‘The Rock River Times’ wins two Illinois Press Association awards
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois’ top newspapers were honored at the Illinois Press Association’s (IPA) annual convention last week. More than 100 daily and non-daily newspapers competed in 36 editorial categories.
The Iowa Newspaper Association judged more than 3,500 editorial entries for 2011. The Belleville News Democrat won the Stuart R. Paddock Memorial Sweepstakes Trophy for large dailies. The paper’s extensive series on workers’ compensation claims by prison employees contributed to the newspaper’s victory.
The sweepstakes trophies are for newspapers that earned the most points in six circulation divisions. Points are awarded for first place through honorable mention in most contest categories, including general excellence, photography, newswriting, opinion writing, design, community service and editorial page content.
The Rock River Times entered two categories for 2011, both for its series on the toxic contamination of the neighborhood around the Amerock plant. The Rock River Times took first place in the Class 6 six-division “News Reporting — Series.” The Division C First Place award went to TRRT contributing writer Richard S. Gubbe for the series on “Toxic Waste Dumping.” The review of the entry included: “Outstanding investigative reporting. Excellent example of reporting, tracking down numerous sources. Covered a variety of angles.”
In a separate three-category University of Illinois’ Best Investigative/Enterprise Reporting Division B, The Rock River Times and Gubbe took second place. The review of the Amerock toxic waste dumping and well contamination series read: “Culling a tip from attending a public meeting, the newspaper uncovered evidence of the dumping of a toxin into a water supply of a neighborhood. It also discovered alarming cancer illnesses in the neighborhood. The reporting led to government investigation and government-funded water connection of homes in the neighborhood to city water.”
The O’Fallon Progress earned first place in the U of I Best Investigative/Enterprise Reporting category for its “exposure of illegal tax exemptions by revealing how home builders avoided taxes through questionable exemptions, the newspaper reported a loss to the community of tens of thousands of dollars though the ineptness of the county assessor. The newspaper also showed exemplary resilience in pursuing the investigation despite the loss of significant advertising from a home building company.”
For second place in the Sweepstakes Trophy, there was a tie between the Journal Star in Peoria and Illinois’ largest circulation newspaper, the Chicago Tribune. In third place was the Chicago Sun-Times, which won the trophy last year and claimed numerous single categories this year.
In the medium-sized daily newspaper category, the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake again took top honors. The Register Mail in Galesburg claimed second place.
In the small daily category, the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb claimed top honors again. Coming in second was the Pekin Daily Times, followed by the Morris Daily Herald.
In the large non-daily category, the Downers Grove Reporter took first. The Reporter edged out the Wednesday Journal and the Austin Weekly News in Chicago.
The Oak Leaves in Oak Park took the medium non-daily trophy. The Woodstock Independent took first in the small weekly category. Village Voices in Lena took second.
“TRRT staff and I are very proud of Richard,” said Frank Schier, TRRT editor and publisher. “His efforts to reach out to the neighborhood around Amerock and tell their story resulted in blocks of houses being hooked up to clean water. Richard has saved lives and certainly improved the quality of many. We are honored by the IPA awards, as well as by their commitment to Freedom of Information, as shown by their lawsuit on our behalf. Thank you, Director Dennis DeRossett and Attorney Don Craven.”
The IPA in Springfield represents 480 daily and weekly newspapers. For a complete list of winners, see www.illinoispressassociation.org.
From the June 20-26, 2012, issue
Print This Article