagan McGlasson, Rachel McGlasson. Downtown Country Christmas.

 
Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Staff. Community Service. “This is community service in action at its finest. By informing voters about the candidates in these local races, you  help them make better decisions with their votes and encourage them to participate in elections. You hosted the forum, wrote detailed articles comparing and contrasting the candidates' positions. I especially liked asking the challenger to list five votes the incumbent made that he most disagreed with. This exemplifies a newspaper doing its best to cover local politics. Easy choice as winner in this category!”

2nd Place: Effingham Daily News, Graham Milldrum, Jeff Long. Debating authorities' power to seize assets. “Very well written, in-depth article. The problem, though, is this Community Service category judges writing that encourages the well-being or development of the community, or calls for change. In this case, the civil forfeiture laws have already been changed by the legislature.”

3rd Place: The Daily Ledger, Canton, Deb Robinson. Separating the smoke from the fire. “Great job explaining what changes the legislation will create. You made a complicated topic simple for the reader to understand. You did  an effective job of calling on local sources to get their opinions as to whether the legislation goes far enough, or too far. Balanced and fair article that lays it out for the reader to draw his or her conclusions on whether raising the age of smoking to 21 is a positive or negative step.”

Honorable Mention: Pekin Daily Times, Sharon Woods Harris. TCHD: Reports that H3N2 Vaccine not effective are unfounded. “Does the local health department provide the vaccine at no or reduced cost? How do people contact the health department to get the flu shot? That would have been important information to add to the article.”  

 
Division E

1st Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, K. Janis Esch, Gabriel Neely-Streit. Controversy at Southern Illinois University.

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Staff. School safety.

3rd Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Staff. Special report: Safety on the small farm.

Honorable Mention: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Debra Pressey, Noelle McGee. For Your Health.

 
Division F

1st Place: Belleville News-Democrat, Lexi Cortes, Elizabeth Donald. There are signs your teens may think about suicide. Here’s how you can get them help.

2nd Place: Belleville News-Democrat, Joseph Bustos, Kelsey Landis. The MetroLink isn’t as dangerous as you think, investigation finds.

3rd Place: Belleville News-Democrat, Cara Anthony. Then I Knew.

Honorable Mention: Belleville News-Democrat, Joseph Bustos, Lexi Cortes, Kelsey Landis. Get to know the candidates running to represent Southern Illinois in the 2018 election.

 

CLASS 03 - LOCAL EDITORIAL

Division A

1st Place: The Woodstock Independent, Larry Lough. Deadly health crisis deserves our full effort.

2nd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Larry Lough. Their stories are important; the timing is not.

3rd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Larry Lough. It wouldn't be the end of the world, but ....

Honorable Mention: Porter Publishing, Tuscola, David Porter. School Board should encourage public input.

 
Division B

1st Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Jim Dunn. State shortchanges 911 centers. “Good voice.”  

2nd Place: The Hinsdalean, Pamela Lannom. Gazette reporter’s tweet offers poignant reminder. “Well done.”  

3rd Place: The Hinsdalean, Ken Knutson. Abolishing buffer zone helps move D86 forward.

 
Division D

1st Place: The Commercial-News, Danville, Larry Smith. “The commitment to take a subject like crime that is impacting a community and presenting readers information to get them involved in an effort to rid the problem is a great aspect of editorial writing.”  

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Tom Martin. School District 205. “Although long in content, these editorials showed community leadership by the newspaper on the important topic of changing the school district set-up. The editorials urged the need for specific information and participation in the process.”  

3rd Place: Effingham Daily News, Jeff Long. Effingham Daily News editorial: Enough with the sanctuary resolutions. “One of the roles of an editorial page is to keep elected officials on track and off the political soap box. This sanctuary editorial performed that task.”  

Honorable Mention: Breeze-Courier, Taylorville, Marylee Rasar. Monte. “Recognizing individuals in the community in a feel-good editorial can bring a human interest touch to the editorial page. The writing about Monte likely hit home for many.”  

 
Division E

1st Place: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Jon Styf. Cary officials can do better. “A perfectly argued editorial - clear, concise and devastating - about politicians trying to keep the public in the dark.”  

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Jim Dey. Unit 4 spending. “"Opaque Unit 4" is brought out into the light in this trenchant editorial series.”  

3rd Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Staff. Pass a state budget. “This open letter to the legislature brings urgency to a tedious topic: the state budget.”  

Honorable Mention: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Eric Olson. You can go now, Paul Serwatka. “A sharp-edged, common-sense editorial calls for the village president to move along to Dixie.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Jim Slusher. Holding the Tollway Accountable.

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Sun-Times editorial board. What will it take to get 5-year-old Liam a good CPS nurse?

3rd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Diane Dungey.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Sun-Times editorial board. When a bike rider is killed on Halsted Street.

 

CLASS 04 - NEWS REPORTING - SINGLE STORY

Division A

1st Place: Glenview Announcements, Alexandra Kukulka. When using village credit cards, Glenview officials often fail to properly track purchases. “A dogged reporter shines a light on the sloppy use of village credit cards - a beautiful piece of  investigative journalism.”  

2nd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Why did this happen here? “Tireless reporter helps rural community grapple with why right-wing terrorists came to call their town ‘home.’”  

3rd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Plenty of deer here, but no signs. “Examination of deer signage, or lack thereof, in a rural community is explanatory journalism at its best.”  

Honorable Mention: Suburban Chronicle, Geneva, Erika Wurst. Reclaiming a neighborhood. “Suburban Chronicle's front-page coverage of an unincorporated community's crime problem will surely help toward a solution.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. Devastating blaze. “You made a cranky editor tear up. Good job.”  

2nd Place: The Joliet Bugle, Mark Gregory.. IZZYS. “Glad you tracked these people down and featured them. Glad to see a sports guy stepping up for a news story also.”  

3rd Place: Cook County Chronicle, Chicago, Kevin Beese. March's lasting message. “Good job reporting, photographing and balancing a lot to get a good story out there.”  

Honorable Mention: Des Plaines Journal, Todd Wessell. 10 Days To Remember.

 
Division C

1st Place: Austin Weekly News, Chicago, Michael Romain. Johnson upsets Boykin. “Solid political reporting. You didn't just report the results - you explained why and how the underdog candidate unseated the incumbent. Good use of quotes from the candidates as well. This is how a political news story should be done!”  

2nd Place: Austin Weekly News, Chicago, Igor Studenkov. An article about a West Side bank. “Thorough research here. A lazy reporter would simply have parroted the press release about the acquisition. You sought out comments from officials, and I was impressed you went on the bank websites to see what contrasting services were offered between the  two companies.Very informative and well done!”

3rd Place: The MidWeek, DeKalb, Katrina J.E. Milton. Moving Forward. “Nice job of incorporating the personal story and background of the police officer. Very timely, as this ran to the day of the 10th anniversary. Student reaction to the exhibit was a major contributor to this article. Overall, a solid job of covering a news story that  still stirs emotions from 10 years ago and pays its respect to those killed in the shooting.”

Honorable Mention: The Downers Grove, Westmont, Woodridge & Lisle Bugle, Ryan Ostry. Drake Sophia. “You did a nice job laying out the history of this girl's medical problems and the lead about two birthday wishes was impressive. Unfortunately, a number of grammatical errors prevent this entry from being ranked higher. This includes the run-on sentence in the second paragraph. Overall, though, you covered the news of a celebrity visit and the announcement the girl would receive a heart with the dignity it deserved. Nice job incorporating the girl's quotes into the article as well.”


Division D

1st Place: Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, Mattoon, Penny Weaver. Ambulance shortage seen Friday. “This issue has immediate impact, and the story gives answers to many of the questions residents would be asking. Quotes were used well to give multiple voices to the story.”  

2nd Place: The Telegraph, Alton, Riley Newton. A population at risk?. “This story made a complex issue easy to understand while making it relevant to the reader. The time and efforts spent in researching and finding good sources in a timely manner was evident.”  

3rd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Tom Loewy, Rebecca Susmarski. Kicking it before it’s habit. “This article does a good job of showing the scope of this issue.”  

Honorable Mention: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Christopher Heimerman. Neighbors Save Man From Fire. “This story provides details that show the human side of a crime story. It was engaging and kept me reading to the end.”  

 
Division E

1st Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Matt Buedel. Fatal Fires. “Judging this category was tough because of the high number of entries with superior reporting skills. This story's impact and importance made it rise above the rest.”  

2nd Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Andy Kravetz. Officers Cleared. “Excellent use of visuals and copy to lay out the incident for readers”  

3rd Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Tom Lisi. What went wrong. “Infrastructure is a high-impact topic for readers, and the presentation of this situation was very well-reported.”  

Honorable Mention: Rockford Register Star, Isaac Guerrero. Pension Crisis Countdown. “An excellent story about a worthy subject. You're in a field of strong contenders and were an example of exceptional reporting process.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Stacy St. Clair, Christy Gutowski. Puppy Mills.

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Aditi Malhotra. 'From Myanmar to Chicago,' Aditi Malhotra.

3rd Place: Belleville News-Democrat, Kaley Johnson. Up to 16 people live in this Alorton house. The state thinks they’re trapped inside.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Staff. Sears files for bankruptcy.

 

CLASS 05 - NEWS REPORTING - SERIES

Division A

1st Place: Prospect Heights Journal & Topics, Staff. Prospect Heights Fire Coverage. “The Journal did a masterful job of spot coverage of a massive condominium fire that left 300 homeless; then the paper followed the story relentlessly in the months ahead, rallying support for the victims.”  

2nd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Sue Murray, Tricia Carzoli. Homeless in Woodstock. “The Woodstock Independent took on the issue of homelessness and provided its community with leadership in the search for solutions.”  

3rd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Susan W. Murray. Opioid Crisis: Grabbing a Tiger by the Tail. “The Independent followed up later in the year with a powerful four-part series on opioid addiction, calling the community to action.”  

Honorable Mention: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Interstate 57 shootout. “The Ford County Record keeps the memory of two fallen law enforcement officers alive by revisiting a horrific 1979 highway shootout.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Timothy Inklebarger. Remembering Tyler Lumar. “Great mix of storytelling methods that elevate a story about a death and a lawsuit to something more personal and meaningful.”  

2nd Place: The Galena Gazette, Dan Burke. Hanover Ambulance. “The addition of Q&As and other information was a nice complement to the story.”  

3rd Place: Niles Journal, Tom Robb. Accident Involving County Cop Kills 2. “Good example of following a story all the way from the initial breaking news to later developments.”  

 
Division C

1st Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Karen Cullotta. Firefighters and cancer. “This series is absolutely stunning! The reporting is first-rate and certainly shows the human impact of cancer. It also does an outstanding job of showing the intersection of firefighter culture, public policy concerns, and tough financial realities. I'm sharing the link with my firefighter friends. This series is what journalism is all about.”

2nd Place: Austin Weekly News, Chicago, Michael Romain. The 1968 riots. “Really interesting look back at the 1968 riots and how they impacted people. Good job of telling the story and describing it as it happened, as well as what the impacts were on those involved.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Tom Loewy. A Better Track. “A look behind code violations uncovered an interesting tale of mismanagement at a low-income housing development. Good enterprise reporting.”

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Katie Finlon. Wind Farm in DeKalb County Series. “Strong continuing coverage of an important local controversy”  

3rd Place: Effingham Daily News, Staff. Pulse of the Voters. “A well executed local version of a national sampling of voter sentiment”  

Honorable Mention: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Tom Loewy, Robert Connelly. Death of Tyler Smith. “Good job following a tragic unexplained death.”  

 
Division E

1st Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Molly Parker. Housing issues in Southern Illinois and beyond. “Incredibly deep reporting on an important local issue, informed by some national perspective.”  

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Julie Wurth. Sexual harassment at the University of Illinois. “Expert reporting on an important community topic.”  

3rd Place: Daily Southown, Tinley Park, Zak Koeske. Teacher charged with attempted murder. “Strong local watchdog reporting.”  

