At the Alaska Press Club awards banquet in Anchorage on Saturday, the Homer News won first place for Best Weekly in the 2016 awards year. Honored for their efforts were editor and publisher Lori Evans, reporter Michael Armstrong, former reporter Anna Frost and former graphics artist Aaron Carpenter. Of the paper, judge Cheryl Thompson said, “Newsy, scrappy. Terrific photos … I love everything about it.”
Kachemak Gardener writer Rosemary Fitzpatrick took second place in the Suzan B. Nightingale Award for Best Columnist. Of her work, judge Cynthia Sewell said, “Fitzpatrick’s columns are both informative and wholly personal. Every word comes from her heart, allowing such lines as, ‘I have done a tremendous disservice to my rugosa roses’ to fall naturally and honestly on the page.”
Armstrong also won two third-place awards, one for Best Government Reporting, for “Fishing Hole will get shelter from gulls,” about how a government grant would be used to fund a shelter for the cleaning tables.
He also won third place for Best Arts Reporting for “Show full of surprise,” about the late R.W. “Toby” Tyler’s last show at Ptarmigan Arts. Judge Kerry Clawson said, “This is a fascinating story of a community that has come together to help an elderly artist get back into painting after he has suffered from a stroke. There’s a magic to the surprisingly wonderful results that just leaps from the page of this sensitively written piece.”
Armstrong and Frost also were named as contributing to a First Place Award for Best Breaking News, to the Peninsula Clarion, for “Shaken awake: Peninsula feels largest recorded quake in Lower Cook Inlet.” They wrote the lower Kenai Peninsula angle to a story in the Clarion, a sister paper of the Homer News in the Morris Publishing Group.
Clarion reporters Megan Pacer and Kelly Sullivan also received accolades.
Of their work, judge Rebecca Boone said, “Great teamwork shows in this solidly reported story on the 7.1 quake. Nice job covering the widespread impacts of the earthquake — from personal experiences, business losses, transportation issues and of course the totaled homes. Team reporting can be difficult, but the effort clearly paid off. Kudos to the editors and staffers who pulled it all together back at the newsroom, also.”
Homer’s KBBI Public Radio also received awards for Radio Best Reporting on Science, Third Place, “Marine mammal camp nurtures budding scientists,” by former KBBI reporter Shahla Farzan; Radio Best Reporting on Government or Politics, Third Place, “Assembly Considers Moment of Silence After Satanic Prayer, Protest, Counterprotest,” by former news director Daysha Eaton; and Radio Best Reporting on Crime or Courts, Third Place, “Kenaitze Tribe Launches Joint-Jurisdiction Court,” also by Eaton.