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The Durango Herald wins 34 awards in Colorado press competition

Newspaper honored for design, photography, public service and breaking news
Durango Police Chief Bob Brammer pursues Jonah Barrett-Lesko on Sept. 21, 2021, in the Animas River at Santa Rita Park after he escaped from the La Plata County Jail. Barrett-Lesko eventually gave himself up without a struggle. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The Durango Herald won 34 press awards last weekend at the Colorado Press Association’s annual contest, including the Sweepstakes Award for best in its class.

In all, the Herald won 18 first-place awards and 15 second-place awards. That is more awards than any other media outlet to participate in the competition, which included 57 print and online publications. Six of the awards went to advertising, and 27 went to the Herald's newsroom, including nine to Photo Editor Jerry McBride.

“Love the approach of telling personal stories and also getting the sources to offer policy solutions,” a judge wrote in awarding the Herald a public service award.

The contest covered editorial, advertising, and photo and design work published from Nov. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021.

The Herald competed in a class with seven other publications, including Colorado Newsline and Montrose Daily Press. Earlier this year, the paper won 34 press awards in the Top of the Rockies contest.

“The Herald has talented reporters, editors and page designers – and Jerry McBride – but without readers and advertisers their work would be for naught,” said Richard G. Ballantine, chairman of the board of Ballantine Communications Inc., the parent company of the Herald.

“Thanks to those who use the Herald in print and digital forms to follow and to participate in city and county goings-on, and to support and to grow their businesses,” he added. “To be recognized by judges who know journalism is rewarding, but it is community use and support that means the most.”

The CPA awards include:

Breaking news/deadline reporting: “Colorado father sentenced to prison for killing 13-year-old son, Dylan Redwine,” the culmination of a 9-year-old murder investigation in which Mark Redwine was sentenced to 48 years in prison for the death of his son, by Shane Benjamin, first place.

Breaking news/deadline reporting: “Man escapes from La Plata County Jail, is arrested in Animas River,” about a man who escaped from the La Plata County Jail but was arrested 26 minutes later by police who chased him into the Animas River, by Nicholas A. Johnson and Benjamin, second place.

Jake Riggs goes through about 15 different makeups as he transforms into Aria PettyOne in his Durango apartment before hosting “Beam Me Up Starlight” drag/trivia night at Starlight Lounge. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Education Story: “Bayfield Middle School accused of banning LGBTQ novel,” about a young adult novel, “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” featuring LGBTQ content being removed from a classroom library, by Shannon Mullane, first place.

Education Story: “Hate symbol associated with white supremacy displayed at Durango school board meeting,” about a woman who displayed a white supremacist and neo-Nazi symbol digitally during a Durango School District 9-R meeting, Christian Burney, second place.

Headline Writing: For a series of headlines, by David Buck, first place.

Health Enterprise/Health Feature Story: “Rapid testing remains elusive in fight against COVID-19,” by Aedan Hannon, second place.

Humorous Column Writing: “Political signs of the past, present and future,” from an Action Line column about all the political signs that remained up after the 2020 election, by John Peel, second place.

Investigative Story Package: “Nugget Mountain Bar and La Plata County spar over permitting,” about the struggles Nugget Mountain Bar endured with county permitting after building a deck and outside fireplace, Hannon, first place.

News Story: “New La Plata County judge places emphasis on rehabilitation, not prison,” a deep dive into La Plata County Court Judge Anne Woods’ judicial philosophy, by Jonathan Romeo, first place.

News Story: “‘Great Resignation’ hits snowplow drivers: ‘Some (people) are not going to be happy with the level of service,’” about a shortage of snowplow drivers and the city of Durango’s warning to residents that roads may not be cleared as quickly and often as in the past, by Hannon, second place.

Public Service Project: “What’s best for Durango’s unhoused?” four vignettes about four Durango-area residents who were living homeless and how they found housing, by Mullane, second place.

Jasper, a 2-year-old Maine coon/gray tabby mix, relaxes after a bath, as Leah Salazar, a groomer at Pet Haus Groom Room, holds him and Katie Ratko, salon manager, blow dries him. Jasper belongs to Jade Graves, and this is his second visit to the salon to have his fur and nails trimmed before getting a bath. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Serious Column Writing: For monthly columns about life and history in the Southwest, by Andrew Gulliford, first place.

Sports Column Writing: “Livi on the Lift: Could it be love on the lift?” a column about two people finding love in the lift line at Purgatory Resort, John Livingston, first place.

Sports or Sports Event Story: “Bodewes overcomes hallucinations to finish second in Colorado Trail Race,” about Durango cyclist Will Bodewes’ harrowing journey to finish the 526-mile Colorado Trail Race in about 4½ days, Cody Olivas, first place.

Mike Solberg competes June 11 in the bareback riding competition during the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Junior Journalist Story: “Will child tax credit be extended another year?” about U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s efforts to extend the child tax credit, by Kelsey Carolan, an intern for the Herald from American University in Washington, D.C., first place.

Best Newsletter: “Your Morning Updates,” our seven-day-a-week morning newsletter, by Herald staff, second place. (Readers can sign up for newsletters by visiting www.durangoherald.com and scrolling to the bottom of the homepage.)

Feature Photograph: “Cat bath,” McBride, first place.

Feature Photograph: “Durango drag scene,” McBride, second place.

News Photograph: “Jadah’s memorial,” McBride, first place.

News Photograph: “Jail break,” McBride, second place.

Page Design: “It’s Close,” the Page 1A design for the 2020 election results, Buck, first place.

Page Design: “To the moon,” a print page for Arts & Entertainment that featured a story about a Durango artist’s painting that was launched in space as part of a lunar time capsule, by Katie Chicklinski-Cahill, second place.

Photo Slideshow-Gallery or Photo Essay: “49th Iron Horse Bicycle Classic,” McBride, first place.

Photo Slideshow-Gallery or Photo Essay: “Wildfire erupts,” McBride, second place.

Photography Portfolio: An overall photo portfolio by McBride, first place.

Sports Photograph: “Bronc Busting,” McBride, first place.

Sports Photograph: “On top,” McBride, first place.

In advertising:

Advertising Special Section: “Best of Durango,” by Hunter Harrell, Tad Smith, Wes Rowell, Wade Campbell and Jamie Opalenik, first place.

Advertising Special Section: “Flavor Four Corners Dining Guide Spring/Summer,” by Harrell, Smith, Bridget Williams, Terrance Siemon and Cole Davis, second place.

Editorial Special Section: “Healthy Living Fall – Men & Women,” by Harrell, Smith, Rowell, Campbell and Opalenik, first place.

Editorial Special Section: “Nonprofit & Volunteer Guide,” by Harrell, Smith, Rowell, Campbell and Opalenik, second place.

Cover Design: “Explore Ouray,” by Harrell, Smith, Williams, Opalenik and Kelly Bulkley, first place.

Cover Design: “Flavor Four Corners Dining Guide Fall/Winter,” by Harrell, Smith, Rowell and Opalenik, second place.

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