RJ staff recognized in regional, national contests

reporter photo

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

Investigative- Second-Place

Campaign donors have ties to Southington developer; Jesse Buchanan

Leisure- Second-Place 

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

jsimms@record-journal.com203-317-2208Twitter: @jessica_simms99

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