Chieftain honored with five statewide journalism awards

Sports scribe Hector del Castillo scores two first-place wins

Hector del Castillo more than earned his press credentials during his first year as the Wallowa County Chieftain’s sports writer, winning two first-place journalism awards for 2007 from the Oregon Newspaper Publisher’s Association.

His “2007 Spring Sports Congratulations” earned the top award for Best Silk Purse Story and was praised as a “refreshing, well-conceived and well-executed take on prep stories.”

The Chieftain also won the Best Sports Page category for pages from three different months, each written and designed by del Castillo. “This was a fun read,” the judge said. “Hector obviously enjoys his job and it shows in his

The awards were among several presented to the Chieftain at ONPA’s annual conference at Gleneden Beach, held Friday, July 18.

Chieftain editor Michael Burkett, who was on the job for only five weeks in 2007, also earned two honors for the year: second place for Best Headline Writing and third place for Best Editorial.

Burkett’s six winning headlines were: “Man gets chair of honor at his own wake”; “Be strong, stolen pink flamingo, we’re coming for you”; “Former beach boy gets icy reception in Wallowa County”; “No, Virginia, there ain’t no Sanity Clause”; “Happy Garden wants to uplift locals’ moods and appetites”; and “Merry Christmas … and happy chicken tossing.” The judge’s written comments: “‘Man gets chair’ made us want to read the article! ‘Sanity Clause’ – loved that one.”

Burkett’s award-winning editorial was headlined “Together, we can create miracles,” in which he wrote about the power of community newspapers to effect positive change.

The Chieftain’s 2007 visitors guide received third place in the Best Special Section or Issue category. Staff members del Castillo and Elane Dickenson, and former staff member Corey Wicks, were listed in the credit. The special issue earned three out of three “excellent” ratings for editorial material, skill in handling tie-in advertising and makeup/typography.

The Chieftain competed against other weekly Oregon newspapers with a circulation of 3,500 or less.

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