Honorable Mention: Quincy Herald-Whig, Staff. 'People are dying'. “Great job of putting human faces on a serious problem.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Staff. BETRAYED. “Incredible investigative reporting and use of FOI Act that spurred action saving who knows how many from abuse.”  

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Lauren FitzPatrick. 'CPS' dirty secret,' Lauren FitzPatrick, Chicago Sun-Times.  

3rd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Staff. Profiles in Justice: The Trial of Jason Van Dyke. “Wow. Incredible in-depth coverage.”  

Honorable Mention: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Lauren Zumbach. The demise of Sears.  

 

CLASS 06 - STORY-SERIES - LOCALIZED NATIONAL STORY

Division A

1st Place: The Woodstock Independent, Susan W. Murray. Opioid Crisis: Grabbing a Tiger by the Tail.

2nd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Tricia Carzoli, Susan W. Murray. Homeless in Woodstock.

3rd Place: Suburban Chronicle, Geneva, Jack McCarthy. Surgeon General has firsthand experience with opioid crisis.

Honorable Mention: Mahomet Citizen, Emily Jankauski, Lyndsay Jones, Ben Zigterman. Hometown hero.

 
Division B

1st Place: Pike Press, Pittsfield, Staff. Three part series on mental health in small towns.. “This was a comprehensive look at a local issue. What would have made this far more superior is finding a local face or two who suffer from mental illness and show their path and the system's failures.”  

2nd Place: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. Making a difference. “Good coverage, and glad you're following up a year later.”  

3rd Place: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Timothy Inklebarger. Late Oak Park native tracked Golden State Killer. “Unique story. Very cool to have a local angle like this.”  

Honorable Mention: Pike Press, Pittsfield, Staff. Farmer's seeking relief from health care costs. “Very relevant for the community.”

 
Division C

1st Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Alexandra Kukulka. School shooting threats, even when no guns are fired, can heighten anxiety among students.

2nd Place: Jersey County Journal, Jerseyville, Rachel McGlasson. Jersey County students take stand on National Walkout Day.

3rd Place: The Downers Grove, Westmont, Woodridge & Lisle Bugle, Mark Gregory. Granato.  

Honorable Mention: Austin Weekly News, Chicago, Michael Romain. On West Side, students protest against apathy.


Division D

1st Place: Pekin Daily Times, Sharon Woods Harris. PCHS students stand against school violence, honor Parkland victims.

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Drew Zimmerman, Lindsay Gloor. Mass Shooting Localizer.

3rd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Robert Connelly. Death by Numbers.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Patricia Manson. George H.W. Bush's mark on Chicago courts.

 
Division E

1st Place: Quincy Herald-Whig, Matt Dutton. Tax series. “The Herald-Whig business pages include  a remarkably thorough and detailed series on changes to federal tax laws.”

2nd Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Staff. Trump: Year One. “The Southern printed a masterful four-day series on how Trump impacted its readership's economy in his first year in office.”  

3rd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Jeff D'Alessio. Right to bear arms? “News-Gazette interviewed local teachers about their feelings regarding Trump's call to arms for teachers in schools.”  

Honorable Mention: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Drew Zimmerman. Tariffs. “Northwest Herald interviews farmers about commodity prices falling because of U.S.-China trade war.”

 

Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Staff. “We are young, and we are strong.”

2nd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Staff. Illinois politicians' #MeToo problems.

 

CLASS 07 - FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AWARD

Division A

1st Place: Mason County Democrat, Havana, Wendy Martin. Closed meeting tapes will be open.

2nd Place: Forest Park Review, Nona Tepper. Mark Hosty.

3rd Place: Forest Park Review, Nona Tepper. Marty Sorice.

 
Division B

1st Place: Des Plaines Journal, Todd Wessell. Won't Reveal Source.

2nd Place: The Galena Gazette, Dan Burke. Hanover Ambulance.

3rd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Mary (Galer) Herschelman. Litchfield School Board.

Honorable Mention: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. Galena Schools grievance issues.

 
Division D

1st Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Katie Finlon, Eric Olson. Fighting for details of teacher contract. “This piece is an obvious winner, showing not only good use of the FOI Act but also furthering the cause of the FOI Act. Keep fighting the good fight!”  

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Rebecca Susmarski. City pays $40,000 in legal defense.

3rd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Robert Connelly. Keeping drugs off the streets.

Honorable Mention: Lake County News-Sun, Gurnee, Emily Coleman. New principal resigned from Kenosha school following allegations of inappropriate sex with employees.

 
Division E

1st Place: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Staff. CL Fire video. “This story clearly required a lot of tenacity report accurately. Officials didn't make it easy and the paper went to the mat to make sure the video was finally made public.”  

2nd Place: The Herald-News, Joliet, Felix Sarver. Officer earns paycheck while awaiting criminal trial. “This is a great example of the important role newspapers still play in uncovering government waste and corruption. Without the reporter’s efforts, this waste would doubtlessly have continued.”  

3rd Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Phil Luciano. Journal Star: Making reports public. “Excellent column detailing not only the specifics of problems getting information in this particular story, but also on the general disintegration of the trust that once existed between law enforcement and media.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Belleville News-Democrat, Joseph Bustos, Kelsey Landis. The MetroLink isn’t as dangerous as you think, investigation finds.

 

CLASS 08 - GOVERNMENT BEAT REPORTING

Division A

1st Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Courts/crime. “When a group of right-wing terrorists were discovered in pastoral Clarence, Ill., reporter Will Brumleve owned the story.”  

2nd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Wind farms. “After the windmill industry sought changes to set back regulations in rural Illinois, Will Brumleve reported both sides of the issue fairly and comprehensively.”  

3rd Place: Coal City Courant, Ann Gill. Village of Coal City. “Ann Gill gets right to the tension of a story. Her reporting is clear and authoritative.”  

Honorable Mention: Mahomet Citizen, Emily Jankauski. Village of Mahomet reporting. “Mahomet is lucky to have such a thorough and precise reporter covering local government.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: The Galena Gazette, Dan Burke. East Dubuque City Council. “Well-researched and thoughtful walkthrough of very complex situations. Well done.”  

2nd Place: Wheeling Journal & Topics, Lauren Barry. Political Tensions in Wheeling.

3rd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Mary (Galer) Herschelman. Litchfield School Board.

Honorable Mention: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. Galena city coverage.

 
Division C

1st Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Chuck Fieldman. Doings government beat reporting. “The sale of the right of way article demonstrated solid, balanced reporting, with effective use of multiple sources. You captured my attention with the ironic vote of a board member voting for a proposal he verbally opposed. The lead on the article about the board not voting on the police chief's proposal was also a great attention grabber. Anytime a proposal is 'effectively killed' without public debate or input, red flags appear on the horizon. Great job here as well! You made the public aware of two board members' support on social media of a proposed land purchase before it came before the board. Outstanding explanation as to why this was problematic. You are a great watchdog of this board, and that seems to be a good thing. ...”

2nd Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Rick Kambic. Staffing and overtime pay at Mundelein Fire Department. “You did a nice job of explaining to your readers why the sale of a ladder truck involves much more than just dollars and cents. Fair, balanced reporting of the conflicting views of town officials trying to save money vs. firefighters' union officials calling for more manpower to safely respond to emergencies. I appreciate the thorough reporting as you compared Mundelein's overtime costs to five neighboring, similarly sized departments. Many lazy reporters would not have gone that extra step. Your reporting was balanced in showing both sides. In fact, I was left undecided as to whether Mundelein's FD was overstaffed, overfunded and overtimed to death or whether those numbers were necessary to adequately protect the coverage area. Nice job! These articles would also have been a solid entry in News Reporting--Series. Although you received second place, the writing and reporting was top-notch, as was the case with the Oak Brook articles in the other entry.

Division D

1st Place: The Commercial-News, Danville, Jennifer Bailey. City manager? “Good information; highly relevant”  

2nd Place: Breeze-Courier, Taylorville, Owen Lasswell. City of Taylorville economic incentives. “Good information; highly relevant.”  

3rd Place: The Commercial-News, Danville, Carol Roehm. Sales tax increase?. “Good information; highly relevant”  

Honorable Mention: Breeze-Courier, Taylorville, Owen Lasswell. The Taylorville-Stonington divide.

 
Division E

1st Place: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Ed Komenda. Algonquin Township. “A solid year of relentless, courageous reporting on municipal misrule.”

2nd Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Ryan Voyles. Ryan Voyles, government reporting. “Authoritative and urbane reporting on a range of topics.”

3rd Place: The Daily Journal, Kankakee, David Giuliani. Government beat reporting by David Giuliani. “David Giuliani has an amazing radar for political shenanigans and governmental complacency.”  

Honorable Mention: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Julie Wurth. University of Illinois. “Higher education beat reporting at its very best!”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Tim Novak. Tim Novak, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago city government.

 
2nd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Staff. Sheriff boots prisoner rehab program.

3rd Place: Belleville News-Democrat, Joseph Bustos. Joseph Bustos government beat reporting 1.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Sun-Times, Lauren FitzPatrick. Lauren FitzPatrick, Chicago Sun-Times, public education beat coverage.

 

CLASS 09 - BUSINESS/ECONOMIC REPORTING

Division A

1st Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Paxton businesses. “Ford County Record reporters wrote authoritatively on a broad range of business topics.”  

2nd Place: Ledger-Sentinel, Oswego, Shea Lazansky. Working hard, but still out of reach. “The Oswego Ledger illuminates readers about a perilous gap between working-class wages and affordable housing in Kendall County.”  

3rd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Wind farms. “The Ford County Record examines proposed changes to wind farm setback regulations.”  

Honorable Mention: The Sidell Reporter, Carol Wock. Farming in the 21st Century. “The Sidell Reporter publishes an informative series on contemporary farming techniques.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: Kane County Chronicle, St. Charles, Brenda Schory. dunkin vs fresh donuts. “Thorough coverage of the pros and cons of the addition of this new business; relevant to community and well-written.”  

2nd Place: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. Raise a glass. “Great story, engaging and interesting from the beginning to the end.”  

3rd Place: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. One good turn. “Good lead, informative, and well-written.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Rebecca Susmarski. Codes impede biz growth. “Standout story about how city's codes are affecting business growth. Well-done.”  

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Rebecca Susmarski. Farmland buoys property value in region. “In-depth reporting on what I imagine is a big deal in Illinois. Thorough but presented in a way that's easy to understand. Outstanding data reporting.”  

3rd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Katie Finlon. Economically Intertwined. “In-depth look at how declining local college enrollment is impacting the local economy. Important story, I'm sure, for the business community.”  

Honorable Mention: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Lindsay Gloor. Epiphany amid the junk. “This was an important and well-written feature.”  

 
Division E

1st Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Staff. Small town spotlight: The economy.

2nd Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Phil Luciano. Hidden from Sight.

3rd Place: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Brittany Keeperman, Mawa Iqbal, Ed Komenda, Katie Smith. Fox River Grove eminent domain.

Honorable Mention: Journal Star, Peoria, Phil Luciano. Pere Marquette Saga.

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Tim Novak. 'Daley pension debacle: Where did $54 million go?' Tim Novak, Chicago Sun-Times. “Great (what I imagine to have been exhaustive!) investigative reporting. In-depth and supported by clean graphics and visuals.”  

2nd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Ally Marotti. Marijuana's growing in Illinois. “For Illinois, this is important coverage considering the momentum of the marijuana industry and leadership backing. Very informative and well written pieces.”  

3rd Place: Belleville News-Democrat, Cara Anthony. Residents want better than moldy meat and fruit from this East St. Louis grocery store. “While I gave higher marks to others simply because their topics were broader and more impactful, this is a great example of the importance of community journalism. Great reporting!”  

 

CLASS 10 - OBITUARY TRIBUTE

Division A

1st Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Andrew Rosten. Revered ex-coach, biology teacher remembered.

2nd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Ross Brown. 'They both had a heart of gold'.

3rd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Ross Brown. Mission-minded editor recalled as upbeat, caring.

 
Division B

1st Place: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. Remembering Richard Clark. “Very well-written.”

