DAVENPORT, Iowa--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mary Junck, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Lee Enterprises, Incorporated (NYSE: LEE), announced today the winners of 2013 Lee President’s Awards for outstanding journalism, innovation and spirit.
“The achievements we honor with these awards represent only a glimpse of the vital service we provide every day as, by far, the leading source of news, information and advertising in our markets,” she said. “The powerful journalism highlighted here illustrates the extraordinary impact we contribute to our communities. Year after year, our Innovation winners have made our company better – and, in fact, over the last dozen years, 19 of the winning initiatives have become blueprints for standard operating procedures. Also, as you’ll see in reading the testimonials for our Spirit winner and finalists, we draw inspiration from the remarkable deeds of our fellow employees.”
EXCELLENCE IN NEWS
The news award recognizes outstanding achievement in any aspect of print and online journalism, from reporting and writing to photography, video, graphics and presentation.
- Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, for “Losing Ground,” a stark examination of why one in three Tucson children live in poverty. The series prompted more than 500 people to volunteer as reading coaches for at-risk children. Readers also have donated more than $25,000 to Reading Seed, a local nonprofit that trains and organizes tutors. The Community Foundation of Southern Arizona announced it will award $200,000 in grants to programs that target childhood poverty. In response to a story that described two boys sleeping on the floor, a furniture store donated 40 beds to children in one poor neighborhood. Other readers donated cash, clothes, books and school supplies. One woman bought three tons of sand for the playground at an inner-city school. Sharing the award are Stephanie Innes, Carli Brosseau, Emily Bregel, Alexis Huicochea, Sarah Garrecht Gassen, Momta Popat, Mike Christy, Chiara Bautista, Kelly Presnell, Samantha Munsey and Jim Maish. Details
- Billings Gazette, in Billings, Montana, for “State of Despair,” revealing a horrifying epidemic of suicide in Montana, at a greater frequency than any other place in the nation and at twice the national average. The series received extensive recognition from mental health organizations, public officials and readers, and it was cited on the floor of the U.S. Senate during discussion of military suicides. The judges praised Cindy Uken for powerful reporting, sensitive writing and provocative interviews with Montanans touched by suicides of loved ones. She shares the award with city editor Chris Jorgensen, designer Rob McDonald, photographer James Woodcock and videographer Lloyd Blunk. One judge observed, “I’m sure they saved peoples’ lives.” Details
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch for “Death on the Rails” – a series exposing the astonishing extent of pedestrian deaths on railroad tracks and how the problem has been largely ignored. Todd C. Frankel’s reporting on thousands of pages of court documents and regulatory filings, along with interviews with the families of more than 90 victims, railroad workers, regulators and safety experts, showed that railroads had fought efforts to provide more detail of where pedestrians were being killed, making it impossible to identify sites needing safety improvements. His reporting also showed that rail companies had admitted ignoring obvious signs of people walking on their rails, and that engineers at times failed to brake or even slow down when they spotted people in the path of a train. Frankel shares the award with photographer David Carson. Details
- The Post-Star in Glens Falls, New York, for “Who Takes Care of Us?” – a nine-part series on the state of care for the elderly, the current problems and pending future crisis. Sharing the award are Jon Alexander, Todd Kehoe, Ken Tingley, Meg Hagerty, Lindsey Hollenbaugh, Jason McKibben, Jamie Munks, Derek Pruitt, Bill Toscano, Will Doolittle and Maury Thompson. One judge remarked: “I was very taken by their ability to speak to issues that I think are on the minds of so many readers and they addressed it in ways that people could act on. That was very impressive. This is a subject I think that is often overlooked and I've rarely seen it so very well explained.” Details
- The Times of Northwest Indiana, based in Munster, for “Children in Peril” by Marisa Kwiatkowski, revealing the heart-wrenching struggles of families to find help for children with severe mental illnesses or developmental disabilities. In response to the series, state officials announced a series of steps, including regulation changes and funding of $25 million to address the problem. Kwiatkowski’s series won the 2013 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism from the U.S. Journalism Center on Children and Families. She also received the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi public service award. Details
- Wisconsin State Journal in Madison for “Doctor Discipline,” a series that examined the medical board’s use of reprimands, explored cases of apparent malpractice that resulted in no discipline at all, and discussed whether the board needs more resources or authority. The series blended patients’ personal stories with details and data from documents. It generated significant reader response and led the medical board to create a disciplinary guidelines committee to review guidelines in other states. The judges especially praised the public service, writing, impressive fact-gathering and creation of an extensive, interactive database of 218 cases. The award honors reporter David Wahlberg, web editor Nick Heynen, assistant city editor Beth Williams and city editor Phil Brinkman. Details
Judges for Excellence in News were Cate Barron, editor of The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and vice president of content for PA Media Group; Rick Thames, editor of The Charlotte Observer; and Richard Cole, dean emeritus of the School of Journalism and professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
They gave honorable mentions to Rob Chaney and Kurt Wilson of the Missoulian in Missoula, Montana, for coverage of wildfires, noting the exceptional photography and the journalists’ courage, and to Peter Salter and the staff of the Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska for “Shattered Silence, Shattered Lives,” gripping storytelling and strong digital presentation of a haunting tragedy.
