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Trib entries capture 13 Golden Quills

| Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 12:27 a.m.

Trib Total Media won 13 Golden Quills for journalistic excellence at The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania's 49th annual Golden Quills Awards Banquet Monday night in the Sheraton Station Square.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review won seven Golden Quills in the competition among daily newspapers and wire services with a circulation over 45,000.

The Valley News Dispatch in Tarentum took home five awards among daily newspapers and wire services with a circulation under 45,000. The 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, for their series, “$hadow Economy.”

The series also took first place in competition for enterprise or investigative reporting and top prize for business, technology or consumer reporting.

The investigation revealed more than $21 trillion hidden in offshore accounts, off-limits to the United States and other countries with struggling economies.

To illustrate how easily offshore accounts can be established and used, two Trib reporters spent less than $1,000 to establish both a shell corporation and a linked offshore bank account in Belize. The reporters then made withdrawals from the account using an ATM in Pittsburgh. The series won a national business reporting award from Scripps Howard.

For health, science or environmental reporting, reporter Adam Smeltz and photographer Jasmine Goldband won top honors for their series, “Journey for Recovery.”

After learning that breast cancer is more likely to appear in black women younger than 40, Smeltz and Goldband explored the trend and examined the research and treatment options to address it. The stories painted intimate portraits of survivors and those battling the disease.

In sports writing, reporters Rob Rossi and Carl Prine were honored for their work investigating tax dollars funding the charities of athletes, “Competing for Tax Dollars.”

Tribune-Revew columnist Nafari Vanaski won first place for a portfolio of her work.

Jason Lanza won the top prize in animation for his work accompanying “Rules of Engagement,” a story about the slayings by an Army Small Kill Team leader of two deaf, unarmed Iraqi teen brothers tending cows in As Sadah. Lanza was the only finalist in the category.

A number of other Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staffers were finalists in the competition.

Mike Wereschagin was a finalist for feature reporting for “A Place to Bloom,” and foreign correspondent Betsy Hiel was a finalist in the history/culture category for “Egyptian Antiquities Threatened.”

Ralph N. Paulk was a finalist in the sports article or series category for his story, “Round and Round,” and photographers Christopher Horner and Justin Merriman were finalists, respectively, in the sports photography and spot news photography competition.

Randy Bish was a finalist for an editorial cartoon critical of the Boy Scouts and their stance on gay leaders.

Greensburg Tribune-Review reporters Amanda Dolasinski, Rossilynne Skena and Jewels Phraner were finalists in education writing competition for their article asking whether teacher absences affect student learning.

Trib photographer Sean Stipp was a finalist in the photo essay/special photo category and photographer Guy Wathen in the personality portrait category

Valley News Dispatch staffers Tom Yerace, Rex Rutkoski, Mary Ann Thomas, Brian Ritt-meyer and photographer Eric Felack all won Golden Quills.

Yerace was the winner in the health/science/environment article or series category for “Neighborhood Menace,” a story about clandestine methamphetamine drug laboratories.

Rutkoski won top honors in the arts and entertainment category for “Nashville Dreams,” and Thomas was honored for her food feature story, “Reason to Squawk.”

Rittmeyer won in the spot/breaking news category for “Plaza Burns,” his coverage of a fire in Harrison that left a significant part of Heights Plaza in ruins.

Felack won in the spot news photography category for his photo “Dad Saves Son,” and was a finalist in the same category for his photo “Ninth Street Inferno.”

Photographer Erica Hilliard was a finalist in the feature photography category.

Thomas was a finalist in two other categories — business/technology/consumer article or series and health/science/environment article or series.

Other finalists were Yerace in the feature article or series category; Rutkoski in the education category, and Rittmeyer in the history/culture article or series category.

Jeremy Sellew of the Valley Independent in Monessen was a finalist in the sports article or series category for daily newspapers and wire services, circulation under 45,000. Sellew also was a finalist for his column writing.

Kristina Serafini and Bobby Cherry of the Sewickley Herald won a Golden Quill in the community engagement news/online category for their story: “Community Engagement Through Use of Social Media.”

Other Trib Total Media finalists for non-daily newspapers were:

Phraner for the Ligonier Echo in the business/technology/consumer article or series category; Deborah Brehun of the Ligonier Echo in the history/culture article or series category; Stacey Federoff of The Times-Sun, based in West Newton, in the arts & entertainment category; and Stephanie Hacke of the South Hills Record in the feature article or series category, and Patrick Varine of the Penn Hills Progress in the feature article or series category.

WPXI-TV won five awards in competition among local television stations.

Honored were Mark Barash, Steve Fogle and Brian Leopold for “Take This Job and Love It,” in the public affairs/community service category; and Rick Earle, Tim Holoman and Ward Hobbs in the business/technology/consumer online category for “Stimulus Spending.”

Earle and Holoman won an award for “Drilling Dangers” in the health/science/environment story category; and Carly Noel and Rob Johnston of won for “See & Be Seen,” in the arts and entertainment online category.

The staff of WPXI won the spot/breaking news online category for “Gateway Center Hostage Situation.”

KQV-AM, Trib Total Media's radio news partner, had finalists in two categories: Dan Weinberg for his arts & entertainment story, “Dan Weinberg — On Stage”; and P.J. Maloney, Bob Bartolomeo and staff for the newscast of Dec. 12.

The Press Club recognized Rick Sebak, WQED producer, writer and narrator, with the President's Award for his career achievements in the field of journalism.

Nancy C. Jones, retired journalism educator, was honored with the Service to Journalism Award for contributions to the field of journalism.

Jessica Tully, a junior at Penn State University, received the 2013 Bob Fryer Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Young Journalist.

The premier sponsors of the 2013 Golden Quills Award ceremony are Trib Total Media and Range Resources. Lead sponsors are Frank, Gale, Bails, Murcko & Pocrass, P.C.; PR Newswire; and Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky.

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