The Hermiston Herald took home five awards at the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s annual competition, held Thursday and Friday at the Salishan Resort in Glenden Beach.
Its sister paper, the East Oregonian received 10 awards, including the top prize, known as the General Excellence award.
The awards are for work done during the 2018 calendar year. The contest was judged by newspapers from the Kentucky Press Association and the Herald competed against other weekly Oregon newspapers while the EO competed against daily Oregon newspapers with circulations less than 10,000.
The Hermiston Herald took home third place in the General Excellence category.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the staffs in both Pendleton and Hermiston — not only in the newsrooms, but throughout both buildings — and the dedication they show every day to put out the absolute best product they can,” Hermiston Herald and East Oregonian publisher Chris Rush said. “The awards are the icing on the cake.”
For the Herald, news editor Jade McDowell won first place for best government coverage with ”Food for thought,” a story about the Hermiston city’s council’s efforts to revamp its rules for food trucks.
Community Editor Tammy Malgesini took second place in best lifestyle coverage for ”Families wrap up holiday traditions,” about area families’ Christmas traditions.
Former reporter Jayati Ramakrishnan took home second place for best feature story for ”The 16.8 percent,” a story about women in the armed forces, and third place for best educational coverage for ”Experiencing the English language,” a story about English language learners.
On the East Oregonian side, McDowell took third place for best lifestyle story for ”Age of the Millennials.”
Ramakrishnan and reporter Kathy Aney took the top two spots in the personality feature category. Aney took first place for her story “Rural journal revived.” Ramakrishnan took second place for the story “Shining a light on sexual abuse.”
Reporter Antonio Sierra was a multiple winner, earning a first-place finish for best education coverage for his story “Homeless in high school.” Sierra teamed with Ramakrishnan in the same category for the story “United in protest.”
Former photographer E.J. Harris was also a multiple winner, taking the top spots in the best feature photo category. Harris’ photo “Ferris Wheel Sunset” took top honors, while his photo “Speed and Impact” took second place. Harris also took a third place in the best sports photo category for his photo “Purple Reign.”
Sports writer Annie Fowler earned a third-place award in the best sports story category for the story “Glory Days.”
The General Excellence award, which the EO has won eight of the past nine years, is judged based on the overall product, from news and editorial content to photos and design to advertising and reproduction. The samples are taken from three random editions throughout the year.
“It’s a tremendous honor for any journalist to win and be recognized for their hard work and diligence throughout the year,” Rush said. “Another General Excellence award is added confirmation that we are striving to serve our readers as best we can with relevant news, features and information.”