2nd Place: The Hinsdalean, Pamela Lannom. Brooks inspired family, friends, teammates. “Tough choice between first and second place. Another well-written piece on a remarkable young man.”

 
Division D

1st Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Rick Kambic. Community mourns, remembers Libertyville homeless man.

2nd Place: The Commercial-News, Danville, Mary Wicoff. Remembering Jerry.

3rd Place: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, David Thomas. George Leighton.

Honorable Mention: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Christopher Heimerman. Tessier Feature Obit.

 
Division E

1st Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Phil Luciano. Farewell to my good neighbor.

2nd Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Phil Luciano. Teen's work goes on.

3rd Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Alee Quick. PK's remembers its trailblazing matriarch.

Honorable Mention: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Ed Komenda. Maxwell Bennett.

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Maureen O'Donnell. Dance teacher's death a reminder: Reach out before it's too late.

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Maureen O'Donnell. Art Paul, designer of Playboy bunny logo, Maureen O'Donnell, Chicago Sun-Times.

3rd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Marie Wilson. He gave and gave.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Sun-Times, Maureen O'Donnell. Founder of Val's halla, beloved by music fans.

 

CLASS 11 - SPORTS NEWS

Division A

1st Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Andrew Rosten. Coming back. “Moving story that captured the essence of that day perfectly.”  

2nd Place: Oakland Independent, Janice Hunt. State meet medal count: Hunt 2, Cox 1. “Great accounts and details from the athletes and their accomplishments.”  

3rd Place: Ledger-Sentinel, Oswego, Joshua Welge. Hailey Morland gets surprise call, delivers Oswego crosstown win. “Well detailed with insightful statistics from the game.”  

Honorable Mention: Effingham & Teutopolis News Report, Steve Raymond. Coach B, Repeat Bid,  Shoes, Rally and Welcome. “Thorough coverage and reporting.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: The Hinsdalean, Pamela Lannom. Central girls lacrosse No. 1 in state. “Great lede that included great follow-up storytelling for Hinsdale's first state title. Kept the writer's voice separate from the story, but still impacted the overall flow by including short, yet important, interjections. Included color while allowing the story to tell itself.”

2nd Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Kevin Hieronymus. Hall dethrones Teutopolis to win state. “Creative lede draws in the reader to a story that begins with the start of the season and culminates with a team winning a title. Organization allowed for a great story to be told without forgetting statistical input.”  

3rd Place: Kane County Chronicle, St. Charles, Joshua Welge. Geneva girls basketball wins state title. “A good lede built a good story. Organization allowed for storytelling to hold the lede up, use of statistics was not jarring, allowed for the story to be told dramatically while maintaining news aspects.”  

Honorable Mention: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Matoush New Queen Of The Hill. Kyle Herschelman. “Good lede. Found a different way to tell the story about a game while maintaining the writer's voice.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: The Commercial-News, Danville, Chad Dare. State Topper. “Solid coverage of signing day. Stood as for news value.”

2nd Place: The Downers Grove, Westmont, Woodridge & Lisle Bugle, Matt Le Cren. Carlson Earns Medal. “Good feature story on player bouncing back from injury.”

3rd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Eddie Carifio. Signing Day coverage. “Enjoy this retrospective on World Series team after 30 years. Unrelated to writing, but would have loved some pics from back in the day too.”  

Honorable Mention: Breeze-Courier, Taylorville, Owen Lasswell. Ghostbusters. “Strong coverage of sports event.”

 
Division E

1st Place: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Joe Stevenson. Calling it quits? “Good report of breaking sports news and giving a report on the local connection and the reason for his decission.”

2nd Place: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Sean Hammond. State football districts. “Good article, explaining the decision of the conference and the results.”  

3rd Place: The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Randy Kindred. Coach says full-contact ban a safety detriment. “I enjoyed reading this article. It relates to a movement across the country involving the concerns of youth football.”  

Honorable Mention: Journal Star, Peoria, Aaron Ferguson. Manual Player In On-Court Fight. “A story that needed to be written. I hope this player changed his ways of behavior.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Kevin Schmit. Changes in IHSA football coming.

2nd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, John Dietz. Quenneville out, Colliton in for Blackhawks.

 
3rd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Scot Gregor. Thoughts and prayers.

 

CLASS 12 - SPORTS FEATURE

Division A

1st Place: The Harrisburg Register, Harrisburg, Michael "Spyder" Dann. Football under attack: Why is freshmen football declining in southern Illinois?

2nd Place: Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, Marty Farmer. Transfers trigger success for Nazareth hoops.

3rd Place: Porter Publishing, Tuscola, David Porter. Illinois' biggest little rivalry.

 
Division B

1st Place: Kane County Chronicle, St. Charles, Jacob Bartelson. Katie Cantrell swimming sister story. “Well written, very emotional story. Good job.”  

2nd Place: The Enterprise, Plainfield, Mark Gregory. Lancaster Draft.

3rd Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Kevin Hieronymus. Officially speaking, there is a shortage of referees.

 
Division C

1st Place: The Downers Grove, Westmont, Woodridge & Lisle Bugle, Mark Gregory. Granato.

2nd Place: Suburban Life Core Group, Josh Welge. Catching fire.

3rd Place: Suburban Life Core Group, Josh Welge. Powerball.

 
Division D

1st Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Josh Tolentino. Tyler's dream day.

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Eddie Carifio. Exchange students make impact for Hiawatha.

3rd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Matthew Wheaton. Westfall - Mr. Everywhere.

 
Honorable Mention: The Commercial-News, Danville, Chad Dare. Making history.

 
Division E

1st Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Matt Daniels. 'My getaway place'. “Great job on telling this story. I enjoyed it start to finish.”

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Anthony Zilis. Free and clear. “Good job reporting on this and telling the story. It was a close run for the top spot.”

3rd Place: Rockford Register Star, Matt Trowbridge. A twin tall tale. “A good read overall. Thanks for sharing this story.”  

Honorable Mention: Herald & Review, Decatur, Joey Wagner. Why referees are quitting. “This was a story worth telling in more papers.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Dan Wiederer. Absence of Answers. The James Jordan murder.

2nd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Patricia Babcock-McGraw. Football put Antioch's Czerlanis on the right path.

3rd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Teddy Greenstein. On the road with Loyola: Ramblers making the most of life as a mid-major.

Honorable Mention: Belleville News-Democrat, Dean Criddle. 50 years later, Bob Goalby still haunted by the controversial end to his Masters win.

 

CLASS 13 - FEATURE WRITING

Division A

1st Place: Oakland Independent, Janice Hunt. Despite health struggles stemming from Gulf War, Duzan remained a patriot. “This extended obituary about a hometown war veteran is meticulously researched and affectionately written - community journalism at its very best.”

2nd Place: Piatt County Journal-Republican, Monticello, Steve Hoffman. An eventful run for Woman’s Club. “This hometown paper celebrated the historic significance of a local women's club even as the club closed for lack of members. Beautifully written!”  

3rd Place: Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, Bob Uphues. Fallen Brookfield Marine's remains identified. “Remains of a Marine killed in the Pacific during World War II were finally headed home last year, and his hometown newspaper stepped up to the occasion.”  

Honorable Mention: The Harrisburg Register, Harrisburg, Travis DeNeal. Not just a simple wool coat. “A couple's homemade winter coat becomes a celebration of their beautiful marriage. Romance on Page 1-A!”  

 
Division B

1st Place: Des Plaines Journal, Todd Wessell. 10 Days To Remember. “Very well researched and well-written. The story pulls you into the time period and the incredible emotions that were obviously so riveting through it all. GREAT JOB!”  

2nd Place: The Hinsdalean, Pamela Lannom. Students bring magic to Central's stage. “AWESOME feature, GREAT layout and photos! The writer makes you feel like you were there for every part of the auditions. GREAT JOB!”  

3rd Place: Pike Press, Pittsfield, Staff. Opiod Problem. “Great personal look at the opioid problem from the perspective of one of its victims. The story presents the picture of addiction from another angle. VERY well done.”  

 
Division C

1st Place: The MidWeek, DeKalb, Katrina J.E. Milton. Christmas gift to the world. “Outstanding article with a lead that made me want to read on. Good use of multiple sources. Nice holiday tradition each year by this couple, and this was a fitting tribute to them. Great job!”  

2nd Place: The MidWeek, DeKalb, Katrina J.E. Milton. Charger tribute. “You found what I call a hidden jewel feature story - one that needed to be told but might not otherwise be written except for a resourceful reporter finding the story. The lead catches the reader's attention, and piques his or her curiosity as to how the car relates to a man who was killed. Well written, with sufficient sources. I'm sure the family appreciated your work. Solid job!”

3rd Place: Jersey County Journal, Jerseyville, Rachel McGlasson. Local woman featured in New York Times. “An effective feature article that compels the reader to reflect how we treat people we casually cross paths with in life, like a waitress. You did a fine job of eliciting her  strong emotion about what she's endured in the course of her job. I would have liked to know what her boss, or the restaurant owner, thought about her comments. Did she leave her job where she was being harassed, or is that where she still works?

 

 
Division D

1st Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Christopher Heimerman. Wisky Eibs.

2nd Place: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, David Thomas. With great power comes great liability.

3rd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Kelsey Rettke. The Power of I.

Honorable Mention: Effingham Daily News, Dawn Schabbing. Sigel brings first truck home.

 
Division E

1st Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Leslie Renken. Adoption Brings Joy to Peoria County Coroner and Husband. “A touching story, extremely well told.”  

2nd Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Isaac Smith. 'We are humans': Trans community reacts to gender definition proposal. “Good reporting on a sensitive subject.”  

3rd Place: The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Paul Swiech. DUI victim rebuilds life, strength in Bloomington. “Well written account, with the added value of comments from the other driver.”  

Honorable Mention: The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Carla Jimenez. Still in the Band. “A powerful story about keeping a memory alive.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Peter Nickeas, Jason Wambsgans. Jalen's Journey.

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Robert Herguth. A life rebuilt.

3rd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Mary Schmich. The Chicago Seven jurist.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Sun-Times, Frank Main. Hope. Perseverance. Luck. Support. Kiwand Brown is going to need all of these.

 

CLASS 14 - FEATURE WRITING - PERSONALITY PROFILE

Division A

1st Place: Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, Bob Uphues. From devastation, a life of healing. “Great profile that draws immediate attention and keeps it. Well-written with a great style. Photos and design add to the appeal of this feature.”  

 
2nd Place: The Sidell Reporter, Suzanne Woodard. Heart of the family. “Touching and inspirational story. Reader feels connected to this family, their courage, and compassion.”  

3rd Place: Coal City Courant, Ann Gill. More Than 4 - Megan Bugg. “Inspiring story about a courageous young woman. Good writing from start to finish.”

Honorable Mention: The Lexingtonian, Laurie Sleeter, Cammie Quinn. A Small Town Girl Goes to Russia. “Love, Love, Love this writer's style. Engaging and interesting from the lead to the end of the story. This story leaves you with a sense that you traveled on the trip yourself.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: The Hinsdalean, Ken Knutson. Read Devil. “Well written and clever.”

2nd Place: The Hinsdalean, Pamela Lannom. Donovan writing own recipe for happiness. “Well written.”  

3rd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Christy Mollet, Decorating Village Apartments Brings Joy To Local Resident. “Sweet story about a local person, very well written.”  

Honorable Mention: Kane County Chronicle, St. Charles, Brenda Schory. Weight loss journey. “Well written, fantastic sources.”

 
Division D

1st Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Karen Berkowitz. Tattoo helps a breast cancer survivor retake control.

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Tom Loewy. Living his Passion.

3rd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Christopher Heimerman. Richard Jenkins Feature Profile.

Honorable Mention: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Christopher Heimerman. Rolando Cruz Personality Profile.

 
Division E

1st Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Adalberto Toledo. Amazing Grace. “An amazing story about an amazing young woman.”  

