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News / Clark County News

Columbian staffers win 10 awards in multistate contest, including nine first-place honors

Awards recognize excellence in reporting, editorial writing, columns and page design

By Amy Libby, Columbian Web Editor
Published: June 11, 2024, 6:03am

“We don’t do it for the awards.”

It’s a thing journalists say to each other every year as we scan lists of honors for our names and the names of our co-workers and friends in the industry. But we celebrate these awards because they remind us of the impact our work has on our communities.

The Columbian took home nine first-place awards and one second-place for the newsroom’s work in 2023, in a multistate competition organized by the Society of Professional Journalists.

In addition, reporter Alexis Weisend, who joined The Columbian in the middle of the year won a first-place award for investigative reporting for “Fast and Furious” and “City of Eugene ignores state law on camping,” which appeared in Eugene Weekly.

The awards were announced last week as part of the 2023 Society of Professional Journalists NW Excellence in Journalism Contest. The contest focused on work produced in 2023 at similarly sized newsrooms across SPJ Region 10, which includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

The entire staff of The Columbian is proud of our colleagues’ work, and we know the entire newsroom contributed to their and The Columbian’s success.

“The work is its own reward.”

Journalists are rarely driven by accolades, which can be few and far between. But we also know these awards are a reflection of the community where we work and live. We couldn’t do our jobs without the readers and community members who we work with every day.

And ultimately, that’s why we become journalists.

Thank you for letting us tell your stories.

First-place awards

Crime & Law Enforcement Reporting: Jessica Prokop, Becca Robbins, “Deaths fuel oversight questions; Records detail actions in disappearance, deaths of woman, girl; Aggravated murder charge planned by prosecutors for man accused in deaths of Melendez, daughter

Editorial & Commentary: Colleen Keller, “Labor Day has worked its way to honored status; Website good tool, but child care still needs help; Respite beds for homeless compassionate, vital

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Feature-Soft News: Monika Spykerman, “Freedom in fins

Health Reporting: Mia Ryder-Marks, “For people experiencing homelessness, health care can be out of reach; Bringing care to the streets

Sports Column: Tim Martinez, “Another banner year at WSD; Cvitkovich has a lot to play for at Fort; Coming home to give back

Sports Feature: Meg Wochnick, “Ukrainian teens find solace in soccer

Sports Reporting: Meg Wochnick, “Evergreen to cut athletic directors; Athletic directors react to layoffs

Column: Greg Jayne, “Republicans need to redirect; Rectifying sins of past right path; ilani a rising tide that lifts all boats

Print Page Design: Romana Wood, “Wanted for crimes against biodiversity; Fighting fire with firewise; The long, winding road to I-205 Bridge”

Second-place award

Business & Economics Reporting: Sarah Wolf, Becca Robbins, “Stores suppress shoplifters.”

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