The News-Democrat has earned numerous honors this year from the Illinois Press Association.
The association held its annual awards ceremony in Bloomington on Friday afternoon. BND reporters and photographers were recognized for excellence in several categories, while advertising staff members were honored with awards announced Thursday.
Multi-media editor Brad Weisenstein and other staffers won first place for the most innovative project for coverage of Belleville’s Bicentennial. He and other staff won third place in the special section category.
Reporters Elizabeth Donald and Jacqueline Lee won second place in the community service category for their reporting on issues surrounding the 2014 election.
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Reporter and assistant city news editor Brian Brueggemann won third place for government beat reporting about local legislators.
The News-Democrat took second, third and honorable mention in the best coverage of taxation category. Brueggemann and reporter Mike Fitzgerald won second place for their story about tax auction forms. Daniel Kelley and Jamie Forsythe won third for their story about how local government entities secretly settled lawsuits. Kelley also won honorable mention in that same category for his reporting on pension scandals.
Forsythe also was won second place in the best school board coverage category for her story about rising local expulsion rates.
Kelley also won second place in the best promotion of the public’s right to know category. Reporters George Pawlaczyk and Beth Hundsdorfer were awarded third place in that category.
Sports reporter Norm Sanders won honorable mention in the sports feature category.
Photographer Steve Nagy placed third in the photo series category for his photographs of prison ministry. Photographer Derik Holtmann also won second place in that same category for capturing a wedding held at a metro-east area White Castle restaurant. Holtmann was also awarded an honorable mention in the general news photo category.
Photographer Zia Nizami placed second place among the best sports photos, and photographer Tim Vizer won for third place in the personality portrait category.
Features editor Patrick Kuhl won second place for original column.
News editor Jason Koch won second place in both the headline writing and special section categories.
The state press association had its annual advertising awards ceremony in Normal on Thursday afternoon. BND staff also received a number of honors at that ceremony.
Beth Wiesemann won first place for best ad designer and best rich media online. Wiesemann also earned second place for best rich media online and an honorable mention in the best ad series category.
Erin Rinderer was awarded first place in the best small ad category.
Chad Jones took second place for best small ad.
Denise Rollberg earned third place for best community focus special section.
Lucy Burton won honorable mention for best ad designer.
Paige Baumgartner was awarded first place for best house ad, best newspaper-designed insert and honorable mention for best full-color ad.
Baumgartner also won third place in the best niche publication category for its 618 Magazine. Judges said the magazine had “really cool stories and photos. Outstanding cover...anyone would grab this and give it a look.”
Jamie Phelps, of the Highland News-Leader, finished in first place for best ad series and another first place along with the newspaper’s advertising staff for best shared page and best spot-color ad.
The News-Leader also won third place and honorable mention for best community focus section.