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Julie Wurth. Welcome to town. “A very well crafted profile that tells readers a lot about an interesting person”  

3rd Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Valerie Wells. Seeing the light. “A nicely written look at one man's challenges and faith”  

Honorable Mention: Journal Star, Peoria, Leslie Renken. Family Legacy of Cancer. “A touching account of a mother's experience with multi-generational cancer”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, John Lampinen. A Life of Passions.

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Lauren FitzPatrick. Turning trauma into a teachable moment.

3rd Place: Belleville News-Democrat, George Pawlaczyk, Beth Hundsdorfer. He's a millionaire who runs strip clubs across the U.S. He's also a Centreville cop.

Honorable Mention: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Elena Ferrarin, Rick West. A Homeless Man's Life in Elgin's 'Tent City'.

 

CLASS 15 - FEATURE SERIES

Division A

1st Place: Mahomet Citizen, Emily Jankauski. An easy decision. “The Mahomet Citizen published the story of a career nurse in need of a kidney transplant, and her life was saved by a reader who stepped up.”  

2nd Place: Chenoa Town Crier, Laurie Sleeter, Joyce Nagel. Johnny Weatherwax. “These true stories about life in Chenoa, Illinois, from 100 years ago are a priceless gift to readers of the Town Crier.”

3rd Place: Hancock County Journal-Pilot, Carthage, Mark Cox. ISBE snapshots and PARCC testing. “The Journal Pilot gave its readers an authoritative statistical analysis of teacher compensation in the school districts of Hancock County.”  

Honorable Mention: Pana News Palladium, Millie Meyerholz. Chatauqua series. “The Pana News-Paladium published a four-part series about the construction of the landmark Chautauqua auditorium, and its importance to the community.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: Breeze-Courier, Taylorville, Kim Paisley. Safe Passage: A road to recovery. “A strong combination of issue reporting and gritty personal stories.”  

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Tom Loewy. Hunger Check. “A well written look at an important local issue”  

3rd Place: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. Going green.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Paul Dailing. Illinois at 200: Legal Legends.

 
Division E

1st Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Molly Parker. The undocumented immigrant next door. “This series connects and informs. I think we could all benefit from having these features expanded in our own cities across the country. Regardless of which side of the aisle you're on regarding immigration, getting perspective and being informed is healthy.”  

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Staff. Clergy corner. “This series not only features good journalism but good business too! Great idea.”

3rd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Staff. Whatever happened to .... “Fantastic idea to drive readership. I imagine this was labor intensive!”  

Honorable Mention: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Paul Wood. A Salute to Those Who Served.

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, John Lampinen. Last Kiss.

2nd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Marie Wilson. Fighting Opioid Use in the Suburbs.

 

CLASS 16 - BEST REVIEW

Division A

1st Place: Oakland Independent, Janice Hunt. Book recalls small moments that made a big impression.

2nd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Nathan Willcockson. Danube to the Fox: Mozart Fest turns 32.

3rd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Nathan Willcockson. Library film fest to celebrate Shelley's monster hit.

Honorable Mention: El Paso Journal, Jennie Kearney. Journal review: The Little Mermaid.

 
Division B

1st Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Kyle Herschelman. 'Beginner's Luck' Is Miller's Time To Shine. “The review "Beginner's Luck" not only kept me interested in the story being told, but made me want to buy the album.”  

2nd Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Goldie Rapp. Momologues rings true to this young mother.  

3rd Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Jim Dunn. Dreamy way to brush up on Shakespeare.

Honorable Mention: Kane County Chronicle, St. Charles, Renee Tomell. Koalas.

 
Division E

1st Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Jim Dey. Wolf book.

2nd Place: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Rebecca Ford. "More about the man, less about the moon".

3rd Place: The Daily Journal, Kankakee, Kiera Allen. Amazon Prime's 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' is sure to frighten.

Honorable Mention: The Daily Journal, Kankakee, Kiera Allen. One day can last a lifetime in '6 Balloons'.

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Dann Gire. High Moon.

2nd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Blair Kamin. Lake Point Tower anniversary.

3rd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Blair Kamin. Northwestern athletics center.

Honorable Mention: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Barbara Vitello. Baby Blues.

 

CLASS 17 - STORY/SERIES - AGRICULTURAL STORY

Division A

1st Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Spirited debate.

2nd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Sandy Kucharski. Early snow tests county's first living snow fence.

3rd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Nathan Willcockson. Back to the land: McHenry County brings new life to local food.

Honorable Mention: Tazewell Chronicle, East Peoria, Tim Alexander. Illinois Ag groups.

 
Division B

1st Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Mary (Galer) Herschelman. Borgic Farms Continues To Rebuild After Fire. “Great storytelling and reporting on a hard news story and how that has impacted this family's livelihood.”  

2nd Place: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. Weird, wet weather.

3rd Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Goldie Rapp. 'Corn Warriors' featured at Hefty Field Day.

Honorable Mention: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Kyle Herschelman. Cover Crop Demo Focuses On Benefits.

 
Division D

1st Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Katrina J.E. Milton. A tar spot of trouble. “Good reporting of issue affecting local farmers.”  

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Robert Connelly. Trade War. “Good reporting on impact farmers will feel from tariffs.”  

3rd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Katrina J.E. Milton. Tariffs have DeKalb County farmers storing crops, waiting. “Several submissions looked at tariffs, and this was a standout.”  

Honorable Mention: Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, Mattoon, Jarad Jarmon. Coles County farm wives find themselves out on the farm more often than not. “Enjoyed this feature on angle many wouldn't have thought to write about.”  

 
Division E

1st Place: The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Brenden Moore. Record harvests - and uncertainty. “Good in-depth look. Informative, well written and appeals to a wide range of readers.”  

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Ben Zigterman. Climate change.

3rd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Jeff D'Alessio. 10 4-Hers tell their most memorable show animal. “Wonderful community journalism at its finest. While some more compelling and informative pieces had higher marks, this story was my favorite. Connecting readers to 4-H (this is coming from someone with no experience with 4-H) via descriptive nostalgic memories.”  

Honorable Mention: Herald & Review, Decatur, Staff. Safety on the small farm.

 
Division F

1st Place: Belleville News-Democrat, Joseph Bustos. Agricultural tariffs and how they affect Southern Illinois.

 

CLASS 18 - ORIGINAL COLUMN

Division A

1st Place: The Carroll County Review, Thomson, Jon Whitney. Of Cattails & Cornsilk.

2nd Place: El Paso Journal, Cara Howard. Cara cultivates.

3rd Place: Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, Brett McNeil. Trail Conditions.

Honorable Mention: Effingham & Teutopolis News Report, Herb Meeker. Baby Its Cold, Punching Away, and When Hope.  

 
Division B

1st Place: Cook County Chronicle, Chicago, Irv Leavitt. Original Column. “There's a genuineness that shines through in your writing that I find absolutely delightful.”  

2nd Place: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Michael Romain. America to Me

3rd Place: Des Plaines Journal, Todd Wessell. Maine Harassment.

Honorable Mention: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Goldie Rapp. Momologues, Peter Pan, Hunchback columns.

 
Division D

1st Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Eric Olson. From the GM's Desk.

2nd Place: The Daily Ledger, Canton, Deb Robinson. Thin blue line.

3rd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Christopher Heimerman. Heimerman Original Columns.

Honorable Mention: The Daily Ledger, Canton, Hannah Donsbach. Remember them.  

 
Division E

1st Place: The Herald-News, Joliet, Joseph Hosey. Original columns by Joseph Hosey. “Hosey's columns come on strong, hitting hard with both fact and opinion. They are entertaining and tight as a drum. Everything a column should be.”

2nd Place: Daily Southown, Tinley Park, Donna Vickroy. 2 sisters, a bully and the apology 60 years in the making that set them free. “The story of the bully asking forgiveness of the bullied is moving and poignant. It would have been nice to see a column on another subject as well, but clearly this was a reader favorite, and with good reason.”  

3rd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Jim Dey. “Dey's columns take on tough subjects in a way that stick with you. His column on the tragic accident that happened because the driver was distracted should be required reading by everyone with a license and a phone.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, John Kass. “Good original reporting, a strong sense of indignation and a deep knowledge of Chicago politics informed these incredible columns about the political machine's attempt to quash a young newcomer. Good work; good outcome.”  

2nd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Dahleen Glanton. “Powerful writing about important topics. The columnist's clean, economical language drives home both the salient facts and her strong feelings about them.”  

3rd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Stefano Esposito. 3 columns on fatherhood. “A sometimes entertaining, sometimes sobering look at fatherhood - in good times, tough times and even goofy times.”  

Honorable Mention: Chicago Sun-Times, Mary Mitchell. “Strongly written columns about important and sensitive topics.”

 

 

CLASS 19 - HUMOROUS COLUMN

Division A

1st Place: The Free Press Advocate, Wilmington, Eric Fisher. Fish Tales by Eric Fisher. “Highly readable and endlessly anecdotal. Newspaper people can empathize with this writer's tone especially.”

2nd Place: El Paso Journal, Raegan Rinchiuso. Reflections by Raegan.

3rd Place: Porter Publishing, Tuscola, Lana Hill. Lana's Logic.

Honorable Mention: El Paso Journal, Cara Howard. Cara cultivates.

 
Division B

1st Place: Cook County Chronicle, Chicago, Irv Leavitt. Humorouse column. “Great writing style and point of view.”  

2nd Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Earlene Campbell. Look who's riding high in the Wienermobile, plus 2 more.

3rd Place: The Greenville Advocate, Adam Jeffers. Forest; Gearhead; Taste Bud.

Honorable Mention: The Greenville Advocate, Dave Bell. Texting; Derby, iPhone.  

 
Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Tom Martin. A life of medium-sized thrills.

2nd Place: The Daily Ledger, Canton, Deb Robinson. The great raccoon incident of '82.

 
Division E

1st Place: The Dispatch, Moline, Shane Brown. Mission impossible / This thrill avoider  / Gift-giving lessons. “Shane Brown was clearly the star of this group of columnists. His self-deprecating humor mixed with off-beat observations make for an enjoyable read.”  

2nd Place: NewsTribune, La Salle, Brett Herrmann. “Herrmann had some good lines in his entries, and the ideas and angles were fresh.”  

3rd Place: The Herald-News, Joliet, Bill Wimbiscus. “Wimbiscus comes at the reader with a torrent of jokes and a fun look at everyday life.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Jim Baumann. Grammar Moses. “I really enjoyed this light (and educational!) column. The humor reaches across all aisles.”  

2nd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Rex Huppke.

 

CLASS 20 - SPORTS COLUMN

Division A

1st Place: Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, Marty Farmer. Curtin call a good one for RBHS.

2nd Place: The Normalite, Normal, Jim Bennett. The Spectator by Jim Bennett.

3rd Place: Cass County Star-Gazette, Beardstown, Don Chipman.

Honorable Mention: The Normalite, Normal, Steve Robinson. Steve Robinson's High School Highlights.

 
Division B

1st Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Kevin Hieronymus. Coach's dad, Karl's Crusaders, Did IHSA football need to be fixed. “Tremendous mix of topics and storytelling styles. Just a great local sports column.”  

2nd Place: The Enterprise, Plainfield, Mark Gregory. One of the Good Guys. “A very compelling and personal column.”  

3rd Place: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Marty Farmer. Curtin call a good one for RBHS. “Interesting anecdote and good sourcing makes for a great column.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Eddie Carifio.

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Matthew Wheaton.

3rd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Mike Trueblood.

Division E

1st Place: The Times, Ottawa, Charlie Ellerbrock. Inside the Game. “Mrs. Vincini article heartwarming and well-written about when the sports world and the academic world collide. Unique and interesting.”  

2nd Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Les Winkeler. “Interesting view, relevant to sports and things going on in the world today.”  

3rd Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Phil Luciano. “Old Hunting Dog is a Survivor caught my eye and Runners on Road Driving Me Mad appeals to more than just a "typical" sports audience. Unique.”

Honorable Mention: The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Randy Kindred.


Division F

1st Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Steve Rosenbloom. 1. Joel Quenville deserved better 2. Stan Mikita-lesson in greatness 3. Thanks, Loyola.

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Steve Greenberg.

3rd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Rick Telander.

