COLUMBUS — The newsroom staff that produces both The Vindicator and the Tribune Chronicle won three statewide first-place awards for its 2021 coverage, and it also won second place in overall category of general excellence for competition with all Ohio newspapers of comparable size.
The first-place winners were editor Amy Leigh Wilson for best full-page design for a front-page story titled “Death penalty: justice or brutality? Business editor Ron Selak Jr. was named top business writer for a compilation of his work; and sportswriter Joel Whetzel won Best Sports Feature Writer, also for a compilation of his work.
Local newsroom staff also won eight second and five third prizes in the annual competition in news, sports, editorial writing, photography, graphic design and headline writing. .
In all, the staff took home 17 awards at the Associated Press Annual Media Editors’ Banquet and Meeting, or APME, on Sunday afternoon in Columbus.
Page designer Patrick Litowitz took home three awards — two runners-up and a third — for best informative graphic, best graphic designer and best headline writing. The newspaper’s sports department, led by sportswriter Greg Macafee, won second place for best daily sports section.
Managing Editor Brenda J. Linert won second place for Editorial Writing; Metro editor Tom Wills won second place in the explanatory reporting category for an article titled “Smothering is not a game.” Journalist Allie Vugrincic won second place as best screenwriter. Crime reporter Ed Runyan won second place in the best news category for his coverage of the shooting death of a Youngstown child. Freelance photographer Mike Taylor took second place for best sports photo for his image titled “JFK celebrates.”
In third place, feature editor Burton Cole won the award for best feature editor; chief photographer R. Michael Semple won third place in the best photo category for a shot he called “a close shave.” The Staff also won third place in the Timely News category for its coverage of a deadly January 2021 fire in Warren, and freelance outdoor columnist Jack Wollitz finished third in the Top Sports Columnist category.
Overall, Sunday’s event resulted in the best performance for The Vindicator/Tribune Chronicle staff in the annual APME competition in recent memory. The staff competes in Division IV, representing daily newspapers with a general circulation of 19,000 to 59,999.
A total of 48 daily newspapers submitted 1,302 entries for this year’s competition. Entries for Division IV were judged by editors from the Grand Haven (Michigan) Tribune. Sunday’s APME banquet marked a return to an in-person gathering. The competition has been managed remotely and rewards have been sent to winners for the past two years, due to COVID-19 limitations on gatherings.
Linert is a board member of APME, the governing body of the annual competition. She was re-elected at Sunday’s meeting for a second three-year term.