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BND recognized for community service journalism, other statewide awards

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The Belleville News-Democrat and serve readers in the metro-east and Southern Illinois.

Among the 18 awards received by the Belleville News-Democrat for its journalism over the last year was a clean sweep of the “Community Service” category for large daily newspapers from the Illinois Press Association.

Three members of the BND staff also won awards from the Associated Press Media Editors in the metro newspapers classification.

From the IPA, reporters Lexi Cortes and Elizabeth Donald collaborated on a multimedia report titled “There are signs your teens may think about suicide. Here’s how you can get them help.”

Through a detailed article and multiple videos, Cortes and Donald broke down statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and relayed them through the perspective of local educators and other experts, as well as from local teens who deal with anxiety and depression.

Their work garnered first place from the IPA in Community Service.

Joseph Bustos and Kelsey Landis earned second-place recognition in the same category for their study of violent crime along the MetroLink route. The work, titled “The MetroLink isn’t as dangerous as you think, investigation finds,” included an online database of crimes since the light rail system opened.

In third place for Community Service were reporter Cara Anthony and video intern Julian Lim for their multimedia project titled “Then I Knew,” a study of metro-east minorities who detailed the moment they “realized they were being defined by something other than their actions.”

“Then I Knew” included a series of videos and related articles as well as a screening and forum co-hosted by the NAACP.

And in fourth place for Community Service, Bustos, Cortes and Landis were recognized for “Get to know the candidates running to represent Southern Illinois in the 2018 election.”

Other IPA awards:


  • “Distinguished Coverage of Diversity” — “Then I Knew,” by Anthony and Lim.

  • “Agriculture Story” — “Agricultural tariffs and how they affect Southern Illinois,” by Bustos.
  • “Best Coverage of Taxation” — Bustos, Johnson and Landis

    The judges said: “Authoritative team coverage explains impacts of Trump’s tariffs on a range of local businesses.”
  • “Freedom of Information Award” — “The MetroLink isn’t as dangerous as you think, investigation finds,” by Bustos and Landis.



AP Media Editors Awards:


  • “Best Feature” — “He’s a millionaire who runs strip clubs across the U.S. He’s also a Centreville cop,” by George Pawlacyk and Beth Hundsdorfer. Chicago Tribune writers Peter Nickeas and E. Jason Wambsgans won first place while Lauren FitzPatrick of the Chicago Sun-Times took second.
  • “Best Sports Columnist or Blog” — Todd Eschman. Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune finished in first place and Steve Greenberg was second.