Detroit News wins 8 first-place APME awards, including public service, spot news

Hayley Harding
The Detroit News

The Detroit News took eight first-place awards, including for Best Spot News Coverage and Best Public Service, among several others in the 2021 Michigan Associated Press Media Editors contest.

The contest celebrates the best journalism across the state in multiple categories.

The News competed in Division III, where in addition to the first-place awards, it also took home more than a dozen second- and third-place awards, marking 21 in total. Other newspapers in that division are the Detroit Free Press and the Grand Rapids Press.

The entire News staff was recognized for its reporting and its page design following the shooting at Oxford High School late last year. The staff won a first-place award for Spot News Coverage, with judges saying the work "clearly explained what was known" in the aftermath of the shooting.

Judges also appreciated the design of the paper, awarding it first-place recognition for Best Full Page Design.

"On what was no doubt a devastating day for the community, this cover gave both an environmental and emotional overview to the scourge of yet another school shooting," the judges wrote. "The page is very informative with content and clean and well-organized so readers can navigate the page and absorb the photography."

The News swept the Best Full Page Design category, with Senior Design Editor Antone Amye winning second place and Presentation Editor James Hollar winning third.

The News also was recognized with a first-place award for Best Digital Presence. Judges noted that "presenting information in different ways augments readers' experience with the digital product" and complimented The News' "smart use of data visualizations, video, photos and charts to draw readers into compelling stories."

Other first place victories included Best Public Service, awarded to staff writer Beth LeBlanc for her work on fraud and mistakes in Michigan's unemployment system. Judges commended her work to hold the state accountable while also writing in clear, concise and smart ways for readers to fully understand the magnitude of the problem.

Sports writer Tony Paul won a first-place award for his column "Somewhere, a gay kid's in a better place because Carl Nassib came out," written after the Las Vegas Raiders' defensive end came out.

"This is powerful commentary on a national news story that included first-person experiences that brought home a strong point," judges said. "It was relatable, emphatic and colorful. Well done."

Sports columnist John Niyo won first place for Best Sports Feature Story for his work "For Michigan's Kate Nye, Olympic dream was worth the weight," which judges called an "insightful look" into the life of the Olympic athlete.

First place in the Best Feature Photo category was awarded to Assistant Multimedia Editor Andy Morrison, for his photo of airborne sledders at Grosse Ile Country Club last February.

News Editor Andreas Supanich won first place in the Best Headline Writing category, which judges calling his work "smart, snappy headlines that make readers give each story a second look."

Other awards for The News include a second-place award for Washington correspondent Riley Beggin for Best Enterprise Reporting with her package of stories on the mining required to build electric vehicles. Kayla Ruble won third place in the same category for her story "Michigan's hospitals near breaking point: 'We can’t take care of our patients as we need.'"

Beggin also won a third-place award for Business Writing for that work and other business stories she wrote last year.

Senior writer Francis X. Donnelly won a third-place award for Best Feature Writing for several of his stories in 2021, including "Michigan pilot crashes 7 times in one trip. He lived to tell about it" and "Michigan man found buried treasure. Lawsuits, harassment then found him."

Melissa Nann Burke, Washington bureau chief, was awarded third place in Best Spot News Coverage for her work "Inside House chamber: Gas masks, barricades, an 'I love you' text."

"An incredible piece of first-person journalism made more impressive by the turnaround just hours after experiencing the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol," judges wrote in their notes on the story.

In Best Editorial Writing, Deputy Editorial Page Editor Ingrid Jacques won second place for editorials that judges called "insightful and easy to digest," while Editorial Page Editor Nolan Finley won third place for his "clever, passionate and balanced" work.

Finley also won third place for Best Column for several of his columns, which judges said were "well-told."

Sports columnist Bob Wojnowski received third place in the Best Sports Column category for his piece "Victims of Michigan doctor want real remorse, real change, real leadership."

"Super job of covering a tough subject and meshing the program's history with the controversies of the present," judges wrote. "Well written from top to bottom."

Staff photographer David Guralnick was awarded third place for his photo of a fight between Detroit right wing Givani Smith and Nashville defenseman Ben Harpur during a Red Wings game in December.

Andy Morrison won third place for Best Video. His work, a Michigan Marvels piece on the Soo Locks, was commended for its nice pacing and enjoyable interviews.

Twitter: @Hayley__Harding