Honorable Mention: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Scot Gregor.

 

CLASS 21 - PHOTO SERIES

Division A

1st Place: Ledger-Sentinel, Oswego, Shea Lazansky. Yorkville High School Prism concert marks 10 years. “It's difficult to capture concert footage in this sort of lighting. This collection was an obvious winner for its variety and skill shown by the photographer.”  

2nd Place: Beecher City Journal, PJ Ryan. Time Out!. “You can really feel the emotion in these shots. The photographer captured some moments.”  

3rd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Tricia Carzoli. Harvest comes home. “Beautiful indoor photography. The lighting is impeccable.”  

Honorable Mention: Cass County Star-Gazette, Beardstown, Brian DeLoche. Cause for celebration — Beardstown's waterpark is finally open. “A long-awaited happy day produced some emotional shots for this photographer.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Mike Vaughn. Li'l Spurs Rodeo action.

2nd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Kyle Herschelman. A Day For The Dawgs

3rd Place: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. A walk through the past.

 
Division C

1st Place: Austin Weekly News, Chicago, Alexa Rogals. Anti-Violence Protest. “Powerful series of images involving protest, police, baseball. The series captures important elements of public life in 2018 and the mood(s) inherent to modern public life in America.”  

2nd Place: The MidWeek, DeKalb, Katrina J.E. Milton. Get your goat. “Fun pictures with lots of color and interesting, compelling compositions.”  

3rd Place: Austin Weekly News, Chicago, Alexa Rogals. North Lawndale Walkout. “Powerfully intense images that very much tell the story without words. Great photos.”  

Honorable Mention: Jersey County Journal, Jerseyville, Meagan McGlasson. Fun for the whole family at Jersey County Fair. “These photos pop! Lots of color, lots of traditional American family fun. Great images from a county fair.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. NIU shooting remembrance. “Powerful essay from somber observance.”  

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. First National Challenge. “Good photos, all-around coverage of big sports day.”  

 
Division E

1st Place: The Dispatch, Moline, Todd Mizener. Left Behind Portrait Series. “The emotion captured in these photographs tell a stories all on their own. Incredible composition.”

2nd Place: The Dispatch, Moline, Jessica Gallagher. Crafting Witches. “This was an interesting series. Good composition and a variety of perspectives.”  

3rd Place: Daily Gazette, Sterling, Alex T. Paschal. Ink Tank. “While I gave higher marks to those whose subjects/stories were more compelling, this series shows the best composition and photography skill set. Beautiful photos.”  

Honorable Mention: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Isaac Smith. Queen of Hearts drawing. “With the lighting I can see they were challenged with, this photographer managed to capture a nice series. Each photo shows an important piece of an interesting story of hope!”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Ashlee Rezin. A generation of college grads drowning in student loan debt.

 

CLASS 22 - SPOT NEWS PHOTO

Division A

1st Place: Oregon Republican Reporter, Earleen Hinton. Plane Recovery. “The silhouette really adds emotion to this dismal scene. Great shot.”  

2nd Place: Porter Publishing, Tuscola, Kim Buckley. Turkey buzzards. “I love nature shots, personally. As the picture describes, the photographer was ‘at the right place at the right time’.”  

3rd Place: Mason County Democrat, Havana, Bob Martin. Hang time.

Honorable Mention: The Carroll County Review, Thomson, Jon Whitney. Home Is Lost.

 
Division B

1st Place: The Galena Gazette, Dan Burke. Semi wreck.

2nd Place: Des Plaines Journal, Tom Wessell. Overhaul.

3rd Place: The Hinsdalean, Jim Slonoff. Fire damages historic home.

Honorable Mention: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Becky Kramer. Successful rescue.

 
Division D

1st Place: The Telegraph, Alton, John Badman. Overturned. “Great composition and cropping of this photo. Stood out among the rest of the entries.”  

2nd Place: The Telegraph, Alton, John Badman. Arson fires continue. “Very eye-catching photo.”  

3rd Place: The Telegraph, Alton, John Badman. Gun problems  

Honorable Mention: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. Firefighter battles blaze.

 
Division E

1st Place: Rockford Register Star, Arturo Fernandez. Daring rescue. “Great image! You can see how frantically the men are working to rescue the Salley from his car. Great timing to be on scene as it unfolded.”

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Stephen Haas. Cash grab. “I immediately wanted to know more about this picture. Great framing and overall composition.”  

3rd Place: Daily Gazette, Sterling, Alex T. Paschal. Relief.

Honorable Mention: The Pantagraph, Bloomington, David Proeber. Waiting for help.

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Ashlee Rezin. One more death in a bloody weekend in Chicago. “The impact of this photo is tangible. There are no faces, no words, yet you know the tragedy that has occurred. The photographer gets the perfect angle to capture what is left behind. Great job!”  

2nd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, John Starks. Firefighter Forced Back. “The elements of this photo draw the reader to the dramatic smoke, and then you spot the fireman retreating. Powerful.”

3rd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Patrick Kunzer. Elgin Police Chief Confrontation. “There is so much emotion in the photo. The bystanders are as intent as the subjects. You can almost feel the tension.”  

Honorable Mention: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Bev Horne. Warrenville Barn Fire. “The arial photo shows the enormity of this event. It is sharp and captures the at-risk properties nearby.”

  

CLASS 23 - GENERAL NEWS PHOTO

Division A

1st Place: Cass County Star-Gazette, Beardstown, Brian DeLoche. End of the Road. “Quite a moment that likely wasn't captured by anyone else, especially not like this.”  

2nd Place: Oakland Independent, Janice Hunt. Taking a bite out of crime. “Great action shot.”  

3rd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Ken Farver. Mutton Bustin’.

Honorable Mention: El Paso Journal, Brian Kearney. Controlled and well trained.

 
Division B

1st Place: The Hinsdalean, Jim Slonoff. Chess drama.

2nd Place: Kane County Chronicle, St. Charles, Sandy Bressner. Rooftop cop.  

3rd Place: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Alexa Rogals. Rally for peace.

Honorable Mention: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Mary (Galer) Herschelman. Hiltopper Seniors Enjoy Merriment Of Commencement.

 
Division C

1st Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. New Playground. “Color, shadow and light, composition, ‘people doing interesting things’ ... perfect news photo.”  

2nd Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. Princess Visits Hospital. “The photographer captures the innocence and wonder in the eyes of the child, juxtaposed with the mask that shows she's a patient. Very evocative.”  

3rd Place: Austin Weekly News, Chicago, Alexa Rogals. Cubs fans. “Nothing's more American than baseball, ... except protest. Great news photo.”  

Honorable Mention: Austin Weekly News, Chicago, Alexa Rogals. Students walkout. “Great job capturing the passion and colors of a moment of protest.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. Beating the Heat. “Awesome emotion and action.”  

2nd Place: The Telegraph, Alton, John Badman. Pondering the celebration. “The combination of skill to get the right exposure on the fireworks and the framing made this image.”  

 
3rd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. March for Our Lives.

Honorable Mention: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. Hexa's Last Day.

 
Division E

1st Place: The Herald-News, Joliet, Eric Ginnard. Peotone Rodeo. “Lots of good photos in this category. This one stood out with clarity and motion. The expression on the rider's face and the interest from the crowd - all captured in one frame.”  

2nd Place: The Herald-News, Joliet, Eric Ginnard. Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride. “This has all the elements of great photo. There is movement, contrast and skill. The photographer has to be on the swing!”  

3rd Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Clay Jackson. Illinois National Guard staff sergeant. “High-impact photo. Love the presumed mom and child in the background who are clearly part of the story but not the focus of this picture.”  

Honorable Mention: The Dispatch, Moline, Meg McLaughlin. Spelling Bee. “Great photo. Easy to see the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Rick West. Smashing Pumpkins. “This is so fun and creative. The composition is great and the focus on his face is perfectly captured.”  

2nd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Mark Welsh. A Veteran's Tears. “The display of emotion here is extremely touching. This photo truly shows the soft side of the men who have served our country.”  

3rd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Brian Hill. Graduation Celebration. “The pride and emotions felt in this photo are touching - the joy of graduating at its finest.”  

Honorable Mention: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Patrick Kunzer. Plane Crash Survivors Give Thanks.

 

CLASS 24 - FEATURE PHOTO

Division A

1st Place: Porter Publishing, Tuscola, Kim Buckley. Sub zero bubble.

2nd Place: Cass County Star-Gazette, Beardstown, Brian DeLoche. Mean Fiddler.

3rd Place: Ledger-Sentinel, Oswego, Shea Lazansky. Splish Splash.

Honorable Mention: The Woodstock Independent, Ken Farver. Dancers.

 
Division B

1st Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Mike Vaughn. The one that got away. “A once-in-a-lifetime shot. The droplets of water falling off the fish sold it for first place.”  

2nd Place: Naperville Sun, Brian O'Mahoney. Watermelon Eating Contest. “A very close second-place image. Excellent shot!”  

3rd Place: Des Plaines Journal, Tom Wessell. Sledding In Des Plaines. “Great emotion and near perfect exposure.”  

Honorable Mention: Cook County Chronicle, Chicago, Karie Angell Luc. Special Olympics.

 
Division C

1st Place: The MidWeek, DeKalb, Katrina J.E. Milton. High school welder. “Composition, color, darkness and light, and the power of work,  of getting something done, make this photo a first-place selection.”

2nd Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. Happy Dance. “This is a great ‘slice of life’ photo. Fun picture!”  

3rd Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. Getting Messy. “Cute picture of a fun event.”  

Honorable Mention: Austin Weekly News, Chicago, Alexa Rogals. Just passing through. “An example of ‘life goes on,’ even in the midst of protest and activity. Interesting composition, as well.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: Lake County News-Sun, Gurnee, Brian O'Mahoney. Water Park. “Excellent capture of motion and emotion. Subjects are nicely framed, and nice color.”  

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. Kid Firefighter. “Great framing and color. Also the emotion captured is excellent. Nice, clear shot. Good work.”  

3rd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. An Eye for an Ear.

Honorable Mention: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. Heron enjoys seafood.

 
Division E

1st Place: The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Rich Saal. Lots of Lincolns.

2nd Place: The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Justin L. Fowler. Capitol in the Raindrops.

3rd Place: The Dispatch, Moline, Meg McLaughlin. Father and Son.

Honorable Mention: Quincy Herald-Whig, Jake Shane. Lemonade Stand.  

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Rick West. Hobbyhorse Romp. “Adorable, carefree moment caught on camera. Awesome shot.”  

2nd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Brian Hill. Relaxing Troll. “Super cool display encapsulated in this shot. Great composition, creativity and detail.”  

3rd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Rick West. First-Day High-Fives. “Precious excitement and great composition.”  

Honorable Mention: Chicago Sun-Times, Colin Boyle. For the birds. “Extremely interesting composition and subject!”  

 

CLASS 25 - PORTRAIT/PERSONALITY

Division A

1st Place: El Paso Journal, Kim Kearney. El Pasoan's anecdotes from the Occupation. “I love the emotion and personality captured in this photograph. I can almost feel as if I'm in the room sharing the moment with them. Great photo.”  

2nd Place: Pana News Palladium, Susan McGrath. Sister Act. “Love the moment captured between sisters.”  

3rd Place: Pana News Palladium, John Broux. A testament to his work - Schneider. “Good crisp photo. Shows the personality of a LEO. Good job.”  

Honorable Mention: The Woodstock Independent, Tricia Carzoli. Plenty Tuff Enough. “Special time captured before the main event. Such an intimate moment. Good job.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Alexa Rogals. Charles Donalson. “An all around great portrait. Love the background color and composition.”  

2nd Place: The Hinsdalean, Jim Slonoff. Katie Schaber. “Excellent color and contrast.”  

3rd Place: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. In her element. “Great job capturing the moment.”  

Honorable Mention: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Alexa Rogals. Gabriel Paul Tetrev. “Creative use of windows make for a great shot.”  

