Prison coverage among 22 awards for Delaware State News

In the 2017 Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association annual editorial contest, the Delaware State News won first place in the Breaking News category for its coverage of the prison uprising and death of a correctional officer.

DOVER — The Delaware State News has received a first place for breaking news, and two related awards, from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for its coverage of the February 2017 prison uprising and death of a correctional officer.

On Friday, the press association honored newspapers for excellence in journalism at an annual banquet. The theme was “News with Integrity.” The Delaware State News had 11 first-place honors.

“We are very proud our newspapers did so well,” said Delaware State News Publisher Darel La Prade. “The State News took home 22 awards. That is outstanding. What makes it especially gratifying is the breadth of the winning awards. Our journalists, designers and sales people were recognized for everything from covering breaking news to columns to features to ad design to photography.

“Our winning entries represent the sort of all around excellence we strive to achieve every day,” he said. “And it is especially rewarding that the recognition comes from our peers, other journalists, who have a tendency to be especially harsh judges.

“The cherry on top, of course, is that our newspapers won these awards in service to our readers and advertisers, and knowing that is the ultimate prize.”

Under a bold headline that read, “Prison officer killed,” the front page of the winning Feb. 3, 2017, edition carried Marc Clery’s powerful photo of grieving correctional officers following news of Steven Floyd’s death at the hands of inmates.

Inside the edition, the Delaware State News had another nine full pages of coverage of the prison siege, including an account of how law enforcement officials used a backhoe to break down a barricade to end the standoff and rescue a prison counselor.

“After a torturous ordeal that went through the night, we learned of Sgt. Floyd’s demise,” Delaware Gov. John Carney told the media that day. “My prayers all day yesterday were that this event would end with a different result. But it didn’t. So today we mourn with the family of Sgt. Floyd.”

That edition also reviewed the longstanding concerns the correctional officers had about prison staffing and safety, and a report on a tense roadside protest in Smyrna.

Reporters Ian Gronau, Craig Anderson and Matt Bittle, photographer Marc Clery and freelance photographer Doug Curran, and this editor all had credit lines. Behind the scenes, copy editors Allan Ryder and Craig Horleman and managing editor Ashley Dawson all contributed to the intense day of coverage.

The Delaware State News staff also won a second-place award for front page design for this edition.

Indeed, it was a team effort, the type of work that makes an editor proud of a staff.
Mr. Gronau earned a second-place award in the continuing coverage category for a multitude of stories that followed the prison uprising. Over the course of the year, there were 50 front-page stories related to the prison incident and security concerns.

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In addition to the breaking news award, the Delaware State News had three other editorial first-place awards in Division C of the MDDC Press contest. The newspaper competes with other small dailies.

Ms. Dawson and Mr. Horleman were honored in the arts and entertainment category for “Curtain falls on the Schwartz,” a report on the closing of the historic downtown Dover theater in June 2017.

Sports editor Andy Walter won a first place for sports column with “Knapp’s story is Wesley’s story, too.” The column shared the story of Ben Knapp and his inspiration to the Wolverines’ football team.

Mr. Clery won first place for breaking news photo for an altercation, showing a fight between a man and a woman wielding a screw driver.

He won a second place in feature photo for “Thunder Over Dover” showing the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds doing the Calypso Pass with one jet inverted above another.

The inspiring story of Eric Porter — headlined “Porter Strong” — won reporter Craig Anderson a second place in feature story-profile. Mr. Porter suffered a spinal fracture in an auto accident. He has used his own recovery to inspire others to try to “keep climbing” and walk again.

The “From the Editor” column – written by this editor – was awarded two second place awards.

“A daily newspaper opens up world to students” was second in the local feature column category. It discussed how teacher Katie Maddalena used the Delaware State News as a literacy project for sixth-grade students at John Bassett Moore Intermediate in Smyrna.

This editor and Polytech High students Maureen Iplenski and Torie Seagraves won second place in the features-driven multimedia category for “Moore gives voice to the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.” The online version of the column featured short excerpts from an interview with the Rev. John Moore and a clip of him reenacting a King speech.

For news page design, graphic artist Lee Hoover and freelance photographer Doug Curran won first place for “Emergency 9-1-1.” Ms. Hoover, Mr. Clery and freelance photographer Gary Emeigh won second place for “Delaware State Fair.”

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The news, layout, advertising and graphics teams won first place for custom publication for the 2017 Kent County Profile. The annual magazine, produced in collaboration with the Kent Economic Partnership, featured Dover Air Force Base’s newly-completed runway on the cover.

The same teams also won the advertising-driven special publication standalone category for the annual wedding guide, “Live, Love, Laugh.” Heather Cregar and Ms. Hoover, along with the advertising graphics and layout teams, won second place in the same category for the Dover Days Official Program.

Ms. Cregar and Ms. Hoover won a first in self-promotion campaign for “The Best Just Got Bigger,” advertising the newspaper did after making the page sizes 25 percent taller.

Sue Short, Katrina Sullivan and Sharon Harvey won first place for restaurant/entertainment ad – large print only for a Country Liquors ad. Ms. Short and Ms. Harvey also won second place in this category for a Sinking Springs ad.

Ms. Short, Ms. Harvey and Karl Krauss also won the restaurant/entertainment small print category for Belle Bridal Expos.

Graphic designer Ms. Hoover won a first place for retail ad for Dream Vacations.

Ms. Hoover, Tim Gary and Barbara Bryan won second place in the advertising small print category for DART First State.

Barbara Anne Jones, Ms. Cregar and the advertising graphics team earned a second-place award for best event with the Delaware Outdoor Expo.

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The Milford Chronicle, Sussex Post, Dorchester Banner and Salisbury Independent – sister weeklies of the Delaware State News – combined for 20 awards in other divisions.

We congratulate them on their continued success, and wish to give a special shout-out to Angi Hicks, a graphic designer in the Milford office. She and Salisbury advertising manager Cathy Koyanagi won a best in show for real estate amazing views advertising. Ms. Hicks also won a best in show with Sussex Post advertising manager Jenny Keim for small print advertising campaign for a Clifford Short Insurance ad.

The first-place winners in each division – from small weeklies to metropolitan dailies – vie for best-in-show awards.
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We’re proud of the honors for our staff members. But we certainly want to thank our readers and advertisers for their ongoing support of “News with Integrity” and allowing us to play a role in democracy and serve your communities.

Reach editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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