The awards were announced Wednesday. The award placement and General Excellence winners will be revealed in June at a banquet in Lansing.
The entire Tribune staff celebrated the announcement Wednesday, and looks forward to the awards banquet with high hopes for yet another General Excellence award.
“Many things are changing in our industry, but quality content will always be the backbone of what drives any news organization,” Tribune Publisher Kevin Hook said. “These awards recognize the hard work and dedication put forth each and every day by employees striving to provide readers with a quality news product.”
Hook said it is the efforts that produce these kind of accomplishments that continue to keep small community newspapers relevant.
“I hope that our readers are as proud of their small community newspaper as I am,” he said.
The Tribune swept the Best Informational Graphic/Illustration category, with designer Jordan Haenlein winning for the “That’s the Ticket!” graphic on local lottery winners and for his financial graphic “Stocks Surge”; and reporter Krystle Wagner, Haenlein and designer Sandy George teamed up to win for the “Sky’s the Limit” graphic on graduating seniors’ plans after high school.
The Tribune also swept the Breaking News category, with reporter Becky Vargo winning with her “Russian Roulette: Teen Clinging to Life” and “Young Mom Abducted” stories, and Wagner winning for her “Teen Dies in Crash” story.
Vargo also won an award for Best News Photo for the “Asleep on the Bus” image of a child reunited with her mother after she failed to get off the bus at her stop, and the Best News Writer award.
Sports Editor Matt DeYoung won for Best Sports with an award for “Breathtaking Victory,” a story about the Spring Lake girls’ first-ever regional volleyball win.
The Tribune’s director of content and audience development, Cheryl Welch, won a Best Editorial award for her opinion piece titled “Stand Up Against Racism,” related to the federal racism investigation at Grand Haven High School.
Reporter Alex Doty won in the Best Public Service category with “Wages 101,” a series of stories looking at public wages and challenges facing our local governments.
Grandhaventribune.com also won Best Website, a win for the entire news team, which works around the clock to provide timely news, weather and breaking updates for online readers.
The Tribune competes for these awards against more than a dozen newspapers in the highly competitive Division 1, which includes papers with daily circulations up to 15,000. This means that the Tribune is pitted against newspapers such as those in Jackson and Battle Creek that are 50 percent larger than the Tribune.
“The fact that we dominated this most recent competition means that our news team is truly meeting and exceeding journalistic standards, and delivering a top-notch product to our Tri-Cities community,” Welch said. “Consistency is also key. The Tribune has won huge awards — including Newspaper of the Year and General Excellence — in every contest in the past two years.”
The Michigan Associated Press Media Editors’ annual contest is one of two in the state that the Tribune enters each year. In both contests, submissions are judged by out-of-state journalists.