 
Division C

1st Place: Austin Weekly News, Chicago, Alexa Rogals. Lumar's Family. “Your subjects are well placed and the angle of the photo leads the eye straight to them. The emotion conveyed in the photo is excellent. Nice work.”

2nd Place: The MidWeek, DeKalb, Katrina J.E. Milton. Goat on her back.

3rd Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. Wine Glasses.

Honorable Mention: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. Happy Gamer.


Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. Dave Plunk. “This photo definitely tells the story of Mr. Plunk - a life with guitars.”  

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. Sheriff Clague. “Photo offers a different perspective on election night without ballot boxes and poll workers.”  

3rd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. Killers stare. “The name of this photo entry speaks for itself: Killers stare.”  

Honorable Mention: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. Father and son enjoy time together.

 
Division E

1st Place: The Dispatch, Moline, Todd Mizener. Left Behind.

2nd Place: The Dispatch, Moline, Meg McLaughlin. Returning Seniors.

3rd Place: The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Rich Saal. Artist at Work.  

Honorable Mention: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Robin Scholz. What peanut allergy?

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Rick West. Tears for Gun Victims. “A heartbreaking, emotional photo. Encapsulates emotion so well.”  

2nd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Brian Hill. Holocaust Memories. “A beautiful photo that showcases not only the past but the present.”  

3rd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Brian Hill. Vietnam Vet's Facebook Outreach. “Interesting composition with a lot of emotion”  

Honorable Mention: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, John Starks. Flags for Mustangs. “Wonderful display of what this man does for good”  

 

CLASS 26 - SPORTS PHOTO

Division A

1st Place: The Marion Republican, Justin Walker. Wildcats rally to shock Rochelle. “Great timing to get a spectacular catch!”  

2nd Place: The Free Press Advocate, Wilmington, Eric Fisher. Mud volleyball tournament - Kody Hairald.

3rd Place: The Courier-News, Elgin, Brian O'Mahoney. Happy Head Coach.

Honorable Mention: Oakland Independent, Janice Hunt. Celebrating a personal best and state medal.


Division B

1st Place: Republic-Times, Waterloo, John Spytek. Tears of Joy. “One of the best celebration photos I've seen. The emotion and timing of the shot with the rain falling made this the clear winner.”  

2nd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Kyle Herschelman. Hillsboro Girls Snag Six South Central Titles. “Great framing and perfect timing!”  

3rd Place: Kane County Chronicle, St. Charles, Sean King. Oswego East.

Honorable Mention: The Hinsdalean, Jim Slonoff. End zone.

 
Division C

1st Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. Safe at Home.

2nd Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. Eye Jab.

3rd Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. Bike Race.

Honorable Mention: The Downers Grove, Westmont, Woodridge & Lisle Bugle, Mark Gregory. DGN Volleyball.  

 
Division D

1st Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. Over the top. “Nice shot of a great catch! This photo stood out the most in a very competitive class.”  

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. Bubbling backstroke. “Great composition. This photo was a close second.”  

3rd Place: Lake County News-Sun, Gurnee, Brian O'Mahoney. Flipping After Foul.

Honorable Mention: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. That's a Winner!!! “This photo is proof that there is something better than a father-son moment - a daddy-daughter moment. Good photo!”  

 
Division E

1st Place: The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Lewis Marien. The dunk heard 'round the world.

2nd Place: Quincy Herald-Whig, Michael Kipley. Safe at second base.

3rd Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Byron Hetzler. Making the catch.

Honorable Mention: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Byron Hetzler. Right in the kisser.

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Joe Lewnard. Game Winning Shot. “Love the juxtaposition of emotion here - the excitement in the foreground vs. the disappointment in the background. A beautiful photo.”  

2nd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, John Starks. Clearing the Bar. “Wonderful composition and something I've never seen before - a cool, unique shot!”  

3rd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Brian O'Mahoney. Doused. “Love the excitement on the player and the coach in the background's face. Caught at a perfect moment of surprise.”  

Honorable Mention: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Brian O'Mahoney. Dunk. “Love the focus and determination in this shot. I can feel the energy.”

 

CLASS 27 - SPORTS PHOTO - PORTRAIT/PERSONALITY

Division A

1st Place: The Tuscola Journal, Rachel Ray. The Tuscola Journal - Sports Portrait/Personality - The Russo Sisters.

2nd Place: The Courier-News, Elgin, Brian O'Mahoney. Basketball Coach.

3rd Place: The Courier-News, Elgin, Brian O'Mahoney. Volleyball Player.

 
Division B

1st Place: Kane County Chronicle, St. Charles, Sandy Bressner. Austin Macais. “Love the lighting and posing of the subject.”  

2nd Place: Kane County Chronicle, St. Charles, Sandy Bressner. Katie Keller.

3rd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, James Ryan. A Turkey, A Clown And A Parrot Walk Into A Gym …

Honorable Mention: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Kevin Hieronymus. Hall success built around Core Four.

 
Division C

1st Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. Gymnast.

2nd Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. State Champ.

3rd Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Brian O'Mahoney. Disappointing Performance.


Division D

1st Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. Sunshine swimmer

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. Bowler of the year.

3rd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. Swimmer of the year.  

 
Division E

1st Place: Daily Gazette, Sterling, Michael Krabbenhoeft. Taking the Field.

2nd Place: The Dispatch, Moline, Todd Mizener. Hot Shot.

3rd Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Byron Hetzler. D.J. Davis.

Honorable Mention: The Dispatch, Moline, Todd Mizener. Twice as fast.

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Brian O'Mahoney. Technical Foul.

 

CLASS 28 - ONLINE PHOTO SERIES/GALLERY

Division A

1st Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Andrew Rosten. GCMS baseball vs. Blue Ridge (2018).

2nd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Staff. GCMS football at IHSA Class 2A state championship game.

3rd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Staff. GCMS football at Eastland-Pearl City.

Honorable Mention: Mason County Democrat, Havana, Bob Martin. Christmas Eve Day flight.

 
Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. Eastminster Dog Show. “Beautiful composition. The series tells a story.”  

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. Death of the Sandburg Mall. “Black and white was an excellent choice for this series. Tells a sad story of whats happening to retail across America.”  

3rd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. Ice coated landscape. “Great composition. Beautiful.”  

Honorable Mention: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mark Busch. Shooting victims remembered.

 
Division E

1st Place: The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Rich Saal. Lots of Lincolns. “This is just a really cool series. Beautiful composition and what an eye!”  

2nd Place: The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Justin L. Fowler. Conference Track Championship.

3rd Place: Rockford Register Star, Scott Yates. Belvidere North Cheer Champs.

Honorable Mention: The Dispatch, Moline, Todd Mizener. Star Treatment.

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Staff. Through the Film Magnifier. “A beautiful, interesting series that takes you back in history.”  

2nd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Brian O'Mahoney. IHSA Girls State Basketball. “A wonderful series full of emotion! Beautiful, raw photos.”  

 

CLASS 29 - CREATIVE USE OF MULTIMEDIA

Division E

1st Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Staff. Safety on the small farm. “This entry is a 1st-place winner based on the diverse use of multimedia to inform and tell stories.”  

2nd Place: McHenry Chronicle, Crystal Lake, Karie Angell Luc. McHenry County Jewish community mourns. “I like the way the journalist(s) connected this story to their local readership and community.”  

3rd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Carol Vorel. Cold Cases. “All of these winners are unique in their own way. Podcasts are becoming more and more popular - especially the cold case type.”  

Honorable Mention: NewsTribune, La Salle, Brett Herrmann. An active semester.

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, William Lee, Staff. John Wayne Gacy 40 years later. “Extremely engaging story and interface. The breakup of the text with pictures and videos and graphics was captivating.”  

2nd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Tony Briscoe, Ese Olumhense, Terrence Antonio James. Rage, riots, ruin. “Engaging, interactive, and extremely interesting in today's day and age. Love the use of the changing graphic.”  

3rd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Tanveer Ali. Illinois 2018 Election Voting Guide. “Loved the graphic that showed each district as you scrolled past it - extremely useful and creative! Having everything in one place as a voting guide is so helpful in educating the masses.”  

Honorable Mention: Belleville News-Democrat, Cara Anthony. Then I Knew. “Completely heartbreaking, while also inspiring others to enforce change and equality.”  

 

CLASS 30 - SOCIAL MEDIA JOURNALISM

Division B

1st Place: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. Gazette throwbacks. “This is an excellent idea for getting the community involved on social media. It is not only engaging, but something that appears to happen regularly for the community to enjoy and look for each week.”  

2nd Place: The Sidell Reporter, Amanda Rull, Suzanne Woodard, Rinda Maddox. Facebook. “This is great use of social media to create content in the print medium. It also seems to be a great way to have readers engaged.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis, Bill Nice. Instagram Collages.

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Jay Redfern, Tom Loewy, Staff. The Register-Mail on Social Media.

3rd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Jay Redfern. Galesburg Foodies.

Honorable Mention: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Eddie Carifio. Eddie Carifio social media.

 
Division E

1st Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Jeff D'Alessio. UI-at-150 on LinkedIn, Twitter.  

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Jim Rossow. High School Confidential.

3rd Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Matt Dayhoff and Adam Gerik. Podcast recording sessions on Facebook Live.

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Nader Issa. Chaos after Chicago police shoot Harith Augustus — tweets and video.“Tense video captures inflamed passions after police shoot a suspect.”  

2nd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Brian O'Mahoney. @OMahoneyPhoto. “Beautiful sports photography really pops online.”  

3rd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Kelly Vold, Staff. Daily Herald Social Media. “What an impactful presence on Facebook!”  

 

CLASS 31 - VIDEO JOURNALISM

Division B

1st Place: Cook County Chronicle, Chicago, Karie Angell Luc. Lake Shore Drive protests. “Well done video  with good transitions from one scene to the next.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Jay Redfern. Winter Storm Bruce. “Excellent video. This must have been so cool for the residents of Galesburg to watch.”  

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. Rock Steady Boxing. “This is an excellent video. A great way to tell a story that would not be as effective in print. Well done.”  

3rd Place: Breeze-Courier, Taylorville, Owen Lasswell. Pana vs Oakwood. “This must get a lot of views from parents, grandparents. Good quality video. Good move to interview players.”  

Honorable Mention: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Steven Davis. Central Congregational Stained Glass. “The lighting must have been a challenge, but it makes the video. Beautifully done.”  

 
Division E

1st Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Anthony Zilis. Homeless in Champaign. “Incredible story that connects the reader to an issue in their community, gives perspective and then an opportunity to help. Beautifully done. Views like a mini documentary.”  

2nd Place: The Pantagraph, Bloomington, David Proeber. Video: Three people shot to death in Bloomington. “While some of the other winners’ videos were professionally edited, this entry captured, in real time, an event and then pieced it together to tell a story. Incredible spot news footage!”  

3rd Place: The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Justin L. Fowler. Inspiration Award - Blessing Casey. “Blessing is truly a remarkable young woman. What a great story! Beautifully done.”  

Honorable Mention: NewsTribune, La Salle, Brett Herrmann. Holy Family Olympic Games. “Great footage from a community event. Pieced together to make the viewer feel as if they were there!”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Paul Valade, Staff. Walkout Against Guns.  

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Lauren FitzPatrick & Marcus DiPaola. With CPS set to close 4 schools, questions on community support.  

3rd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Mark Welsh. Dragon Boat Races.

Honorable Mention: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Bef Horne. The Morton Arboretum's 'Troll Hunt”.

 

CLASS 32 - DISTINGUISHED COVERAGE OF DIVERSITY

Division B

1st Place: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Michael Romain. America to Me. “Michael Romain did a masterful job of following the 'America to Me' documentary. He does a great job, often from personal experience, of exploring the complex issues of diversity confronted in the series.”  

2nd Place: Peoria County Chronicle, Holly Eitenmiller. Empathy for differences. “This is a great story about a wonderful event. We could all learn from an exercise like that, and the article conveyed the lesson of the readers. I did not see a letter from a senior editor as the rules require.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Tom Loewy. Tom Loewy Diversity Coverage.  

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Eric Olson. 'A racist society’.  

