Reporters and photographers from the Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Gazette and Colorado Politics won 22 Colorado Press Association awards on Saturday.
The stories ranged from covering the drought and its impact on a fifth-generation rancher in El Paso County to the toll the Central 70 project took on two Denver neighborhoods.
Journalists working for newspapers won 13 first-place awards and nine second-place awards. Additionally, students from CU Boulder’s News Corps program, in conjunction with The Denver Gazette, won first place for Best Editorial Collaboration.
The first prize stories included:
- High and Dry: Colorado In Drought – A Disaster-Hit El Paso County 5th Generation Rancher by Forrest Czarnecki won first place for Best Environmental Story. It is part of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s “High and Dry Series” and follows the life of Gary Paul. Paul and other ranchers were among the hardest hit by the 2020 drought, where Denver saw 6 inches of rainfall less than average.
- “Denver’s Central 70 project: Digging in troubled ground” was a collaboration between University of Colorado Boulder students Tayler Shaw, Lauren Smith and Tory Lysik and Carol McKinley of The Denver Gazette. This story details the lingering effects of freeway construction and the impact the Central 70 project will continue to have on residents of two Denver neighborhoods.
- The Out There Colorado Summer/Fall 2021 Guide won first place for Best Editorial Special Section.
- “Charging Ahead: What must Colorado do to put nearly a million vehicles on the road by 2030?” by Joey Bunch and Dennis Huspeni took first place for best environmental story. This story details all the challenges associated with Gov. Jared Polis’ goal of having one million electric vehicles on Colorado’s roads by 2030.
- “Right to Record,” a series by Ernest Luning and Michael Karlik of Colorado Politics, won first place for best series or continuing coverage. “Right to Record” explored a viewer’s right to record the font.
- Michael Karlik’s “Risky Analogy” won first prize for best public service project and covers the divide between appeals judges and trial judges with illustrations in a courtroom.
- Scott Weiser and Luige Del Puerto won first prize in the best reporting category for their coverage of a utility price spike in December last year.
- Evan Wyloge and Marianne Goodland won first place for Best Investigative Record, “Redistricting.”
- Joey Bunch, Marianne Goodland, and Luige Del Puerto won first place for Best Corporate/Health Reporting. The story focused on the mental health of children amid a wave of gun violence in Colorado and the country’s problem with mass shootings.
- Ernest Luning took home the top prize for Best Headline Writing with this gem: “South Platte’s dirty past promises an unblemished future.” The story details the problems faced by the South Platte River, but looks to the future of the river as groups and governments attempt to revitalize it.
- Marianne Goodland made the judges laugh more than anyone and won first place in the category of best comedy column. His chronicles of the great (or terrible, depending on who you ask) rubber band war added a dimension of humor to the Statehouse’s political coverage.
- The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Nichole Montanez won first place for Best Cover Design.
- Chancey Bush won the top prize for Best Feature Cinematography.
Second place prize:
- The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Christian Murdock won two second prizes for Best Photography Portfolio and his Ute Mountain Tribal Park Gallery won Best Slideshow.
- Chancey Bush won second place in sports photography for a photo titled “Upended.”
- Marianne Goodland won second place for Best Farming Story when she covered Polis’ unfortunate “MeatOut Day” and the resulting surge in purchases of beef and other meat products.
- Colorado Politics won a runner-up for the ongoing series and coverage of its “River Towns” series. It covered towns along Colorado’s rivers and sought to “tell the story of a state as reflected in its water, its people, and its future, with the past as its prologue.”
- Ernest Luning won second place for Writing Serious Columns for his December column “Trail Mix: Candidate switcheroos are nothing new in Colorado.”
- Marianne Goodland’s “Capitol M: Thank God it’s Sine Die” earned her a second-place finish.
- Joey Bunch won second place for his River Towns story which covered the history of the Big Thompson River and Estes Park.
- Marianne Goodland and Pat Poblete won for their investigative article on Statehouse finances, including detailing the 30 days of spending when the Statehouse was not in session.
- Colorado Politics’ Joey Bunch won second place in the Public Service Project category for his coverage of pro-criminal public policy leading to an increase in Denver’s crime rate.