ShareThis Page

Trib Total Media journalists nab 15 Golden Quills

| Friday, May 23, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Trib Total Media won 15 Golden Quills for journalistic excellence at The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania's 50th annual Golden Quill Awards banquet on Thursday night at the Sheraton Station Square.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review won five awards in competition among daily newspapers and wire services with a circulation over 45,000.

The Valley News Dispatch in Tarentum won six awards — three of them by staff writer Brian Rittmeyer — for daily newspapers and wire services with a circulation under 45,000. The Ligonier Echo won two awards for nondaily newspapers, and the South Hills Record and The Times Express of Monroeville/Pitcairn won one each.

WPXI-TV, news partner of Trib Total Media, won three awards.

H. Yale Gutnick, senior shareholder at the law firm Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky, received the President's Award for his contributions to journalism. He and his firm have represented the Trib in numerous court battles over open records and public access to government.

“The President's Award was an unexpected surprise and honor,” Gutnick said.

“It is something that must be shared with several others who have made it possible for me to receive the award. Included in this group are (Trib Total Media owner) Dick Scaife, the editors, reporters and staff of all the Trib Total Media publications as well as the attorneys in my firm who worked on all of the media litigation matters over the past 35 years. This is a very special and meaningful award.”

Andrew Conte of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review was the winner in the business/technology/consumer article or series category for “Cyber Rattling: The Next Threat,” a yearlong look at the vulnerability of the computers, cellphones and other devices that Americans rely on.

Dejan Kovacevic was honored as the top sports columnist, and photographer Guy Wathen won the personality portrait, photography competition for “Vatican Astronomer.”

Other Pittsburgh Tribune-Review winners were Melanie Wass for a portfolio of her daily page designs and Bob Newell in the news illustration category for his work on the “Enterprise 2013” special business section.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review finalists included Luis Fábregas and Conte in the enterprise/investigative article or series for “Donor Dilemma,” and Betsy Hiel for “Egypt's Shame,” in the history/culture article or series.

Chris Togneri was a finalist for three stories: “Strangers Bound by Tragedy, Triumph” in the feature article or series competition; “Anticipation,” in the business/technology/consumer article or series; and “Jackie's Backstop,” in the history/culture article or series.

Sportswriter Ralph N. Paulk was a finalist for his story, “Fiscal Cliffs Deal Steers Big Breaks to NASCAR,” and sportswriter Karen Price was a finalist for her story, “They Started in Boston but Will Finish Here.”

Other Tribune-Review finalists were: Allan Wallace for editorial writing; Timothy Puko for “Pooling for Dollars,” in the business/technology/consumer competition; and Mark Gruetze for his columns on gambling, “Player's Advantage.”

Wathen was a finalist for his feature photograph, ”She can still cut a rug,” and Justin Merriman was a finalist for his photo essay, “Habemas Papum!” Editorial cartoonist Randy Bish was a finalist for a portfolio of his best work.

The judges, who looked at entries from media outlets in 29 counties, agreed that the Valley News Dispatch's Rittmeyer had three top stories: “Vandergrift Fire,” in the spot news category; “Old School Buildings,” in the business/technology/consumer article or series category; and “One Day at a Time,” in the health/science/ and environment article or series category.

Other Valley News Dispatch winners were: Tom Yerace in the education category for his story, “Class Rank Losing Standing”; Chuck Biedka for “Man's Acting Career,” in the arts & entertainment article or series or criticism category; and Mary Ann Thomas for her food feature story, “Growers Turn to Heirlooms.”

Trib Total Media finalists in the competition in daily newspapers with a circulation under 45,000 included Michael DiVittorio, Patrick Cloonan, and staff of McKeesport Daily News in the enterprise/investigative competition.

There were three other finalists for spot/breaking news stories: Biedka and Thomas of the Valley News Dispatch and Rick Bruni Jr. of the Valley Independent in Monessen. Chris Buckley of the Valley Independent was a finalist for feature writing.

Thomas and Yerace each were finalists in the business/technology/consumer competition as were Michael Aubele and Jodi Weigand, both of the Valley News Dispatch.

Sports story finalists were Mark Kaboly and photographer Ronald Vezzani Jr. of the McKeesport Daily News and Bill West of the Valley News Dispatch.

Valley News Dispatch photographers Eric Felack and Jason Bridge also were finalists, Felack for spot news photography and Bridge for feature photographs.

Deborah Brehun of the Ligonier Echo won awards in two categories for writing in nondaily newspapers.

One was for her feature, “Ligonier Runners Share Thoughts About Boston Marathon Tragedy.” The other was an award she shared with fellow staff writer Nicole Chynoweth for “125th Anniversary of the Ligonier Echo” in the feature article or series competition. Brehun also was a finalist in the history/culture article or series competition.

Stephanie Hacke of the South Hills Record won top prize for enterprise/investigative writing for “Board Action Irks Residents,” and Vince Townley of The Times Express was honored for his editorials.

Nondaily finalists included photographer Kristina Serafini of the Sewickley Herald in the photo essay competition and Daveen Rae Kurutz of the Murrysville star for enterprise/investigative writing and in the education category.

Marty Stewart of The Herald (Aspinwall) was a finalist in sports writing; Dona S. Dreeland of the North Journal for education writing; and Serafini and Bobby Cherry of the Sewickley Herald in the community engagement news online competition. Cherry also was a finalist in the business/technology/consumer online competition.

Daniel Kubus of Greens-burg, a sophomore at Ohio University, received the 2014 Bob Fryer Memorial Scholarship, named for the Trib's late managing editor. Kubus, the first photojournalist to win the scholarship, is the son of James M. Kubus, deputy managing editor for graphics at the Trib.

WPXI-TV news director Mike Oliveira and the news staff won the Ed King Memorial Award for coverage of the Brashear High School shooting. The same story won top honors for WPXI in the spot/breaking news television and spot/breaking news online categories.

The premier sponsor of the awards ceremony was Range Resources. Lead sponsors were Frank, Gale, Bails, Murcko & Pocrass, P.C.; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; PR Newswire; Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky; and Trib Total Media. Underwriters were Heinz Endowments, the Observer-Reporter and WPXI-TV.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.