 
Division E

1st Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Staff.

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Julie Wurth.

3rd Place: The Herald-News, Joliet, Lindsay Gloor. Representation in the 'comments section'. “!!!! Love this!”  

Honorable Mention: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Lyndsay Jones.

 
Division F

1st Place: Belleville News-Democrat, Cara Anthony. Then I Knew.

2nd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Lolly Bowean. Lolly Bowean.

 

CLASS 33 - INFORMATIONAL GRAPHIC

Division A

1st Place: Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, Claire Innes. Landmark Famers Market 2018. “Really like the use of graphics versus text in this one.  Captures my attention.”  

2nd Place: Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, Claire Innes. Brookfield Zoo Food 2018. “Your designer really has a talent for making simple, but captivating graphics.”  

3rd Place: DeKalb County Journal, Sycamore, Jennifer Kranz. Pumpkin patch map.  

Honorable Mention: Woodford Chronicle, Eureka, Jennifer Kranz. Gun Sanctuary map.

 
Division B

1st Place: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Claire Innes, Marc Stopek. WJ Property Taxes_2018. “Entries were great in this category but this one rose to the top. It made complex information understandable. The visuals are great and well placed.”  

2nd Place: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Claire Innes, Marc Stopek. Find the Art. “Wonderful graphic and interesting exercise for the community.”  

3rd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Mike Plunkett. Memorial Day Graphic. “Beautiful image. It was a respectful way to give basic information.”  

 
Division C

1st Place: Wednesday Journal Group, Oak Park, Javier Govea. The tale of the taps. “Soothing colors and good use of background elements with subject matter. Layout draws the eye across the graphic.”  

2nd Place: Wednesday Journal Group, Oak Park, Jacquinete Baldwin. Must-Have Appetizers in Oak Park. “Photography is so good it should make the reader want to head out to one of these restaurants!”  

3rd Place: Wednesday Journal Group, Oak Park, Javier Govea. Stella's by the numbers.  

Honorable Mention: Wednesday Journal Group, Oak Park, Javier Govea, Alexa Rogals, Jill Wagner. Libraries.

 
Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Staff. Overdose deaths  

2nd Place: Pekin Daily Times, Danielle Homerin. Homeless children enrolled in school for the 2016-2017 school year.  

3rd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Staff. Food insecurity ratings for local counties.

 
Division E

1st Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Jeff D'Alessio, Mike Goebel. New in school.

2nd Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Michael Anthony Noel. 40 food pantries.

3rd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Jeff D'Alessio, Mike Goebel. Election insider.

Honorable Mention: The Times, Ottawa, Julie Barichello. Forms of Government.

 

CLASS 34 - SINGLE PAGE DESIGN

Division A

1st Place: The Harrisburg Register, Harrisburg, Michael "Spyder" Dann. Defense on the rise.

2nd Place: The Marion Republican, Justin Walker. Champions.

3rd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Dec. 26 edition.

Honorable Mention: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Dec. 5 edition.

 
Division B

1st Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Staff. Scenes from the Z-Tour Bike Ride. “Excellent layout of this page.  Great photos, spacing and fonts usage. Captured the day! Excellent.”  

2nd Place: The Galena Gazette, Jay Dickerson. Chicago machine. “Really like this page.  The heading was an eye catcher ‘Chicago Machine’. Awesome work.”  

3rd Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Staff. Welcome to a bigger, better Beck's. “Awesome page! Selecting the color blue was a great choice for this page. Great layout and great photos.”  

Honorable Mention: Glenview Journal, Tom Wessell. Glenview Journal. “Wonderful job with layout and color. Like the top banner photos along with the veteran on the top half of the page.”  

 
Division C

1st Place: Wednesday Journal Group, Oak Park, Javier Govea. OPRF Historical Museum. “Clean. Easy to read. Informative.”  

2nd Place: Wednesday Journal Group, Oak Park, Jacquinete Baldwin. Back to the Future double-truck. “Nice page, and it was a toss-up with the first-place winner - the difference a few too many design elements and typeface of body type was not as easy to read.”  

3rd Place: The MidWeek, DeKalb, Mike Solley. Popping up all over.

 
Division D

1st Place: Breeze-Courier, Taylorville, Owen Lasswell. Battle at Busch Stadium. “Simply outstanding. Great photography and graphics. It has it all!!”

2nd Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Staff. Hunger Check. “Great use of graphics and photo. There is a lot of information to consume on this page, yet it isn't overwhelming.”  

3rd Place: Breeze-Courier, Taylorville, Marylee Rasar. From devastation rises hope. “This design makes a text-heavy page very readable. Great use of photos layout.”  

Honorable Mention: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mike Solley. Workouts that pack a punch. “Love the large photo on top and headline in the middle. The typography is excellent.”

 
Division E

1st Place: The Times, Ottawa, Julie Barichello. School walkout.

2nd Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Staff. Herald & Review.  

3rd Place: Daily Gazette, Sterling, Rusty Schrader. Fulfilling our wishes.

Honorable Mention: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Niko Dugan. Illinois turns 200.  

 
Division F

1st Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Bryan Barker. A generation buried in student loan debt.

2nd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Amanda Erd. Amanda Erd Page Designs.  

3rd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Neil Holdway. Neil Holdway Page Designs.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Sun-Times, Eric White. 'S#it storm.'

 

CLASS 35 - HEADLINE WRITING

Division A

1st Place: Oakland Independent, Janice Hunt. “Good mixture of clever headlines that also tied well to the stories.”  

2nd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Andrew Rosten. Third is the word; Solid flights; Sweet six-cess.

3rd Place: El Paso Journal, Jennie Kearney.

Honorable Mention: Paxton Ford County Record, Andrew Rosten. Two-rrific!; Ms. 1,000; Soaring on.

 

Division B

1st Place: The Galena Gazette, Jay Dickerson. “The creative and clean use of graphics in addition to the clever headline verbiage set this entry apart.”  

2nd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Kyle Herschelman.

3rd Place: The Hinsdalean, Ken Knutson. Four scores and seven in a row.  

 
Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Rob Buck.

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Nick Bosshart.

3rd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Mike Solley.

Honorable Mention: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Jason Bauman.


Division E

1st Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, George Dobrik. A Trolley Good Time.

2nd Place: Daily Gazette, Sterling, Rusty Schrader. "A peck of pickle players pepper the court"; "Pour your art out"; "Missed opportunities".

3rd Place: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Michael Penkava.

Honorable Mention: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Shawn Anglin.


Division F

1st Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Darel Jevens.  

 
2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Paul Saltzman.

3rd Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Sean Stangland.

Honorable Mention: Belleville News-Democrat, Jason Koch.

 

CLASS 36 - SPORTS SECTION

Division A

1st Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Andrew Rosten.

2nd Place: Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, Marty Farmer. Nazareth ready for all comers.

3rd Place: Mahomet Citizen, Garrett Halm, JJ Lockwood, Isaac Trotter.

Honorable Mention: Effingham & Teutopolis News Report, Steve Raymond.


Division B

1st Place: The Enterprise, Plainfield, Mark Gregory.

2nd Place: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Marty Farmer.

3rd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Staff.

Honorable Mention: Bureau County Republican, Princeton, Kevin Hieronymus.


Division D

1st Place: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Mike Trueblood, Matthew Wheaton, Jackson White. “These sections are tops in every aspect. Lots of local coverage and the action shots are incredible. Very clean layout and nice writing.”  

2nd Place: Effingham Daily News, Staff. “Clean layout. Great action shots. Well done.”  

3rd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Staff. “Comprehensive coverage throughout.”  

Honorable Mention: The Commercial-News, Danville, Chad Dare, Marvin Holman. “Lots of local coverage, as well as state sports.”  

 
Division E

1st Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Staff. “I really like this sports section. It has great photos, solid reporting, a good mix of features, news and columns. It's a clean layout with a great mix of items and clearly stood out as the No. 1 entry in this category.”  

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Matt Daniels and staff. “Really solid prep coverage of a whole bunch of schools. Nice selection of photos.”  

3rd Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Staff. “Good looking sports section with good photos, solid coverage, especially of the prep teams.”  

Honorable Mention: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Staff. “Beautiful photos, nice layout, good stories. A little Bears heavy.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Staff.

2nd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Staff.

3rd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Staff.

 

CLASS 37 - SPECIAL SECTION

Division A

1st Place: The Sidell Reporter, Rinda Maddox, Vicki Delhaye, Suzanne Woodard. Salt Fork High School Graduation Tab. “This is a very impressive graduation tab. Very nice to make it a scrapbook of sorts for students and parents. And, what great exposure for the advertisers. Very nice!”  

2nd Place: Effingham & Teutopolis News Report, Staff. St. Anthony Mag. “Very well done look back over 150 years. Interesting interviews and a comprehensive look back.”  

3rd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Staff. SumFun. “Full of information. Great value for advertisers because on the long shelf life.”  

Honorable Mention: The Woodstock Independent, Staff. Home & Harvest. “Great section. Photos are great and editorial content is strong. There is obvious support from advertisers as well.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, Claire Innes, Marc Stopek, Jacquinete Baldwin, Javier Govea, Lacey Sikora, Jill Wagner. Wednesday Journal Answer Book 2018. “An incredible volume of information, but what sets it apart from similar publications is the sleek design and engaging copy that makes it more than just an answer book, but something you want to pick up to discover more.”  

2nd Place: The Galena Gazette, Staff. Celebrating 25 years.

3rd Place: Pike Press, Pittsfield, Staff. Spring ag magazine.  

Honorable Mention: The Galena Gazette, Brian McLane and Jay Dickerson. Making Pirate History.

 
Division C

1st Place: Austin Weekly News, Chicago, Claire Innes, Michael Romain. Austin Weekly News Community Guide. “Great information on this community. Should be a must-have for newcomers.”  

2nd Place: Wednesday Journal Group, Oak Park, Javier Govea, Edwin H. Walker, Michael Romain. Maywood Community Guide 2018. “Nice layout and focus on important figures, past and present, in the area.”  

3rd Place: Wednesday Journal Group, Oak Park, Claire Innes, Lacey Sikora, Alexa Rogals. Community of Caring 2018.

 
Division D

1st Place: Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, Mattoon, Staff. Farm Focus.  

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Eric Olson, Allison LaPorta. Daily Chronicle's 140 years of news section.

3rd Place: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Staff. Law Day 2018.

Honorable Mention: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Robyn Gautschy. Go out into all the world.


Division E

1st Place: Daily Gazette, Sterling, Staff. Everyday Heroes. “What a great way to recognize the people in your community that go above and beyond their call of duty. I really enjoyed this section.”  

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Matt Daniels, Colin Likas and staff. Prep Football special section. “This was a great idea for a special section and one that I am sure pleased your readers. Great Job !”  

3rd Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Staff. Jim Thome Heads to the Hall of Fame. “I really liked this section and can see the pride this community has in their hometown hero”  

Honorable Mention: Quincy Herald-Whig, Staff. Spring Farm and Field. “This section was well written and had good photos and layout. Good job all around”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Jim Baumann, Staff. The Newspaper Partnership.  

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Staff. Chicago Style special section, March 13, 2018.

 

CLASS 38 - BEST WEBSITE

Division B

1st Place: The Galena Gazette, Staff.

2nd Place: Cook County Chronicle, Chicago, Staff.

3rd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Staff.

Honorable Mention: Kane County Chronicle, St. Charles, Staff. Neighborhood Tourist Website.

 
Division D

1st Place: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Emma Zelewsky, Tanya Meyer.

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Staff.

3rd Place: The Telegraph, Alton, Nathan Woodside.

Honorable Mention: The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Jay Redfern.


Division E

1st Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Staff. “This was a tough category to judge. All good entries. The Herald Review was visually appealing and easy to navigate. Good job pushing readers to the website for more detail in legislative issues. Well done.”  

2nd Place: Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Staff. “Good layout. easy to navigate. Content online ties in well with printed edition. Online live updates partner well with print.”  

3rd Place: The Daily Journal, Kankakee, Staff. “Clean and well organized. News is easy to find, as are special sections and ads - sales and specials.”  

