Detroit News grabs 5 first-place wins for best website, staff stories

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The Detroit News won Best Digital Presence and four other first-place awards Wednesday in the 2020 Michigan Associated Press Media Editors contest.

The awards in order of finish — first, second and third places — were announced online for Division III, the category in which The News competed The Michigan APME is an association of the state's top newspaper, television and radio news outlets.

Thirty daily newspapers submitted 842 entries in the contest, which featured news and sports stories, features, editorials, columns, graphics and photos from 2020.

Entries were judged by editors from Ohio newspapers.

The News won 17 awards overall and competed against the Detroit Free Press and Grand Rapids Press in all categories.

The News ranked first place in In Best Digital Presence, with judges praising the presentation.

"Site is easy to navigate, content is clearly labeled. Engaging social media posts. Great use of emoji to indicate subscriber-only content," the judges said. "Podcasts showed an expertise on multiple topics including sports, the auto industry and crime, and offered an alternate way to meet readers. Exceptional use of IG stories, well-designed posts and engaging content."

Deputy Editorial Page Editor Ingrid Jacques took first-place for Best Editorial Writing.

"Hard-hitting topics focusing on Michigan's most vulnerable — the elderly in nursing homes and children in Michigan schools," the judges said. "Good use of evidence and background to back up your arguments."

Tony Paul took first place in Best Sports Story for "Recruiting Trouble: Inside the Sex Assault Scandal That Threw MSU Football for a Loss."

"This was far more than a sports story or report on college football recruiting. This was a comprehensive, in-depth examination into the cost major collegiate sports' programs pay when they sacrifice everything, including playing by the rules, for winning," the judges said. "The reporting to produce this was dogged and tireless. It was written in a compelling fashion that even people who don't follow football could understand."

Paul also had another first-place honor in Best Sports Feature Story for "10 Years Later, Ex-Tiger Armando Galarraga 'Lucky To Not Be Lucky' in Brush with Perfection."

In the same category, UM beat writer Angelique Chengelis earned third place for "Lions' Chris Spielman Opens up on Loss of Wife, Parenting, Finding Love Again"

In Best Sports Column, columnist Bob Wojnowski won first place for "Al Kaline Always Happy To Help, Even a Helpless Player Like Me."

"Warm and friendly ... enjoyed the fantasy story at the end ... gave me an idea of who Kaline really was," the judges said. "An excellent read."

In the same category, John Niyo won third place for "Hiatus May Cause Us to Rethink Priority We Put on Organized Youth Sports."

Kalea Hall

"A positive outcome of the pandemic ... I always like sports column about the kids ... brings back the innocence to sports," the judges said.

Staff Writer Kalea Hall won second place for Best Business Writing.

Brendan Clarey, an editorial fellow, earned third place for Best Column.

Photographer Daniel Mears won second place in Best Spot News Photo for "Past Curfew."

In Best Feature Photo, Todd McInturf won second place for "Unimaginable' Pain: Coronavirus Robs Michigan Woman of Whole Family," which the judges said was part of an "incredible story, heartfelt moment and amazing access."

David Guralnick won third place in that category for "Graduation, Covid-19 Style."

"Speaks to the absurdity of this time, way to work a tough situation," the judges said.

Todd McInturf

Max Ortiz won third place in Best Sports Photo for "Pee Wee Boxer." 

"Great unexpected moment from before the event," the judges said.

Assistant Multimedia Editor Andy Morrison won second place in Best Video for "Stony Island: A Michigan Marvel."

The judges said: "Taking a ride with the River Keeper seems like the perfect way to tell the story of islands that many Detroit citizens may see frequently but don't know much about. In many videos drone footage seems overdone, but here it’s mixed in perfectly."

Reporters Sarah Rahal and Beth LeBlanc won third-place in Best Spot News Coverage:  "Inside Sinai-Grace ‘War Zone’: ‘We Started to Run Out of Body Bags."

Kim Kozlowski

Higher education reporter Kim Kozlowski won third in the Best Investigative Reporting Category for her coverage of the late University of Michigan Dr. Robert E. Anderson, who has been accused of sexually abusing hundreds of students, athletes and others during a career that spanned more than four decades.

The News won third place for In General Excellence.

Also announced Wednesday, Detroit News editor and publisher Gary Miles became president of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors for the next year.