The Daily Astorian earns 15 regional awards for journalism

The Daily Astorian won 15 awards in the annual Society of Professional Journalists’ regional competition, including two first-place trophies.

The awards were for stories, photos, headlines and designs published during 2008. They included the first regional award for the newspaper’s online multimedia efforts. The paper placed second in the news adaptation category for staff coverage published on of last summer’s Gearhart plane crash. Videographer Jason Nagy, photographer Alex Pajunas, former staff reporter Pam Robel, intern reporter David Holley and intern designer Lauren Dillard contributed to the coverage.

Holley earned a first-place trophy for coverage of minority issues for his feature on ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia’s support of the Hispanic community, including Pedro Ponce’s taco stand in Astoria. He also placed third in science reporting for a story about ocean acidification which was published as part of the East Oregonian Publishing Company’s second climate change series.

Reporter Cassandra Profita’s story on forest carbon storage in the series placed second in the science category. She also earned a third-place award in the lifestyles reporting category for a feature about the “Ax Men” reality TV show.

The other first-place trophy was won by Managing Editor Patrick Webb for a portfolio of headlines. Copy editor Max Charlton placed second in the same category.

Pajunas earned three awards: second place in the sports photo category for a photo from the Astoria baseball’s state championship loss; third place in the photopage category for coverage of the AHS’s state championship football victory; and third place for a varied portfolio of 10 photos taken throughout the year.

Reporter Sandra Swain placed second in two categories, health reporting for her coverage of the intense competition among hospitals and clinics on the North Coast, and for consumer reporting for a story about radon gas testing.

Reporter Joe Gamm placed second in the watchdog category for a story about Astoria Mayor Willis Van Dusen’s unofficial coffee klatsch group.

Former staff reporter Kara Hansen earned a second-place award for education reporting for her coverage of the Class of 2008. The Daily Astorian followed the class from its grade-school years at John Jacob Astor Elementary through middle and high school. Hansen wrapped up the project with two articles at graduation.

Kathleen Strecker, editor of Coast Weekend, placed second in the feature page design category, for a portfolio of layouts.

In the print categories, the Daily Astorian competes with daily newspapers which have a circulation of 25,000 or below in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. In the online category, the newspaper was judged against all dailies. Judges for the contest were from Hawaii, North Carolina, California and Pennsylvania. The awards were presented at a banquet of the Greater Oregon chapter of SPJ in Portland.

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