Members of the Record-Journal newsroom staff won 17 awards in the 2020 Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists contest and two awards in a Local Media Association national competition.
The SPJ contest was judged by other SPJ chapters around the country.
Dave Zajac received a first and second place award in the feature photo category. His photo — “Moon over eagle on landing anniversary” —took first place and “Powderpuff cheerleader goes airborne,” won second place.
In the feature story category, Bailey Wright earned first place for her story about The Landmark Diner in Meriden reopening in October.
Kevin Markowski won both first and second place in the editorial cartoon category. His cartoon, “Honk if you hate tolls,” took first place and “Town’s slow online evolution” received second place.
Glenn Richter earned first place in the humorous column category with “A post mortem for Latin.”
The Record-Journal also took home second and third place in the video storytelling category. Richie Rathsack and Mary Ellen Godin won second place with the story about the fire at Tops Marketplace in Southington and Ashley Kus won third place with her story on the Kensington State Fish Hatchery supervisor discussing the fishing season.
In the Local Media Association competition, the Record-Journal won first place in the Best New Digital Initiative category for candidates under 750,000 unique visitors. The newsroom designed an experiment that dedicated a reporter to focus on creating content related to food and drink. The effort focused on new restaurants, interesting menu items, recipes and other food-related content. On the website, it has its own section entitled, “RJ Food & Drink.”
The Record-Journal also won third place in the Best Local Website category for candidates over 250,000 unique visitors. The judges commented that the website has very few intrusive ads and focuses on hyperlocal stories.
Here are the other Record-Journal winners from the SPJ contest:
Business- Second Place
Southington bar may end live music after copyright suit; Jesse Buchanan
Continuing Coverage- Third Place
Following the search for Meriden mother Perrie Mason; Lauren Sellew, Ashley Kus, Matthew Zabierek
Editorial- Second Place
New group starts by meeting behind closed doors; Jeffery Kurz
General Column- Third Place
Meriden’s East Cemetery gets the respect it deserves; Jeffery Kurz
Government- Second Place
Decades later, Meriden taxpayers strapped by ‘old sins’; Matthew Zabierek
Campaign donors have ties to Southington developer; Jesse Buchanan
Tabletop gaming opportunities at The Dragon’s lair in Wallingford; Ashley Kus
Leisure- Third Place
Southington restaurant Nataz puts emphasis on quality, adventure; Bailey Wright
Sports Photo- Second Place
Fighting for the ball; Aaron Flaum