The innovation award recognizes an individual or team for creating or significantly advancing an idea that drives revenue, builds audiences or serves customers better.
- Casper Star-Tribune Communications in Casper, Wyoming, for developing a series of initiatives that have produced explosive growth in digital retail advertising revenue. Sharing the award are Advertising Director Janet Johnson and Marketing Director Nicole Ott. With an intense focus on products, structure, sales tools and training, the staff achieved revenue growth of 77% in premium banner sales in the first four months of the program.
- LeeLocal, for identifying and developing a comprehensive portfolio of digital marketing services for midsize and small businesses. Services include search engine marketing, reputation strategy products, Facebook advertising, social media management products, custom web and mobile development, e-commerce and development of business category directory listings. The award is shared by the LeeLocal team of Meagan Danielsen, Rachael Pracht, Jason Stevens, Angela Panicucci, Ryan Tornquist, Amber Ewoldt and Richard Brashear, in collaboration with the Lee corporate sales and digital development staff members Tim D’Avis, Kate Murphy and Peg Miller.
- Capital Newspapers in Madison, Wisconsin, for developing a digital command center that monitors, curates and distributes shareable content across nearly 50 Lee sites and associated digital products. The editorial team also coordinates wire.lee.net, a content-sharing project that has generated more than 2.3 million page views for Lee sites since ramping up over the past several months. The digital command center team includes Jeff Bauer, Amethyst Begley, Jason Dean, Teryl Franklin, Rob Hernandez, Nick Heynen, Tim Kelley, Jon Kramer, Staci Northouse, Jeff Richgels, Jeff Roll, Kerin Rue, Ryan Smith, Laura Sparks, Bryan Watson and Todd Wengel.
- The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg, South Carolina, for developing events and products that drive non-traditional revenue and build audiences. Programs include sponsored events such as cooking shows, gardening workshops, pet contests, silent auctions, coloring books and story books, along with non-traditional special sections for charitable giving, employee recognition and safety awareness. The award is shared by all members of the advertising department.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, for becoming a national leader in video innovation. Video views on STLtoday.com have increased more than 10-fold in two years -- from less than 100,000 to more than 1.1 million plays each month, providing increased revenue. The video team includes Gary Hairlson, Huy Mach, Bryan Burwell, Bernie Miklasz, Aisha Sultan, Dave Matter, Derrick Goold, Rick Hummel, Catherine Neville, Josh Renaud, Chris Lee, Jim Thomas, Bob Rose, Beth Wiggins, Teresa Griffin, Donna Bischoff and Melody Favazza.
- Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, for setting the community abuzz with “Pizza Madness,” a social networking campaign to find the winning pizza restaurant from a field of 32 contestants. Over 11 weeks, the contest generated 21,946 likes on Facebook, while restaurants campaigned for votes and even media competitors covered the standings brackets. The award is shared by Irene McKisson, Inger Sandal, Danny Ramirez, Samantha Munsey and Johanna Eubank.
Judges for the innovation category were Brad Harmon, vice president of sales and marketing at GateHouse Media, Inc.; Barbara Cohen, president and founder of Kannon Consulting; and Herbert W. Moloney III, an independent director of Lee and longtime advertising and publishing executive.
The judges gave an honorable mention to the Arizona Daily Star for a program to build key local accounts, and to The Daily News in Longview, Washington, for developing a popular prep football magazine.
The Lee Spirit Award recognizes outstanding personal commitment to our company and the people we serve.
The winner is Scott Kinter, operations manager at Courier Communications in Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa, who has earned admiration for outstanding, selfless service at The Courier, elsewhere in Lee and in the community. Among other recent honors, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa named him 2013 Big of the Year. See: Nomination letter and testimonials. He is among 20 finalists being honored: Spirit Finalists.
Lee Enterprises is a leading provider of local news and information, and a major platform for advertising, in its markets, with 46 daily newspapers and a joint interest in four others, rapidly growing digital products and nearly 300 specialty publications in 22 states. Lee's newspapers have circulation of 1.2 million daily and 1.4 million Sunday, reaching nearly four million readers in print alone. Lee's websites and mobile and tablet products attracted 23.2 million unique visitors in September 2013. Lee Common Stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LEE. For more information about Lee, please visit lee.net.