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Trib series 'American Coyotes' wins top reporting, photo awards in Pa. contests

| Saturday, April 9, 2016, 9:00 p.m.

The Tribune-Review series “American Coyotes,” an investigation into the role of Americans smuggling undocumented immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border and its impact, won top reporting and photography awards in statewide contests.

Investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman won the first-place Investigative Reporting award among the state's largest newspapers in Division IV of the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors Association contest, one of several awards received by Trib Total Media newspapers and journalists.

The PAPME contest received 1,497 entries from 47 newspapers in four divisions based on circulation. The association gave awards for news and sports stories, features, editorials, columns, graphics and photos published in 2015.

Trib photojournalist Guy Wathen won the award for Best Short Video in Division IV for “Flight 93 National Memorial.”

Trib reporter Jason Cato won second place in the Business Writing category for “ ‘Tomato King' Picks Racino as Next Venture,” in Division IV. Kevin Gorman took second place in the division's Sports/Outdoor Column category, and photographer Steph Chambers won second place in the feature photo category for “Veteran Smooch.”

Jeffrey Savitskie, former editor of the Leader Times in Kittanning and now page A1/enterprise editor at the Tribune-Review Greensburg edition, won second place for Editorial Writing in Division 1, which includes newspapers with a circulation of 15,000 and under. Trib Total Media sold the Leader Times at the end of last year.

Merriman won the Division 1 Distinguished Visual award in the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's Keystone Awards for a collection of photos from last year, including pictures from “American Coyotes,” for which he and Prine traveled along the entire 1,990-mile-plus length of the U.S.-Mexico border.

In the PNA's Division 1 category, which includes newspapers with a circulation over 75,000, photojournalist Brian Henry won first place for his video story on the closing of the Donora-Webster Bridge, and photojournalist Barry Reeger won second place in the Sports Photo category.

South Hills Record reporter Stephanie Hacke won two first-place awards — one in General News reporting, and another for her beat coverage of Baldwin-Whitehall School District — in Division VI, which includes weekly papers with a circulation between 5,000 and 9,999.

In that same division, the Sewickley Herald staff won first place for Ongoing News Coverage for its reporting on Leet Township's decision to force a girl to tear down her treehouse because it violated building codes.

In Division VII, which is for weekly publications under 5,000 circulation, staffers at The Herald in Aspinwall won three awards.

Sports writer Martin Stewart finished first in the Sports/ Outdoor column category. Reporter Tawnya Panizzi won second place for Feature Beat Reporting on religion. Jan Pakler, a freelance photographer for The Herald, won second place in Feature Photo for “Library Princess,” and an honorable mention in the News Photo category for “Honoring A Hero.”

Nathan Smith, a sports writer for The Signal Item, won second place in Division VII's Sports Beat Reporting for his coverage of Chartiers Valley boys basketball.

Savitskie, while at the Leader Times, won the PNA's top award for Editorial Writing in Division IV, which includes papers with a circulation under 20,000.

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