Valley News Dispatch wins big in Golden Quill awards
Valley News Dispatch staff won five Golden Quill Awards on Monday from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, the most of any newspaper in its circulation category.
Nine VND articles and three photographs published in 2012 were finalists in the club's 49th annual awards program that recognizes excellence in written, photographic, illustration, broadcast and online journalism. The winners were announced Monday during a banquet at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel in Pittsburgh.
The VND received a total of 12 nominations, more than any other newspaper in its circulation division of 45,000 and under.
Managing Editor Jeff Domenick said he believes the entire staff turned in outstanding efforts last year that led to the paper's recognition.
“It's a culmination of the fine work that our staff puts in every day,” Domenick said. “We have talented and experienced reporters and photographers. Our editors recognize good stories and help refine them.
“We try to bring our readers the best local paper we can every day. I think if that's your goal, that gets recognition.”
Staff writer Mary Ann Thomas was the most recognized VND staff member with three nominations.
She won a Quill for her September story “Reason to Squawk,” about the high-flying price of chicken wings in the Food Feature category.
Her other nominations/awards were for “Curtiss Wright Strike” in the Business/Technology/Consumer Article or Series category about the summer labor negotiations at the Harmar plant; and “Nuclear Cleanup Costs Expected to Skyrocket” in the Health/Science/Environment Article or Series category about the ongoing cleanup of nuclear contamination in a Parks Township landfill.
Thomas of Etna is a University of Pittsburgh graduate who has worked for the VND and other Trib Total Media publications for more than a dozen years.
Staff writers Brian C. Rittmeyer, Rex Rutkoski and Tom Yerace each won a Quill award.
Rittmeyer won in the Spot News category for his story “Plaza Burns,” about the fire that heavily damaged Harrison's Heights Plaza Shopping Center in December.
In the History/Culture Article or Series category, he was a finalist for “From Eyesore to Treasure Chest,” a June article about the efforts of Larry and Irene Kepple to restore a decaying election house in Gilpin.
Rittmeyer, 41, of Plum is a graduate of Penn State University. He has worked for Trib Total Media since 2000 and as a VND staff writer since 2008.
Rutkoski's win in the Arts and Entertainment Article, Series or Criticism category was the tenth Golden Quill Award of his 47-year career at the VND. His November story “Nashville Dreams” was a profile of Lower Burrell native Kellie Lynne Schriver's successful progress in country music since she moved to Nashville.
Rutkoski, 65, of Freeport also was nominated for “Song In Her Heart” in the Education category. The April story was about Megan Jarrett, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Tender Care Learning Center in New Kensington who earned a national award for a music project at Tender Care.
Yerace won a Quill in the same health/science/environment reporting category in which Thomas also was a finalist. His “Neighborhood Menace” story was about the problems created by buildings that once housed clandestine methamphetamine laboratories.
Yerace also was nominated in the Feature Article or Series category for the retrospective “Social Conscience of the Valley” about former VND owner/publisher Gene Simon, who died in May.
Yerace, 61, of Lower Burrell is a graduate of Penn State University and has worked for Trib Total Media publications since 1979.
Two Valley News Dispatch photographers also were nominated for Quills.
Eric Felack won the Spot News Photography award for “Dad Saves Son,” which featured a young boy who was injured in a Tarentum car accident in April. The photography Quill awards are not circulation-based, meaning Felack was up against entries from all newspapers in the Press Club.
His competition included himself: his “Ninth Street Inferno” photo, which showed a firefighter scrambling off the roof of a burning Tarentum house in December, was a finalist in the same category. The third finalist in that category was former VND photographer Justin Merriman, now with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Felack, 58, of New Kensington has worked at the VND for 33 years. He has received more than 20 Golden Quill nominations in his career.
Erica Hilliard Dietz was nominated for “Winter Cold” in the Feature Photography category for her photo of a mother and child backlit by the setting sun as they walked in Tarentum in February.
Dietz, 27, of Winfield, is a first-time nominee. A graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, she's worked at the VND for three years.
Including the VND's five awards, Trib Total Media won a total of 13 Golden Quills.
Other Trib newspapers
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review won seven Golden Quills in the competition among daily newspapers with a circulation of more than 45,000. The weekly Sewickley Herald picked up one award in non-daily newspaper competition.
WPXI-TV, news partner of Trib Total Media, won five awards.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigative reporters Lou Kilzer and Andrew Conte and editor Jim Wilhelm won three awards, including the Ray Sprigle Memorial Award (best of show), for their series, “$hadow Economy.”
The investigation revealed more than $21 trillion hidden in offshore accounts, off-limits to the United States and other countries with struggling economies. The series also won a national business reporting award from Scripps Howard.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alle-Kiski Valley businesses profit from jump in tourism
- Highlands students fired up about NYC trip
- Vermont Baptist Church warmly welcomed in New Kensington
- 3 charged with selling heroin that killed Lower Burrell woman
- Oakmont hit-run probed
- Despite challenging weather, home sales continue to rise
- Leechburg man charged with molesting girls, watching child pornography
- Months of hard work go into Alle-Kiski high-school musicals
- Robbery was likely motive in fatal Leechburg shooting
- Retired teacher pushes black history forward at Peoples Library presentation
- Record-breaking temps could make February the coldest one since 1979