Awards were presented in virtural ceremony last Saturday

The Homer News, and its sister publications the Peninsula Clarion and Juneau Empire, won a batch of awards, including second-place, Best Weekly, for the Homer News.

The awards were presented at the annual Alaska Press Club awards held online on Saturday, May 1, in Anchorage. The awards are for work done in the 2020 calendar year. With Alaska media focusing much of its coverage on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alaska Press Club had several award categories for the topic.

Presented to the Homer News, Peninsula Clarion and Juneau Empire were these awards:

• Best Weekly

Second Place, Homer News

Of the paper, contest judge Christina Myer wrote: “Engaging design with an appealing range of news targeted for local readers.”

• Best Outdoor Column, print small or large

First place, Nick Varney, “Reelin’ ‘em In.” Contest judge Michael Taylor wrote: “Good writing about fishing echoes good fishermen with wry critiques based on experience, understated but spot-on description, and occasional surprising comparisons that make you bark with laughter.”

Third Place, Megan Pacer, “Out of the Office”

“Taylor wrote: “A very relatable column that celebrated both the joys and blisters of hiking in Alaska.”

• Best Health Reporting, print small or large

First place, Michael Armstrong, “’Capt. Balto’ drives boat in rough seas to deliver vaccine, medical workers”

Contest judge Brian McCrone wrote: “The lead of the story feels a little abrupt. Would have preferred a more narrative entry. But the subject is really interesting and the storytelling is very good. The parallels with the 1925 journey are apt. The story is a part of the pandemic saga that will still be interesting years from now.”

Second place, Megan pacer, “How are COVID-19 deaths recorded? A crash course on death certificates”

McCrone wrote: “This explainer piece is the type of story everyone needed and wanted all the time in 2020. Takes a complicated medical subject and gives it to the reader straight. A challenge for next time: Stay with the concise topic and storytelling, but find a way to break out of the paragraph-writing formula. The digital page allows explainers to shine in ways they never could in print. Take advantage.”

• Best covid reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic, print small or large

Second place, Megan Pacer, “Playing the waiting game in Peru”

Third place, Jeff Helmeniak, Peninsula Clarion, “Like night and day”

• Best profile, print large

First place, Peninsula Clarion, Jeff Helmeniak, “Time to be a beginner again”

Contest judge Michelle Maxwell wrote: “The profile really gave the reader a sense of Holt’s personality, his work, and how his accomplishments impacted and benefited the community. Good use of sourcing and story structure.”

Third place, Jeff Helmeniak, “He made friends everywhere he went”

Maxwell wrote: “This solid, well-sourced appreciation really let the reader understand his accomplished life. Especially appreciated the honest and raw comments from the wife, which added some imperfection/humanity to the telling of his life.”

• Best Humor, all media,

Second place, Unhinged Alaska, Nick Varney, Peninsula Clarion

Contest Judge Justin Hinkley wrote, “This writer knows how to say a lot with a little, and throw a sharp punch at the funny bones. A fun, easy read throughout.”

• Best Education Reporting, all media

Second place, Victoria Petersen, Peninsula Clarion, “An Alaskan village’s long wait for a new school”

Contest judge Tom Hallberg wrote, “School infrastructure is an often overlooked piece of how kids learn. This piece offered a glimpse into the way place, funding, and community character combine and collide. Very well-sourced and reported.”

• Best arts and culture criticism, print small and large,

Third place, Juneau Empire, Ben Hohenstatt, “Review: New EP is slightly rude, a little lewd far from crude”

Judge Christina Myer wrote: “Complimentary without gushing. An honest look that lets a listener know what to expect.”

• Best Headline writing

First place, Michael Lockett, Juneau empire

Judge Justin Hinkley “Clever but informative headlines draw readers into these stories.”