2017-02-15 / News

Spinal Column Newsweeklies win multiple journalism honors

BY NANCY BRANSTETTER
EDITOR SPINAL COLUMN HIGHLAND EDITION

At the Michigan Press Association’s annual meeting last month, the Spinal Column Newsweeklies earned 11 writing and photography awards for their work.

Journalists and media executives from North Carolina served as judges to evaluate the 3,384 entries from 107 separate MPA member print and online newspapers, specialty publications and magazines. Content entries were from August 1, 2015 through July 31, 2016.

Editor Ali Armstrong and the Spinal Column Newsweeklies staff were recognized for news, sports and photography work, which included being named runner-up as the Best Weekly Publication in Michigan. The Spinal Column Newsweeklies participate in the largest weekly newspaper category of 15,000 or more circulation. Bridge Magazine, a political and investigative specialty publication based in Lansing, took home the honor as Best Weekly Publication of the year.

The Spinal Column won second place in the state for a series of stories written by Editor Ali Armstrong on the local opioid and heroin crisis in western Oakland County. Judges were thoroughly impressed with the depth of analysis and personal stories from addicts in the series.

The Spinal Column team’s primary election Q&A series was also recognized as a balanced presentation of political candidates and their views on local issues.

“The feedback from our peers is acknowledgement of the creative and locally focused journalism work by the Spinal Column staff,” said publisher Jim Stevenson. “Ali Armstrong and the entire content team creates compelling material each week about the people, issues, organizations, businesses and activities in our communities. I’m extremely proud of their accomplishments.”

The sports staff earned first place for the Spinal Column’s annual local high school football Kickoff section. It is the second consecutive year the paper has been won the best overall special edition in the state. Entries in the category included all specific topic sections in all subjects. Sports writers Chris Wall and David Walczyk produced all of the team previews, which was supported by strong advertising support from local businesses.

Sports writer and photographer Chris Wall earned a first place award for his photograph of Detroit Catholic Central’s 2-0 regional soccer team victory in the fall of 2015. He also won second place in sports photography for a celebration photo of a Catholic Central extra inning baseball game, as well as an honorable mention for a photo of the Michigan Outlaws win in the Ultimate Fastpitch Softball Showcase game.

Dave Walczyk, part of the Spinal Column sports team, captured honorable mention for his sports feature on a former Walled Lake football star and his journey to become a member of the Michigan State Spartan football team.

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