The Daily Astorian earned 19 awards in the annual Better Newspaper Contest organized by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association for work published in 2009.
The newspaper placed second in the general excellence category and earned three online awards, including second place for best overall website.
Photographer Alex Pajunas earned four awards, including two first-place trophies. His coverage of the plane crash involving Edith Henningsgaard Miller won first place for spot news and his photo of pelicans surrounding a canoe earned first for feature photos. His shot of cross country runner Leah Vargas spattered with mud placed second in the sports photo category and his photopage from a U.S. Coast Guard flight to a remote lighthouse placed third.
Reporter Deeda Schroeder also earned four awards. Her story about the Coast Guard’s work on the remote Tatoosh Island lighthouse earned second place for feature writing. She placed second in the education writing category for a two-part series on alternative school students and third in the lifestyles category for her coverage of the Fisher Poets Gathering.
She teamed with Cassandra Profita to earn first place for enterprise reporting for coverage of the housing authority’s Section 8 voucher scandal.
Profita placed third for business reporting with a feature on Christmas crab.
The entire newroom staff contributed to a two-part series on the economy that won first place for business reporting. The newspaper’s five-part series on the North Coast Hispanic community placed second for enterprise reporting.
Reporter Sandra Swain earned two awards. She teamed with Joe Gamm to place second in spot news reporting for coverage of Miller’s plane crash. She teamed with Deputy Managing Editor Sue Cody to place third for lifestyle reporting for a feature on the Astoria High School Class of 1959 reunion.
Managing Editor Patrick Webb placed second for column writing with a portfolio of three columns.
Max Charlton placed third for graphics for a design demonstrating the North Coast’s regional highway hazards.
The Lives They Lived, the newspaper’s annual tribute edition featuring people who died during the prior year, placed third for special sections. It was coordinated by Coast Weekend Editor Kathleen Strecker and designed by Prepress Manager John Bruijn.
In addition to placing second for best website (www.dailyastorian.com), the newspaper earned two other online awards. Jason Nagy’s video of Seaside’s giant pumpkin weigh-off placed second for best multimedia element and his coverage of the Sixth Street house fire placed third for online coverage of breaking news.