The Sedalia Democrat received a total of 15 awards from the Kansas City Press Club on Saturday for work published in 2013.
The Democrat competed against daily newspapers with circulation of 30,000 or less in the contest, which includes media outlets from eastern Kansas and western Missouri.
Democrat Editor Dennis Rich expressed his gratitude for the recognition by their peers and pride in the work of former and current staff members.
“We continue to see rapid change within the newspaper industry, but I think these results go to show that the staff of the Democrat remain firmly committed to delivering high quality and creative coverage of the people, places and events that shape our daily lives here in Sedalia and our surrounding communities,” Rich said. “I have been blessed over the years to work with some amazing, talented people here at the Democrat and I am incredibly proud of their accomplishments.”
That sentiment was echoed by Jim Lawitz, director of content for Civitas Media, the newspaper’s parent company.
“We’re proud of Dennis and his team’s accomplishments,” Lawitz said. “Journalism is organic and the Democrat has proved time and again that their local reporting is among the best in the business.”
Staff members brought home eight gold, five silver and two bronze awards during the club’s awards luncheon held Saturday in Kansas City.
By category, awards went to:
• Rich and reporter Nicole Cooke brought home a gold award for their coverage of the Thanksgiving night pipeline explosion in Hughesville. Judges wrote: “The reporters did a nice job covering the aftermath of a natural gas pipeline explosion, as authorities began their investigation into the blast. The article provided good detail and comments from those who witnessed the explosion.”
• Rich and former reporter Emily Jarrett took silver in the breaking news category with their coverage of early morning raids staged by officials from the Sedalia Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms in November, which netted 37 suspects in West-Central Missouri.
• Jarrett and Rich also took top honors with a gold award for their “Meth at the Crossroads” series.
• Rich received a gold award for his feature on City Administrator Gary Edwards’ documentary detailing the relationship between Sedalia and President Harry Truman, including his historic “Brotherhood of Man” speech, delivered on the steps of the Pettis County Courthouse on June 15, 1940. Judges called the piece a “well-researched presentation of local history events revealing President Truman’s pro-civil rights position early in his political career. Interesting and relevant to current affairs.”
• Jarrett earned a silver award for her story on the use of a therapy dog in classrooms at La Monte Elementary.
• The Democrat swept the feature story category with a bronze award for reporter Faith Bemiss and her story on Johnnie R. “Grizzly” Adams’ plans to make a solo trip on the Grand River using only pre-1830s equipment and a birch bark-like canoe.
Breaking News - Photos
• Former photographer Sydney Brink received a gold award for his photos from the November ATF raid, which judges called a “standout entry.”
Features - Photos
• Brink also took top honors with a photo capturing a day at the annual Cole Camp zucchini races. Judges said of the photo: “Crystal-clear focus on the faces brings out the intensity of the moment.”
Sports - Photos
• Brink also claimed a gold award for his sports photo of baseball player Cody Kozak.
• Rich received a silver award for his editorial critical of Ward 4 City Councilman Larry Stevenson’s behavior during Sedalia City Council meetings.
• Former Editor Bob Satnan earned a gold award for news columns focused on Stevenson, Medicaid expansion and the city’s public smoking ban. Judges called Satnan’s work a “(d)eft contextualization of how local and national issues affect the community.”
• Satnan also received silver for a collection of non-news columns.
• Satnan earned top honors in entertainment writing for a feature on The Sterlings, a family of musicians who performed at the Missouri State Fair.
• Jarrett earned a second place nod for her series on Citizens Against Spouse Abuse. Judges said the story offered “multiple perspectives and story angles (to) offer a convincing account of how and why citizens need abuse services.”
• Satnan received a bronze award for his story on the profound influence Betty Hopkins had on Nick Musyoka, a Kenya native she befriended in 2004 and saw graduate with a Ph.D. in 2012.