Register-Guard staff wins 25 state newspaper awards

By Mark Baker | Local News | |

Winning entries included a section on WWII veterans, photography, graphics and writing

The Register-Guard received 25 awards — including 11 for first place — on Friday for work done in 2011 at the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association annual convention in Welches.

After receiving the ONPA’s overall General Excellence Award in 2009 and 2010, The Register-Guard finished second in that category on Friday in the organization’s Best Newspaper Contest. The Oregonian received the first-place award in General Excellence in 2011 for newspapers in the state with a daily circulation of 25,000 copies or greater.

Special section on veterans

The four-day series “Called to Duty,” which profiled 130 local World War II veterans on the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, won two first-place awards. Graphics Director Rob Romig, Assistant Graphics Director Paul Carter and columnist Bob Welch won for Best Special Section or Issue, and Romig, Carter, Welch, Deputy Managing Editor Carl Davaz, photographer Chris Pietsch and Web Content Editors John Heasly and Micky Hulse won for Best Multimedia Element for the series’ online presence that included audio slideshows and a video by Pietsch on how the project was done.

Romig, Assistant Graphics Director Tom Penix and former page designer Craig Runyon won first for Best Page One Design for front pages that included the UO’s heartbreaking loss to Auburn in the BCS National Championship in January 2011; the U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden; and the 10-year anniversary of Sept. 11.

Sports reporter Steve Mims won first place for Best Sports Story for “Emotions hit roof in Connor’s house,” about the South Eugene High School community honoring basketball player Connor Ausland and his classmate, Jack Harnsongkram, after the two seniors drowned on the Oregon Coast.

Writing and photography

Welch won first place in Best Writing for three of his columns, including “Bound in life and death,” about how Ausland’s father, Greg Ausland, was not only coping with the death of his son, but also his wife, Kathy Austin, from ovarian cancer just five months later.

Reporter Susan Palmer won first place for Best Educational Coverage for two stories, “Lessons in Survival,” about homeless high school students in Lane County, and “Elmira Success Story,” about Elmira High School’s rise from “satisfactory” to “outstanding” on its state report card.

Associate Editor Paul Neville won first place for Best Editorial for “Mac: The final slideshow,” about the end of days for McArthur Court, the University of Oregon’s longtime home for Duck basketball.

Sports copy editor Ron Richmond took first place in Best Headline Writing for headlines that included “Flock and awe” and “No appetite for Cal zone.”

R-G photographers swept the Best Sports Photo category with Brian Davies taking first for his shot of a Molalla High School hurdler crashing to the track at Hayward Field during the OSAA championships; Pietsch taking second for a photo of UO defenders swarming and stripping the ball from Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck; and Kevin Clark taking third for his shot of hurdler Joshua Anderson lunging across the tape at the 2011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Romig, Pietsch, reporter Mark Baker, Davaz, Hulse and Heasly took first place for Best Web Project for “Road2Natty,” in which Romig, Pietsch and Baker drove from Eugene to Glendale for the BCS title game, documenting the trek online with stories, photos, videos and social networking posts.

Davaz, Hulse and Heasly took first for Best Web Design and second for Best Overall Website.

“Road to Glendale”

Penix took second in Best Graphics for “The road to Glendale,” his game-board-like map of how the Ducks found their way into the national title game for the first time ever. Romig placed third in that category for “If disaster should strike,” illustrating the water that might engulf Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend if dams on the Willamette River burst.

Former Sports Editor Ron Bellamy, who retired last year, and the sports staff took second place in the Best Special Section category for “Flock and Awe,” the pre-BCS title game section.

Reporter Winston Ross took second in Best Spot News Coverage for “Harbors hit; residents flee coastal areas,” about Brookings residents coping with after effects from the Japanese tsunami of March 2011.

Carter, Pietsch and Clark took third for Best Photo Essay for “Tribute to a fallen officer,” their photographs of the memorial service for slain Eugene police officer Chris Kilcullen.

Double winner

Reporter Diane Dietz’s story, “Work on the edge,” about local part-time workers who can’t find full-time work during harsh economic times, took third places in two categories, Best Coverage of Business and Economic Issues and Best Lifestyle Coverage.

Editorial Page Editor Jackman Wilson took third place for Best Editorial Page.

Baker took third place in Best Feature Story: Personality, for “Robbed of Memory,” about former South Eugene High School student Ben Cooper’s struggles with short-term memory after a stroke, and photo intern Ivar Vong took third in Best News Photo for a shot of a wildfire burning with Mount Washington in the background.