The Belleville News-Democrat was named News Innovator of the Year among the state’s largest news organizations during the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors annual awards luncheon Thursday in Springfield.
BND journalists also won five other Illinois APME awards, including first place for investigative reporting and first place for breaking news coverage.
The newsroom staff won first place in the innovation category for its new strategy for writing digital headlines and expanding readership. Senior editor Joe Ostermeier accepted the award on behalf of the staff.
Other BND awards winners are:
▪ Reporter Lexi Cortes received a first-place award for investigative reporting for her coverage of a public official’s use of a government credit card for personal purchases. Second place went to the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Berens and Patricia Callihan for their series “Suffering in Secret.” Third place also went to the Chicago Tribune.
▪ The BND staff won first place for breaking news coverage of a gas line explosion in Maryville. Second place went to the Rockford Register Star’s Georgette Braun and Jeff Kolkey. The (Champaign) News-Gazette’s Mary Schenk won the third place breaking news award.
▪ The BND’s Jason Koch and Joshua Connelly won second and third place, respectively, in the headline writing category. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Eric White won first place.
▪ Former BND reporter Norm Sanders won a second-place award for best use of social media by an individual. The Daily Herald’s Bruce Miles won first place, and the Rockford Register Star’s Adam Poulisse won third place.