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MDDC announces winners of contest at Local News Builds Communities event

Reporters, editors and other media professionals receive awards and hear from speakers and panelists May 10th at
Doubletree Hilton, Annapolis, MD


(Annapolis, MD) – Members and supporters of the Maryland | Delaware | DC Press Association came together today at a program to highlight news with integrity and excellence in journalism by recognizing the winners of the Contest, which celebrates print and online work completed in 2018.  Attendees also learned from 10 panel discussions about various topics affecting the  new media, from  cannabis advertising to newsroom legal topics to public notice.   

The contest, governed by the Association’s Editorial and Advertising Committees, admitted nearly 2,300 entries from 64 member publications among 95 categories.  There are eight divisions in the contest, which group member publications into daily and non-daily print and online-only categories, then further group them by circulation.  Within the eight divisions is one specifically for SPJ members.  One Best in Show award is given in each category across all divisions.  Additionally, one James S. Keat Freedom of Information Award is given across all divisions to the publication best demonstrating use of public information act requests in its reporting.  The capstone award, one per division, is News Organization of the Year.

This year, in light of the shootings at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis on June 28, MDDC established a new award: Courage in Journalism.  The first recipient was Wendi Winters, who was killed in the attack and attempted to fight off and distract the shooter. Brian Karem, president of the MDDC board, talked about the lasting legacy of Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.  Click here for the full version of his remarks and click here for the video.  Rick Hutzell, editor of the Capital Gazette, accepted the award and noted how the survivors work to carry on the mission of local news that is critical to our  communities.  Click here for the video of Rick's remarks.

The Association recognized a new journalist with the Rookie of the Year award.  This award honors a new journalist with less than 18 months' experience in the field.  Six nominations were received from six member publications.  Talia Richman of the Baltimore Sun was honored for her skill, dedication and writing ability. The award was judged by a distinguished duo: Tom Linthicum, recently-retired University of Maryland adjunct professor and veteran journalist and John League, retired publisher of The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown.

Catie Peterson of the Baltimore Business Journal won Designer of the Year, which honors a body of work over the contest cycle.  Catie’s portfolio of work stood out for her sophisticated design palette and range. Peterson joined the Baltimore Business Journal where she was excited to work in a smaller environment and, according to Editor-in-Chief Joanna Sullivan “she could stretch her creative muscle and shape the look and feel of the paper.” The concept of conveying information visually is nuanced and sophisticated, and judge Adam Marton of the University of Maryland says “[Peterson’s] use of type, image and composition really stands out.”

The Baltimore Sun and the Baltimore Brew each won the James S. Keat Freedom of Information Award.  The Baltimore Brew wins for its unswerving commitment to one issue and the Baltimore Sun for its body of work reporting with public records.  The award is named for Jim Keat, a retired editor and foreign correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, who was a long-time advocate for public information access. Keat is also a member of the MDDC Newspaper Hall of Fame.  The award was judged by a distinguished duo:  Chris Eddings, retired publisher of The Daily Record and former Public Information Act Compliance Board member and Miranda Spivak, Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism, DePauw University and independent journalist for Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. 

The News Organization of the Year awards represent the best publication in each division.  These awards are chosen based on the points accumulated for first and second prizes in each category.  In the daily divisions, The Baltimore Sun won the award in Division A (print dailies over 75,000); The Frederick News-Post was named News Organization of the Year for Division B (print dailies from 20,000 to 75,000); and The Daily Times won in Division C (print dailies under 20,000).  For non-daily publications, The Catholic Review won the award in Division D (print non-dailies over 20,000); Cape Gazette was named News Organization of the Year for Division E (print non-dailies from 10,000 to 20,000); The Baltimore Business Journal won in Division F (print non-dailies under 10,000); and Capital News Service won in Division O (online-only).  See the video of this segment.

For a full listing of winners and their award-winning work, please see the awards publication or the full conference presentation

Also at the event, River Hill High school senior Lauren Mitchell was named the 2019 Michael S. Powell High School Journalist of the Year.  She is currently the Co-Editor-in-Chief of her school’s newspaper, The Current and the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Mitchell Markings, a teen-led news site.  A panel of MDDC editors and reporters, including Angie Price of the Bay Times, Dan Divilio of the Kent County News, Ben Penserga of The Daily Times and Brian Karem of the Sentinel, reviewed applications for this prestigious $1,500 cash award. 



The Maryland | Delaware | DC Press Association is a vibrant, influential association representing 105 member news media organizations in our region.  We believe a strong news media is central to a strong and open society.  We help our members succeed through advocacy efforts, revenue generation, professional development and industry recognition.  Learn more at www.mddcpress.com.

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