DuBOIS — The Courier Express/Tri-County Weekend (formerly Tri County Sunday) and its sister publications, The Progress News and The Leader-Vindicator, won eight awards in the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association’s 2020 Keystone Press Awards contest for their work during 2019.
The winners of the competition, which recognizes outstanding journalism in Pennsylvania, were announced Thursday.
Jessica Welsh, page designer, won first place in news page design. The design award was for the Courier Express front pages on Feb. 18 of the opening of the Soul Platter Cafe, and March 4 of Doolittle’s Dinosaurs, and the Tri County Sunday front page on March 10 of “Switched at Birth Revealed 75 Years Later.”
Denny Bonavita won second place for writing Courier Express editorials on “A Local Opinion: Kavanaugh mess shows the folly of getting blotto”; “Winter weather brings us more I-80 bridge wrecks”; and “Can our sheriffs check references for gun permits?” He also won second place for writing Courier Express columns on “When men come to depend on Depends”; Sadness, anger over abuses then, redemption?”; and “What is now ours also still touches others.”
Progress Editor Julie Noal won second place in the business or consumer category for her June 24 story entitled, “Funeral home installs crematory in Clearfield,” featuring the Kevin A. Beardsley Funeral Home and Crematory Inc.
Leader-Vindicator Editor Josh Walzak won second place in the special section category entitled, “Trail Guide.”
Courier Express Sports Editor Chris Wechtenhiser won an honorable mention in the sports beat reporting category for coverage of the baseball and softball Little League All-Stars.
Courier Express writer Elaine Haskins won an honorable mention in the personality profile category for her story entitled, “Chef Todd, Soul Platter Café – a perfect blend.” The story featured Todd Seligman, a certified executive chef, who volunteers at the nonprofit, “pay-what-you-can” restaurant in downtown DuBois.
Progress writer Dianne Byers won an honorable mention for her food page columns, “Cooking with Dianne.”
“I am really proud of everyone,” Publisher Pat Patterson said upon learning of the awards. “The writers and editors at all of these newspapers are dedicated and talented and work hard day in and day out to keep our readers informed and entertained. These awards are well deserved.”
“We appreciate this recognition and these people — Jessica, Julie, Dianne, Chris, Elaine and Denny — certainly deserve and have earned it. They are very talented and the area and our newspapers are lucky to have them,” said David Sullens, editor of the Courier Express and executive editor of the East Coast Group of Community Newspaper Group.
“It is an honor to be recognized by other journalists for our work,” Noal said of this year’s contest, which was judged by journalists in Colorado. “We write to serve our readers and do the best we can to improve the communities where we work.”
“I’m happy that the 2019 Trail Guide was recognized with an award this year,” Walzak said of the annual publication that looks at the Redbank Valley, Armstrong and other trails in the area. “We work closely with the trail groups, so that project is a total team effort that we are very proud of.”
The Courier Express and the Progress competed against Pennsylvania daily newspapers of 10,000 circulation or less. The weekly Leader-Vindicator competed with weekly publications of 6,000 or less.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the May 30 awards banquet has been canceled. The Pennsylvania News Association is considering rescheduling or holding a virtual banquet. Awards will be mailed to all winners throughout the summer.