Share This Page

Valley News Dispatch staffers honored by 3 Pennsylvania media groups

| Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 12:26 a.m.
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch chief photographer
Trib Total Media
Valley News Dispatch staff photographer Jason Bridge
Erica Hilliard Dietz, Valley News Dispatch staff photographer
Liz Hayes, Valley News Dispatch staff writer
Brian Rittmeyer, Valley News Dispatch staff writer
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispa
Emily Balser of the Valley News Dispatch
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Braden Ashe of Valley News Dispatch

Valley News Dispatch reporters and photographers received numerous statewide awards on Friday night from the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors, the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association and the Pennsylvania chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The awards were distributed during the annual Pennsylvania Press Conference in State College.

Valley News Dispatch photographer Eric Felack won a first place PAPME award for his feature photo, “School days begin,” which shows a mother saying goodbye to her child outside an elementary school on the first day of class.

Felack won the third place Spotlight Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in the daily news photography category for “Tragedy averted,” a photo that shows police talking a man out of jumping from the Tarentum Bridge.

VND photographers Jason Bridge and Erica Hilliard Deitz also were honored with SPJ Spotlight awards.

Bridge won first place in the daily feature photo category for “A Higher Calling,” his photo of a worker ascending a ladder at a Brackenridge church. The same photo won a second place Keystone award from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association for feature photo.

Deitz won third place in the daily feature photo SPJ category for “Fun in the sun,” a photo of a man spinning his daughter in Harrison Hills Park, and a third place in the SPJ sports photo category for “Showdown set,” a photo of two high school soccer players trying to “head” a ball at the same time.

Writers honored

VND reporters Liz Hayes, Braden Ashe and Brian Rittmeyer won a second-place PAPME award in business writing for “Classes dismissed,” a story about the abrupt closings of the Newport Business Institute and Oakbridge Academy of Arts.

Rittmeyer and Hayes earned a second place PAPME award in spot news reporting for “Tarentum, Kiski miners hurt,” a story about two miners who were injured during a rock fall in a Kiski Township coal mine.

Mary Ann Thomas won a second-place PAPME award in feature writing for “Built on Bricks,” a story about the former General Refractories property in Bell Township.

VND writer Rex Rutkoski won a second-place Keystone award from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association for feature beat reporting for his coverage of art and an honorable mention in the same category for his coverage of music. Both awards were for a section of his stories covering arts and music.

VND sportswriter Bill West won a second-place Keystone award for “Ace finds his place,” a sports story about a 31-year-old Leechburg native who gave up a promising pitching career to win big as a full-time poker pro who lives in Las Vegas.

Intern honored

VND reporting intern Emily Balser was honored by the Pennsylvania Women's Press Association on Saturday.

A Point Park University graduate, Balser received a first-place award for a collection of stories.

One focused on a blogger who encourages women to go without makeup. Another was about news that the bald eagle might no longer be endangered in the state. The third story was about a Blawnox business owner who raises money for underprivileged children.

Her stories appeared on the Point Park News Service website and were published by The Allegheny Front and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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.