Journalists take note of Columbian




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Find more details on the Northwest Excellence in Journalism Contest at

The Columbian won 28 awards, including nine first-place awards, for its work during 2011 in a five-state competition organized by the Society of Professional Journalists.

The awards, announced Saturday in the SPJ Northwest Excellence in Journalism Contest, recognized 21 employees. The staff as a whole won first place among all Pacific Northwest online news sites for spot news reporting with its coverage of a standoff in Washougal that ended in a murder-suicide and fire.

The newspaper won first place awards in the category of mid-sized daily newspapers with circulation of 25,001 to 65,000 for spot news reporting, government and political reporting, short feature stories, sports columns, editorial and commentary, page design, news photography and photo page.

The annual contest received more than 2,100 entries from more than 250 news outlets in SPJ's Region 10, which is Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Categories included daily newspapers (small, mid-sized and large), nondaily newspapers, alternate newsweeklies, magazines, TV, radio and online.

Here is a complete list of 2011 Society of Professional Journalism awards won by Columbian staffers:


Spot News Reporting

• First place: Staff, The Columbian Online, “Washougal standoff”


(Circulation 25,001–65,000)

Investigative Reporting

• Second place: Cami Joner & Gordon Oliver, “Bank of Clark County”

Spot News Reporting

• First place: Kathie Durbin & Eric Florip, “A flood of water, emotions”

Crime & Justice Reporting

• Second place: Laura McVicker, “Child sex trafficking on rise”

Government & Political Reporting

• First place: Andrea Damewood, “Where are the women in Clark County politics?”

Environment & Science Reporting

• Third place: Kathie Durbin & Eric Florip, “A flood of water, emotions”

Health Reporting

• Second place: Paris Achen, “Medicaid muddles search for a physician”

• Third place: Marissa Harshman, “When trust is betrayed”

Business Reporting

• Third place: Andrea Damewood, “Red tape snares food carts”

Social Issues Reporting

• Second place: Paris Achen, “Second parenthood a grand challenge”

Lifestyles Reporting

• Third place: Mary Ann Albright, “Running shoeless”

Short Feature Story

• First place: Marissa Harshman, “Saving precious time”

Sports Reporting

• Second place: Paul Valencia, “Breaking point for McKenzie?”

• Third place: Greg Jayne, “From Class A to majors?”

Sports Feature Story

• Second place: Matt Calkins, “From prejudice to pride”

Sports Column

• First place: Matt Calkins

• Second place: Greg Jayne

Editorial & Commentary

• First place: John Laird

• Third place: Lou Brancaccio

Page Design

• First place: Jennifer Krieger

• Second place: Dave Magnuson


• Second place: Robert Oster

• Third place: Bob Sisson

News Photography

• First place: Zachary Kaufman, “House fire”

Feature Photography

• Third place: Zachary Kaufman, “Carnival worker”

Portrait Photography

• Second place: Troy Wayrynen, “Child sex trafficking on rise”

Photo Page – Story or Essay

• First place: Zachary Kaufman, “Rainbow family gathering”

Photo Portfolio

• Third place: Troy Wayrynen

In addition

• Columbian reporter Paris Achen won a first-place award for education reporting at small-sized dailies for a story she wrote for the Medford (Ore.) Mail Tribune.

• Columbian reporter Jacques Von Lunen won a third-place award for education reporting at mid-sized dailies for a story he wrote while working at the Tri-City Herald.