Editor column: Tribune staffers win awards, but they pursue stories, not status
Spring is contest season for journalists, and Salt Lake Tribune reporters, photographers, artists and editors have acquitted themselves well when stacked up against their peers throughout the country.
Pat Bagley, our talented editorial cartoonist, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Our sports staff had an excellent showing in the Associated Press Sports Editors contest, with a first place for Kurt Kragthorpe's series on life in minor-league baseball, and four top-10 awards for Sunday and daily sections, and two reporting projects.
In Top of the Rockies, the contest organized by Colorado's Society of Professional Journalists it includes our sister paper The Denver Post The Tribune dominated first-place prizes with 12, and took 21 awards overall. Our coverage of the John Swallow scandal, led by Robert Gehrke and Tom Harvey, was singled out, as was our coverage of the new National Security Agency center in Bluffdale, by Thomas Burr, Nate Carlisle and Tony Semerad.
Other Top of the Rockies winners, some of whom are no longer with the paper, were political reporter Lee Davidson, columnist Ann Cannon, photographer Francisco Kjolseth, editorial page editor Tim Fitzpatrick, page designer Jenna Busey, legal reporter Brooke Adams, education reporter Lisa Schencker and environmental reporter Brian Maffly.
The team that covered the historic day when U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage took the top prize for breaking news. The reporting team included Brooke Adams, Matt Piper, Erin Alberty, Matt Canham and Peggy Fletcher Stack.
Our website, http://www.sltrib.com, won the general excellence award.
In Best of the West, a contest that includes metro dailies from Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, The Tribune captured three top honors, six awards overall. Kirsten Stewart took a first in news writing for stories on medical marijuana. Aaron Falk, Chris Kamrani and Tony Semerad won with their series on the place of Pacific Islanders in Utah football, and in the state in general. Desk editor Steve Mohlman won for headline writing.
In a sign of how our business is changing, and how Tribune reporters are working on many platforms these days, reporter Brett Prettyman took second in the Outdoor Writers Association of America's annual contest for "Utah Bucket List," the television program he produced with KUED Channel 7 last year showcasing the best outdoor experiences to be found in Utah. Prettyman won four other awards for writing in the national contest, including a pair of firsts.
It feels good to be recognized by your peers in contests. But the reason Tribune journalists break out their notebooks and laptops every day is not for plaques and plaudits. We do it because we recognize the role we play in keeping Utahns informed. And we like a good story.
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Terry Orme is The Tribune's editor and publisher. Contact him at email@example.com.