Sedalia Democrat journalists won 19 awards, including three gold honors, in the Kansas City Press Club’s 2011 “Heart of America” competition.
Photographer Sydney Brink took top honors in breaking news and feature photography. The breaking news image featured a woman whose house had caught fire being reunited with her dog. The category judge said, “Excellent. Firefighting photos are always dramatic, but I think it’s moments like this that show the humanity/emotional story.”
The feature photography winner was of a grandfather carrying his grandson by the back of his overalls during the Mo-Kan Dairy Goat Show at the Missouri State Fairgrounds. That judge said: “This photo goes beyond action or reaction to capture a moment of interaction — with humor.”
Managing Editor Dennis Rich won gold for feature writing for his look back at the Coffee Pot Café after the building that housed the Sedalia landmark collapsed. The judge saw it as “a fun look into the past.”
The contest results were revealed Saturday night during a dinner event in the Muehlebach Lobby of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown hotel. Mike McGraw, an investigative reporter for the Kansas City Star, was the guest speaker and winner of the Joe McGuff Lifetime Achievement Award.
Democrat reporter Matt Steingraber won three silver awards, for beat reporting (coverage of the Sedalia city administrator issue), business reporting and breaking news coverage of the helicopter crash in La Monte. Editor Bob Satnan also won three silver awards, for news and non-news column writing and in entertainment writing for his story about TNA Wrestling star A.J. Styles.
Rich was awarded silver in profile writing for his piece on Lauretta Emerson, and newsroom assistant Latisha Koetting won silver in magazine stories for her package on the 12 Pettis County men honored on the Vietnam War memorial on the courthouse lawn. Sports editor Kyle Smith took silver in sports reporting for his piece on the Warsaw girls softball team.
Rich (beat reporting), sports reporter Seth Stringer (sports writing) and former reporter Tonya Fennell (features) won bronze honors; the Democrat staff also won bronze in public service for its series of profiles and follow-up editorials on local United Way agencies.
Fennell (deadline reporting), entertainment writer John Hansen (entertainment) and former photographer Hal Smith (sports photography) earned honorable mentions.
Democrat Publisher Dave Phillips said, “Our journalists do an exceptional job of finding and sharing the stories about the people of Sedalia and it’s encouraging to see those efforts recognized by their peers.
“The sheer number of awards earned this year underscores the level of professionalism of our news team.”
Satnan was pleased his staff was recognized for its all-around strength.
“Receiving a dozen first and second place awards covering almost every content area, along with seven other honors, is an endorsement of our team’s abilities and commitment to our readers,” he said.