Post Independent wins journalism honors |

Post Independent wins journalism honors

The Post Independent won several awards in journalism contests whose results were announced this month.


The Post Independent competes in the circulation group of less than 100,000 per week. This contest’s entry period was 16 months, from September 2015 through the end of 2016 because the AP is shifting to a calendar year contest period starting this year. The PI won:

• First place in public service and for best series for 2015’s “Price of Paradise” project on our area’s high cost of living and its community and individual consequences. The series topped the Durango Herald’s assessment of the Gold King Mine disaster a year later. The project’s video documentary won second place in online special package. Durango’s Gold King package was first. Judges said of “Price of Paradise”: “Launched a community discussion about a problem affecting so many people and institutions. Strong reporting from a number of perspectives.”

• First place for a collection of editorials by Publisher/editor Randy Essex, including editorials on immigration previously honored by the American Society of News Editors.

• Second and third place in feature story. Second place went to Essex and Vail Daily graphic designer Jon Scharfencamp for a data analysis of Interstate 70 closures from the western edge of Denver to the Utah border. Ryan Summerlin won third place for his interview with Carbondale Town Trustee Katrina Byars about her stretch of homelessness last year.

• Second place in investigative reporting for Essex’s story on problems with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Choice program.

• Visual journalist Chelsea Self won third place in online special package for her story and video on the difficulties of getting around the Roaring Fork Valley in winter for people with handicaps.

• Essex won third place in column writing for a collection of work about last year’s presidential campaign.


Competing in Class 7 among like-size daily newspapers and their websites, the PI won:

• First place in best large space ad, to Amanda Cerveny for Exclusive Athletic Club.

• First place in best automotive ad to Wayne Griffin for Bighorn Toyota.

• First place in best news story for John Stroud’s coverage of February’s Glenwood Canyon closure. Judges said: “This story offered great perspective on what the incident means for an entire area. … The story was well-organized. Strong writer, good attention to detail, great use of quotes.”

• First place in best use of social media in breaking news for the canyon closure, the third consecutive year the PI has won this award.

• First place in best sports story for Josh Carney’s feature on John Sherman playing rec league hockey at age 78.

• First place in best health enterprise for the VA Choice story that was second in the AP investigative category.

• Second place in public service for news coverage and editorials about the Colorado Mountain College board’s consideration of censuring a trustee and its rules against individual trustees voicing dissenting opinions outside of meetings.

• Second place for Essex’s editorials.


This contest sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists evaluates work in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico. Competing among newspapers with circulation of less than 10,000, the PI won:

• First place in editorials for a collection of Essex’s work and second place for Essex’s columns.

• John Stroud, Charlie Wertheim and former staffer Will Grandbois won third place in breaking news for first-day coverage of February’s Glenwood Canyon closure.

• Third place in investigative/enterprise reporting went to Essex and Scharfencamp for the analysis of I-70 closures.

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