Most of the journalists I’ve encountered over my 25 years in the newspaper business have shunned attention, preferring instead to let the subjects of their stories and photographs get top billing.
But this week, I’m yanking them out of the background because they deserve a little bit of fanfare.
The small-but-mighty team here at the Bucks County Herald grabbed 12 Keystone Media Awards in the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association’s annual journalism contest.
Announced earlier this month, the 2023 contest recognizes 2022’s best work in various divisions.
Ours is “weekly general news publications with a circulation of greater than 6,000.”
In the “Enterprise Reporting” category, first prize went to reporter Freda Savana for her coverage of the questions raised by four deaths in six months at the Bucks County Correctional Facility. Savana also grabbed second place in the “Ongoing News Coverage” category for the stories she wrote revolving around the criminal case against Central Bucks West music department chair Joseph Ohrt.
In the “Sports Enterprise” category, reporter Don Leypoldt took first place for his August story about Charlie Morton’s career as a Major League Baseball pitcher.
Photographer Michael Apice won first place in not one, but two categories. For “Sports Feature Photo,” he was awarded the top prize for his photograph of the Holy Ghost Prep baseball team celebrating the District One 4A championship in May 2022. Apice’s other win, for “Sports Action Photo” was for an image taken at the Pennridge vs. Central Bucks South soccer game. Apice also received an honorable mention in the same category for a photograph from a football playoff game between Central Bucks West and Garnet Valley.
Savana, Apice and Leypoldt work for the Herald as freelance reporters and photographers.
The newspaper’s staff members also fared well in the competition.
Production Manager Michael Naylor won first place in the “Feature Page Design” category for his 2022 PrideFest Photo Feature page.
Top honors in the “Special Section” category went to Art Director Ron Dacanay, Herald Publishing Executive Director Ann Meredith and Special Publications Manager Felicia Zegler for “Bucks Family Magazine.” The trio of Dacanay, Meredith and Zegler took second place in the same category for “Bucks Living.”
A second place prize went to Editor Regina Young in the “News Event Photo” category for an image she captured in September at the Buckingham Friends School groundbreaking.
Editor Jodi Spiegel Arthur picked up an honorable mention in the “Personality Profile” for her January piece titled “Singer-songwriter Avi Wisnia’s new album inspired by grandfather’s legacy as Holocaust survivor.”
Finally, the team that assembled the Herald’s 9-minute “Miracle in Bucks County” video — local film producer Thomas Brunt; documentarian and Herald Foundation board member Jennifer Lin; and Meredith — won first place in the “Features Video” category.
“It was a great showing by a great group of writers, editors and photographers,” said founding editor Bridget Wingert.
It was Wingert who oversaw the team’s award-winning work in 2022 and put together the contest entries over the winter.
When I stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief in late December, I counted the quality of the staff and the freelance writers and photographers among the Herald’s most valuable assets. It’s a true pleasure to work with them every day and, six months into my tenure here, I can say that none of them is in this for awards.
But I’m happy to brag about them when they win some.
On behalf of the Herald’s award-winning team, I hope you enjoy this week’s edition.
John Anastasi is Editor-in-Chief of the Bucks County Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.