News-Gazette honored with state, national awards

·3 min read

Jun. 12—News-Gazette collects 27 state awards; D'Alessio among E&P's best

The News-Gazette, which for seven consecutive years has been named the state's best medium-sized newspaper by the Illinois Press Association, won five first-place awards and 27 overall in the 2021 editorial contest.

Final awards, including general excellence and sweepstakes, will be announced at the IPA's 157th annual convention on Aug. 10-12 in Springfield. The News-Gazette this year is competing for the Stuart R. Paddock Memorial Trophy, awarded to the winner in the state's highest circulation category.

The haul was highlighted by a pair of first-place awards (community service, investigative reporting) tied to Editor Jeff D'Alessio's "Gun Violence: A Community Conversation." The News-Gazette also won first place in two photo categories: portrait personality (Anthony Zilis on kidney-transplant recipient Tori McCoy) and online gallery (Photo Editor Robin Scholz and staff's coverage of tributes to slain Champaign police Officer Chris Oberheim). The final first-place award was for distinguished coverage of diversity (D'Alessio).

"As with every award we've won the past eight years, no matter who's name is on it, these were all total team efforts," D'Alessio said. "And I wouldn't trade this team for anyone anywhere."

Also:

* The News-Gazette's Sunday sports section has been named one of the country's 10 best in the Associated Press Sports Editors contest. It marked the 12th consecutive year with at least one Top 10 finish for The News-Gazette, which has been honored 38 times since 1996 in judging for daily, Sunday and special sections.

The News-Gazette this year was joined in the Top 10 by the Indianapolis Star, Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Buffalo News, The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), The (Scranton, Pa.) Times-Tribune, The Villages (Fla.) Daily Sun, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer and The Salt Lake Tribune.

"The expectations of putting out an informative, entertaining and visually appealing section are there every day," Sports Editor Matt Daniels said. "We always strive to live up to the words that are at the top of our section: 'Consistently recognized among the nation's best.' We're proud to get that distinction once again."

Winners will be recognized at the APSE national convention, set for Wednesday through Saturday in Indianapolis.

* For its "Gun Violence: A Community Conversation," The News-Gazette was named honorable mention on Editor & Publisher's annual "10 Publishers That Do It Right" list. It marked the seventh time since 2015 that The News-Gazette was recognized by Editor & Publisher, including three Top 10 finishes.

Editor & Publisher also named D'Alessio an Editor Extraordinaire — one of 15 in the country.

"Simply put, Jeff's the best in the business," said Jim Rossow, vice president of news. "It shows in every print edition, special section and online offering that has our name on it.

"He loves what he does and the community he serves."