The Daily Herald has won 46 awards, including 18 first-place finishes, in the 2018 Best of the Press contest sponsored by the Illinois Press Association.
Among the newspaper's first-place citations were awards for Best Sports Section, Best Website, Best Special Section and the Knight Chair Award for Sustained Investigative Journalism for reports on irregularities at the Illinois Tollway by projects and transportation senior writer Marni Pyke.
In a note to the staff following announcement of the awards, Doug Ray, chairman, publisher and CEO of the newspaper's parent company, Paddock Publications, said the performance may be the largest number of awards the newspaper has won in a single contest in its history. He stressed the awards represent the newspaper's commitment to a tradition of "great community journalism."
"Generations of journalists have continued that tradition, winning many awards along the way, but more importantly, building a strong reputation in our communities, and reader loyalty," he wrote, adding "These awards are recognition of all the work we do each day, from the IT staff to the sales departments to the press crews at the Paddock Printing Center and in Virden."
The Daily Herald competes in the large-circulation division of the IPA contest. Awards will be presented at a luncheon May 3 in Springfield, where the winners also will be announced for two other top categories, General Excellence and Sweepstakes.
Daily Herald sister publications in downstate Illinois won an additional eight awards in various categories for smaller newspapers.
The Daily Herald's winning entries in the contest were:
• Sports Section: Mike Smith, Tom Quinlan and staff.
• Knight Chair Award for Sustained Investigative Journalism: Marni Pyke, for 18 months of reports detailing irregularities in hiring and contracts at the Illinois Tollway.
• Website: Travis Siebrass and staff, for www.dailyherald.com.
• Feature Writing/Personality: John Lampinen, for his narrative profile of Patty and Corey Hindes.
• Feature Series: John Lampinen, for "Last Kiss," a series on widowhood, encompassing the story of Patty and Corey Hindes in addition to traditional reports and dozens of first-person accounts from widows and widowers throughout the suburbs.
• School Board Coverage: Eric Peterson, for his coverage of negotiations and the aftermath of a contract dispute that nearly led to a teacher strike in Palatine-Schaumburg Township High School District 211.
• Special Section: Jim Baumann and staff, for "The Newspaper Partnership."
• Local Editorial: Jim Slusher, for editorials calling for changes at the Illinois Tollway.
• Review: Dann Gire, for his review of the movie "First Man."
• Humorous Column: Jim Baumann, for his Grammar Moses column on writing.
• Sports News Story: Kevin Schmit, for reports on impending changes in IHSA football conferences.
• Localized National Story: Staff, for the report "We are young and we are strong," describing student protests of gun violence in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shootings.
• General News Photo: Rick West, for a picture of a Medieval Times actor destroying a pumpkin at a publicity event.
• Feature Photo: Rick West, for a picture of a child on a hobby horse.
• Portrait/Personality Photo: Rick West, for a picture of a mourner at a student protest of gun violence.
• Online Photo Series or Gallery: Jeff Knox and staff, for the "Through the Film Magnifier" project highlighting historical pictures in the suburbs.
• Sports Photo: Joe Lewnard, for a photo of a suburban basketball player who hit a game-winning shot in a state title game.
• Video Journalism: Paul Valade, for work chronicling student walkouts to protest gun violence.
• Government Beat Reporting: Justin Kmitch and staff, for reports on the removal and restoration of the JUST program at the DuPage County jail.
• Feature Series: Marie Wilson, for stories on the fight against opioid abuse in the suburbs.
• Sports News, John Dietz, for his report on the firing of Joel Quenneville as Blackhawks coach.
• Sports Feature: Patricia Babcock McGraw, for her profile of an Antioch High School football player.
• Single Page Design: Amanda Erd, for a collection of page designs.
• Feature Photo: Brian Hill, for an image from an exhibit of troll statues at the Morton Arboretum.
• Portrait/Personality: Brian Hill, for an image of a holocaust survivor.
• Spot News Photo: John Starks, for a picture of firefighters battling a house fire.
• Sports Photo: John Starks, for a picture of a high jumper clearing the bar.
• General News Photo: Mark Welsh, for a photo of an emotional veteran on Veterans Day.
• Local Editorial: Diane Dungey, for a collection of editorials on local topics.
• Obituary Tribute: Marie Wilson, for a profile of former Naperville Mayor George Pradel.
• Sports News: Scot Gregor, for a first-day report when White Sox relief pitcher Danny Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage during a game.
• Headline Writing: Sean Stangland, for a collection of news-story headlines.
• Social Media Journalism: Kelly Vold and staff, for oversight of numerous Daily Herald community social media projects.
• Single Page Design: Neil Holdway, for a collection of front-page designs.
• General News Photo: Brian Hill, for a picture of high school students celebrating at graduation.
• Portrait/Personality Photo: Brian Hill, for a picture of a man who leads an outreach program for Vietnam veterans.
• Spot News Photo: Patrick Kunzer, for a picture of the Elgin police chief confronting demonstrators protesting a police shooting.
• Video Journalism: Mark Welsh, for pictures of dragon boat races.
• Feature Photo: Rick West, for a picture of teachers giving high-fives to students on the first day of school.
• Feature Writing/Personality: Elena Ferrarin, for a report on a homeless man's life in Elgin's "Tent City."
• Review: Barbara Vitello, for her review of the play "Cry It Out."
• Sports Column: Scot Gregor, for a collection of columns on the White Sox.
• Spot News Photo: Bev Horne, for a picture of a barn fire in Warrenville.
• Video Journalism: Bev Horne for a troll hunt project at the Morton Arboretum.
• General News Photo: Patrick Kunzer, for a picture of plane crash survivors praying together at a local ceremony.
• Portrait/Personality Photo: John Starks, for a picture of a flag-carrying cowboy who leads a program to save mustangs.