Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun wins 12 awards in state journalism contest

The Dayton Daily News and Springfield News-Sun won 12 awards in the Society of Professional Journalists Ohio contest for writing, photography and design work in news, business and sports coverage.

The awards were announced Thursday and are sponsored by the Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus Society of Professional Journalists chapters. About 580 entries were submitted for judging from news organizations across Ohio.

“Our staff works very hard to give our subscribers the best information, presented clearly, so readers can understand what’s going on in their local communities,” Dayton Daily News Editor Jim Bebbington said. “We’re very proud that the SPJ judges agree that our work is among the best in the state.”

Staff writer Josh Sweigart placed first in the best political reporting category for his series of stories on voter security, including taking the unprecedent step of getting certified as an official election observer.

Sweigart also placed second for best religion reporting for work regarding how a religious order handled past allegations of abuse.

Sports writer Tom Archdeacon earned the best sports reporting award.

The judge wrote of Archdeacon: “In a year marred by COVID, where every sport was impacted, it’s hard to find much else to write about. The stories submitted represent not only great writing but storytelling that captures the reader’s attention and draws them into the piece until the end.”

Copy editor Sean McClelland won the best headline writing category. His work sparked this response from the judge: “Headlines catch the readers’ attention, provide enough information to get them to want to read the story, but don’t sensationalize or giveaway the stories. Well done!”

Springfield News-Sun photographer Bill Lackey won first place for best photographer.

“This winning entry definitely stood out for its nice diversity of images, and composition,” the judges comments said.

Alexis Larsen was honored as best graphic designer in Ohio, receiving praise from the judges, who called her work clean and easy to read.

Former Dayton Daily News staff member Amelia Robinson finished first in best feature reporting for her work on COVID-19. The judge called it compelling journalism. “This reporter brough COVID-19 vividly home through the stories of families and medical teams,” the judge wrote. “We saw the big news story through a small lens, and that actually told us the whole story.”

Robinson also placed second for best columnist and second for best editorial writing.

Copy editors Sharyn Boyle and Mark Toerner placed second in best page one design.

Copy editor Adrian Zamarron finished second for best special section for “In the Balance,” which the judge said was, “Very well done. Beautiful photos.”

Staff writer Lynn Hulsey finished second in the best business reporting category.

The contest is the only Ohio competition that honors journalists who fulfill the SPJ mission: defense of the First Amendment, support of literacy, resistance to censorship, advocacy for openness of public records and meetings, media self-criticism and community service.

About the Author