Homer News wins six Alaska Press Club awards

At the Alaska Press Club awards banquet held Saturday, April 21 in Anchorage, the Homer News took home six awards. The winning articles are:

• Editor and reporter Michael Armstrong, First Place, for Print-Small, Best Reporting on Government or Politics, “Homer News Resolution emails show backstage political process,”

• Reporter Megan Pacer and Armstrong, Second Place, Print-Small, Vern McCorkle Award for Best Business Reporting, “Commission recommends Spit opens for pot,”

• Pacer, Second Place, Print-Small, Best Arts Reporting, “Local fisherman enters Homer art scene,”

• Homer News columnist Rosemary Fitzpatrick, Second Place, Print-Small, The Suzan Nightingale Award for Best Columnist, “Kachemak Gardener,”

• Pacer and Armstrong, Third Place, Print-Small, Best General News Reporting “Short search ensues after truck found fallen off Baycrest Hill; driver had crashed days earlier,” and

• Pacer, Third Place, All Print, Best Education Reporting, “Retired educator uses veterans archives to teach history about WWII.”

Of Armstrong’s story on emails associated with the attempted recall of three Homer City Council members, judge Betsy Russell wrote, “This reporter performed a public service for the community by sorting through 500+ emails and clarifying a dispute that led to a city recall election, amid much misunderstanding. The separate entry on the eventual decision, ‘Inclusive resolution proves too divisive for City Council,’ also is worthy of note, and if there were honorable mentions in this competition, should receive one.

“Everyone who submitted in this category is doing a fine job watchdogging their local government, and it’s clear that they all understand the important role they play as the news media. Well done!”

Of Pacer’s story on artist Oceana Wills, judge Kerry Clawson wrote, “This is a charming story about a fisherwoman who is also a painter becoming known in the Homer art scene. We get an intimate inside glimpse of her life as both a deckhand and an artist, and how satisfyingly both pastimes complement each other for the subject. This is a meaningful, female-centric story.”

Judge Justin Hinkley Clear praised the work of Pacer and Armstrong on a Homer Advisory Planning Commission decision to recommend cannabis sales on the Spit. He wrote: “Concise writing that covers this important issue from every angle, giving the reader all the information they need to judge for themselves the decisions of their leaders.”

Fitzpatrick, a perennial winner of the Best Columnist award, won praise for her gardening feature. Judge Cynthia Sewell said of her work, “Dispatches from the end of the spit, with the spirit and voice of the hearty backyard garden battler.”

Other Homer journalists winning awards include Tom Kizzia and Carey Restino. Kizzia won Second Place, Print-Large for Best Reporting on Government or Politics, for his Anchorage Daily News article on the recall, “How an effort to make Homer a ‘safety net’ divided the town and led to a recall election.”

Restino won Third Place, Best Comprehensive Coverage, Print Small, for her Homer Tribune article, “Homer struggles with political identity in face of national divide.”

The former editor of the Tribune, Restino also shared an award with current editor Tommy Wells, graphic designer Sam Kuzmin, and contributing writers Christina Whiting and Taz Tally for First Place, Best Weekly Paper.