Peninsula journalists win at Alaska Press Club awards

At the Alaska Press Club awards banquet held Saturday, April 27 in Anchorage, the Homer News took home several awards at this year’s Alaska Press Club annual journalism conference. Reporter Megan Pacer won three awards for her multi-beat reporting in general news, government and the arts.

The Alaska Press Club conference featured three days of workshops, seminars, presentations and discussions on print, radio, online and television journalism.

The conference culminated with the awards banquet that honored journalists across the state in over 60 different categories. The keynote speaker was National Public Radio midday broadcaster Lakshmi Singh.

The winning articles are:

• Pacer, second place, general news reporting, print-small, “Local man starts Flying Spaghetti Monster congregation in response to borough assembly’s invocation policy”

• Pacer, Second place, best reporting on government or politics, print-small, “Superior Court finds borough invocation policy violates Constitution”

• Pacer, Third place, best arts reporting, print-small, “For longtime Irish rock band, Homer is one of a few constants over the years”

• Homer News columnist Nick Varney, Third place, Suzanne Nightingale Award, best columnists, print-small, “Unhinged Alaska.”

The Peninsula Clarion also performed strongly in sports reporting for the Alaska Press Club’s annual journalism award contest. Sports reporters Jeff Helmeniak, who is also the sports editor, and Joey Klecka won two awards each for their writing. Clarion editor Erin Thompson also won for best reporting on health and reporter Victoria Petersen for best report on government and politics.

The Clarion competed in the large print category that includes papers in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Petersen, editor of The Spenardian, a magazine about the Spenard neighborhood in Anchorage, also won two awards for her work there.

The awards for the Clarion are:

• Petersen, third place in best reporting on government and politics in print large for “Borough chooses not to appeal court decision, updates invocation policy”

• Helminiak, third place in best sports or outdoors column, print small and large for “Passion and Risk,” Oct. 11, 2018; “When bad conditions become challenging conditions,” Jan. 5, 2018; “Enjoying the silence,” June 21, 2018

• Helminiak, third place in best sports reporting, print small and large for “Yeaton, Norris collect Mount Marathon wins”

• Klecka, third place, best sports feature, print small and large for “Passion, dedication defines Twins career for Steffensen”

• Klecka, first place in best sports reporting for print small and large for “Nikiski captures state volleyball crown”

• Thompson, first place in best reporting on health for print large for “Health care providers call for syringe exchange”

For her work at the Spenardian, Petersen won third place for best blog and third place for best magazine cover.

Other Kenai Peninsula journalists also won awards. KBBI Public Radio reporter Renee Gross won a third-place award for best reporting on government and politics for her story on the Kachemak Selo school and another third-place award for best reporting on health for a story on Medicaid backlogs. KBBI contributor Jeff Lockwood also won second place for best audio program or podcast for his food show, “Check the Pantry.”