Honorable Mention: Journal Star, Peoria, Staff. “Impressive site. Strong local content mixed with state and national news.”  

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Staff.

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Staff.

3rd Place: Belleville News-Democrat, Staff.

 

CLASS 39 - PUBLIC NOTICE JOURNALISM AWARD

Division A

1st Place: Oakland Independent, Janice Hunt. City publishes annual appropriation ordinance after newspaper points out public notice error. “Even small stories have a big impact when it comes to our role as guardians of the public's trust. Well done.”  

2nd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Policy eyed to ensure competitive bidding.

 

Division E

1st Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Debra Pressey. Hearing to sell nursing home. “This is a clear example of the importance of public notice in our newspapers. Very impressive how the journalist expanded this story.”  

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, Kelsey Rettke, Katie Finlon. Sheriff's shooting range plan. “A great example of how public notice makes a real impact in a community. Community leaders can work with their constituents to create a happy ending for everyone.”  

 

CLASS 40 - EDITORIAL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Division A

1st Place: El Paso Journal, Brian Kearney. Editorial Rookie of the Year. “Brian is the epitome of a newspaper man and a community journalist!”  

2nd Place: Glasford Gazette, Jessica Westerman. Jessica Westerman. “Jessica shows ingenuity and passion for her community in keeping the Gazette alive.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: Republic-Times, Waterloo, James "Tal" Moss. “Mr. Moss' stories are very informative and detailed. Sometimes a little too much detail was given. The best story was ‘Making the most of a second chance.’ E-Cig story was equally appealing. I feel that  Moss' stories are worthy of Rookie of the Year.”  

2nd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Tori O'Dell. “Ms. O'Dell has much potential and writes with a variety of interest. The Litchfield stry was her best. Good photos, good content and overall a wonderful story.”  

 
Division D

1st Place: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Adrianna Pitrelli

2nd Place: Jersey County Journal, Jerseyville, Rachel McGlasson.

3rd Place: Effingham Daily News, Kaitlin Cordes.

 
Division E

1st Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Gabriel Neely-Streit. “Gabe takes seemingly complex issues and crafts informative and interesting pieces. Gabe and his work truly stands out in this crowd of contenders.”  

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Aldo Toledo. “Aldo digs deep to expose and inform. His writing style is enjoyable!”  

3rd Place: The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Crystal Thomas. “Crystal is a wonderful example of what a community journalist is and should be. In terms of research, evident interaction with those she interviews and investigative reporting, Crystal really stands out.”  

 
Honorable Mention: Herald & Review, Decatur, Jaylyn Cook. “Jaylyn's headlines are captivating and his writing is compelling.”  

 

CLASS 41 - Robert M. Cole Award for BEST SCHOOL BOARD COVERAGE

Division A

1st Place: Coal City Courant, Ann Gill. Coal City Unit District 1. “Good, thorough stories. Covered all of the governance process and points clearly presented.”  

2nd Place: Oakland Independent, Janice Hunt. Oakland school board coverage. “Very good content. Interesting topics. Provided various views from interested parties and the community.”  

3rd Place: Mahomet Citizen, Emily Jankauski. Mahomet-Seymour school board coverage. “Well written. To the point and inclusive of all the important facts for the community.”  

Honorable Mention: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Paxton-Buckley-Loda school board. “Good, thorough coverage of school board governance.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: The Galena Gazette, Dan Burke. East Dubuque Schools. “Good depth and clear writing made this entry a winner!”  

2nd Place: The Galena Gazette, Hillary Dickerson. Galena Schools. “The writing was excellent, and the reporting good.

3rd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Mike Plunkett. Hillsboro School Board.  

 
Division D

1st Place: Pioneer Press Media Group, Chicago, Kimberly Fornek. Doings Hinsdale District 86 coverage. “The access, depth, and breadth of coverage, specifically of a referendum proposal but also across a wide variety of topics, is exemplary. Well-written and presented.”  

2nd Place: Breeze-Courier, Taylorville, Owen Lasswell. The Taylorville-Stonington divide. “Complete coverage of a delicate situation. Good enterprise.”  

 
Division E

1st Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Noelle McGee. Area schools.

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Lyndsay Jones. C-U schools.  

 
Division F

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Eric Peterson. How Teacher Strike Was Averted in District 211. “Met all award criteria for contribution to public understanding of local school issue. Well done.”  

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Lauren FitzPatrick. What's a mother to do? “Good reporting of the issue.”  

3rd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Lauren FitzPatrick. CPS' dirty secret.

 

CLASS 42 - Maurice Scott Award for BEST COVERAGE OF TAXATION

Division A

1st Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Taxing issues in Ford County.  

2nd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Larry Lough. Tax ambush; Tax breaks; Levy blow-up; Tax cuts; Public debt.

 
Division B

1st Place: The Galena Gazette, Dan Burke. Galena EMS  

2nd Place: Glenview Journal, Tom Robb. Glenview Park Referendum.

3rd Place: The Galena Gazette, Dan Burke. Ambulance issues.

 
Division E

1st Place: The Daily Journal, Kankakee, David Giuliani. “Clear explanations of several local tax issues, with helpful graphics.”  

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Debra Pressey. Carle Hospital tax case. “Comprehensive coverage of a tax dispute that could cost local governments millions of dollars.”  

3rd Place: Journal Star, Peoria, Phil Luciano. Taxation in Peoria. “Useful stories touching on local tax issues”  

Honorable Mention: Pekin Daily Times, Sharon Woods Harris. Treasurer: Loss of Bergner's won't cripple new Pekin budget.

 
Division F

1st Place: Belleville News-Democrat, Joseph Bustos, Kaley Johnson, Kelsey Landis. Tariff coverage. “Authoritative team coverage explains impacts of Trump's tariffs on a range of local businesses.”  

 

CLASS 43 - Knight Chair Award for BEST INVESTIGATIVE/ENTERPRISE REPORTING

Division A

1st Place: The Woodstock Independent, Susan W. Murray. Opioid Crisis: Grabbing a Tiger by the Tail. “A timely and thorough series of stories into the opioid crisis that provided significant public service.”  

2nd Place: The Woodstock Independent, Tricia Carzoli, Susan W. Murray. Homeless in Woodstock. “An in-depth series showed the prevalence of homelessness and the challenges of dealing with it in smaller community”  

3rd Place: Paxton Ford County Record, Will Brumleve. Militia Mystery. “These stories benefit from the effort by the reporter to go beyond the court records and look at the impact of a homegrown terrorist group on a community.”  

Honorable Mention: The Journal-News, Hillsboro, Mary (Galer) Herschelman. Litchfield School Board. “Where other newsrooms might have followed the official story, this one probed deeper and resulted in an surprising reversal of fortunes.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: The Daily Journal, Kankakee, David Giuliani. Money down drain.  

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Julie Wurth. Officer's behavior went unchecked. “This story took digging and the cultivation of sources that eventually trusted the reporter enough to uncover sexual harassment in the police department of the University of Illinois.”  

3rd Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Staff. “A solid in-depth enterprising story into cost overruns of major dredging project.”  

Honorable Mention: The Daily Journal, Kankakee, David Giuliani. “Good audit of school boards avoiding open meetings.”  

 
Division C

1st Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Manya Brachear Pashman, Jeff Coen. Willow Creek pastor investigation. “The revelations on a pastor's outrageous behavior toward women was the result of original and relentless reporting.”  

2nd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group, Michael Hawthorne. Risky Business: The failure to test for cancer-causing chemicals. “Terrific work on staying on a story that is shocking for how the dangers of cancer-causing chemicals were ignored, causing enormous risk to the public.”  

3rd Place: Chicago Sun-Times, Tim Novak. Daley pension debacle: Where did $54 million go? “Original, investigative work that uncovered financial malfeasance in a web of insider dealings. This shows the value of having a reporter who knows the history of the players and won't give up on the reporting.”  

Honorable Mention: Belleville News-Democrat, George Pawlaczyk, Beth Hundsdorfer. East St. Louis Township raids funds meant for summer youth jobs program. “This expose is the kind of journalism that must not be lost. Without these watchdog reporters, the diversion of funds from a youth program would never have been noticed.”  

 

CLASS 44 - Knight Chair Award for SUSTAINED INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

Division A

1st Place: The Galena Gazette, Staff. Rural EMS crisis. “With limited resources, the Galena Gazette made the effort to deliver public servic stories on the problems with an ambulance company.”  

 
Division B

1st Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Molly Parker. Continuing chaos in Cairo. “An impressive years-long investigation into widespread mismanagement at Alexander County Housing Authority by HUD that resulted in unsafe and unsanitary conditions for the residents. The series has revealed flaws in the HUD inspection itself and showed that every housing authority should have a watchdog in the press.”

2nd Place: The News-Gazette, Champaign, Julie Wurth. Sexual harassment at the University of Illinois. “Enterprising work that went beyond beat coverage to disclose the questionable handling of sexual harassment complaints at the University of Illinois.”  

3rd Place: Herald & Review, Decatur, Staff. “Solid work on high rate of evictions in Decatur and other housing problems.”  

Honorable Mention: The Daily Journal, Kankakee, David Giuliani. “Good watchdog work on a police chief using police criminal database to investigate mayor's critics. Chief resigned.”  

 
Division C

1st Place: Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights, Marni Pyke. Irregularities at the Illinois Tollway. “A classic series of relentless watchdog work that exposed insider dealings and misuse of public funds and a betrayal of public trust by the Illinois tollway board. The series of more than two dozen stories is a  superb demonstration of why sustained investigative reporting is needed.”

 

 

Illinois Press Association’s 2018 Sweepstakes Winners

David B. Kramer Memorial Trophy

Paxton Ford County Record

2nd Place: The Woodstock Independent

3rd Place: Riverside-Brookfield Landmark

4th Place: Oakland Independent

The David R. Kramer Memorial Trophy was established in 2014 by the Kramer family in memory of the late publisher of the Gibson City Courier and the other Kramer weekly newspapers. It is awarded to a Division A weekly newspaper.

 

Harold and Eva White Memorial Trophy

The Galena Gazette

2nd Place: Bureau County Republican, Princeton

3rd Place: The Journal-News, Hillsboro

4th Place: The Hinsdalean, Hinsdale

The Harold and Eva White Trophy is awarded to a Division B weekly newspaper. It was established in 1990 and contributed by SUN Publications, a division of Copley Newspapers, in honor of Harold and Eva White, former publisher of SUN Publications in Naperville.

 

Will Loomis Memorial Trophy

Pioneer Press Media Group

2nd Place: Austin Weekly News, Chicago

3rd Place: Wednesday Journal Group, Oak Park & River Forest

4th Place: The MidWeek, DeKalb

The Will Loomis Memorial Trophy is awarded to a Division C weekly newspaper. The Cook County Suburban Publishers Association established it in 1949 in memory of William W. Loomis, former publisher of the LaGrange Citizen.

 

Patrick Coburn Award of Excellence

The Register-Mail, Galesburg

2nd Place: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb

3rd Place: The Telegraph, Alton

4th Place: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

The Patrick Coburn Award of Excellence is awarded to a Division D daily newspaper. It was established in 2011 and contributed by Patrick Coburn, former publisher of the State Journal-Register and vice president of Copley Press, Inc.

 

Mabel S. Shaw Memorial Trophy

The News-Gazette, Champaign

2nd Place: Journal Star, Peoria

3rd Place: The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale

4th Place: Herald & Review, Decatur

The Mabel S. Shaw Memorial Trophy is awarded to a Division E daily newspaper. It was established in 1994 and contributed by the Shaw family in memory of the late publisher of The Telegraph in Dixon.

 

Stuart R. Paddock Memorial Trophy

Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights

2nd Place: Chicago Sun-Times

3rd Place: Chicago Tribune Media Group

4th Place: Belleville News-Democrat

The Stuart R. Paddock Memorial Trophy is awarded to a Division F daily newspaper. It was established in 1978 and contributed by the Paddock family in memory of the late publisher of the Chicago newspaper company.

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