Colorado Community Media journalists shine in multi-state contest

Three reporters each won at least two first-place awards in SPJ event

Colorado Community Media won 10 awards in the recent Society of Professional Journalists' Top of the Rockies contest.
Colorado Community Media won 10 awards in the recent Society of Professional Journalists' Top of the Rockies contest.
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Colorado Community Media journalists won 10 awards in a contest for daily and weekly newspapers in a four-state region.

Seven of CCM’s awards were first-place honors in the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Top of the Rockies contest. The awards, which recognized work published in 2018, were presented May 3 at the Denver Press Club.

CCM reporters Alex DeWind, Jessica Gibbs and David Gilbert each won multiple first-place awards.

Entries came from Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming. Weekly and daily publications were grouped together, based on the size of the newspapers’ circulation, meaning the number of papers distributed. CCM’s winning entries were from the Elbert County News, the Golden Transcript, the Littleton Independent — each of which competed in the less-than-10,000 circulation classification — and the Highlands Ranch Herald in the 10,000-29,999 class.

The awards were presented on the heels of CCM’s 50 honors in the Colorado Press Association’s annual contest in April. The family-owned company, which publishes 18 weekly and three monthly newspapers in the Denver metro area, has won more than 150 awards over the past three years.

The Society of Professional Journalists, based in Indianapolis, is a national organization that was founded in 1909. The not-for-profit group works to “improve and protect” journalism and promote “high standards of ethical behavior,” its website states.

An overview of CCM’s awards in the SPJ contest:

Highlands Ranch Herald

• Alex DeWind, Jessica Gibbs, Nick Puckett, Ann Macari Healey, Kayla Cornett — first place, health enterprise reporting, for the “Time to Talk” series on the state of mental health in Douglas County

• Jessica Gibbs, Alex DeWind — first place, breaking news story, for coverage of the shooting death of a Douglas County deputy

• Jessica Gibbs — first place, marijuana general reporting, for the story of a teenager’s struggles with substance abuse

• Alex DeWind — first place, education enterprise reporting, for an in-depth report on the impact of social media on teens’ mental health

• Alex DeWind — second place, health: general reporting, for a comprehensive look at efforts to prevent suicide in the community

• Alex DeWind, Jessica Gibbs, Nick Puckett, Ann Macari Healey, Kayla Cornett — third place, public service, for the “Time to Talk” series on the state of mental health in Douglas County

Littleton Independent

• David Gilbert — first place, general reporting (series or package), for coverage of a fatal apartment complex fire and its impact on the lives of the seniors who lived there

• Ellis Arnold — third place, investigative/enterprise reporting, for the “No Place to Call Home” series on homelessness

Golden Transcript

Christy Steadman — first place, science and technology enterprise reporting, for an in-depth look at the challenges faced by women and girls in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)

Elbert County News

David Gilbert — first place, investigative/enterprise reporting, for multiple reports on the legacy of a slain rural school teacher and the complicated case of the man accused of killing him

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