Shaw Local earns 73 awards for reporting, photography

Daily Chronicle wins 20 awards; Northwest Herald recognized for Nunda Township coverage, photography

Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy

Shaw Local News Network publications received a combined 73 awards from the Illinois Press Association Awards, recognizing journalists and reporting across its 12 publications in the state.

Winners for the 2021 awards were announced Friday. The annual contest recognizes the best news and sports stories, features, editorials, columns and photos from the previous year.

The DeKalb Daily Chronicle’s avalanche of awards – 20 across the top four places – were a standout across the company.

Photographer Mark Busch took top spots for his coverage of DeKalb’s first Pride parade and a sports photo of former Bears head coach Matt Nagy during a game against the Arizona Cardinals. Busch’s photos also had one second-place, four third-place, and a fourth-place nods.

The paper also earned second place for the Public Notice Journalism Award for its coverage of issues surrounding the DeKalb city clerk, for a localized national story for its reporting on local veterans and residents reflecting on events in Afghanistan, and for the Freedom of Information Award for its reporting that found a 33-year-old man fatally shot by DeKalb police had history of encounters with police.

The sports section also received a second-place nod overall and for its state championship preview section.

The paper also earned numerous third- and fourth-place recognitions.

The Northwest Herald, based in Crystal Lake, received two first-, two second-, three third- and two fourth-place awards for its photography and journalism.

Former Northwest Herald reporter Sam Lounsberry’s coverage of Nunda Township received first place in government beat reporting. His coverage of the township followed disputes between the Nunda Township Board of Trustees and Highway Commissioner Mike Lesperance.

Another first place award was given to former photo editor Matthew Apgar’s sports photos for his coverage of a playoff sectional loss. Apgar also received second place awards for feature sports photos, as well as a third place nod for a touchdown celebration and fourth place for photos at a local pumpkin patch.

The Northwest Herald’s editorial pages were also winners, with a third place win for local editorial staff and a fourth place win for Dennis Anderson’s editorial page.

Michal Dwojak was recognized with third place finish for his sports feature on Loyola’s James Kyle.

Joliet’s The Herald-News received awards across the top four places in community service, series news reporting, feature writing, and sports photography. The first-place nod recognized the Joliet Focus initiative, and the second place came for reporter Felix Saver’s coverage of a criminal investigation of Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk.

Dixon-based Sauk Valley Media earned a first place in feature writing for Kathleen A. Schultz, and second and fourth-place wins for photographer Alex T. Paschal.

The Times of Ottawa’s feature photo, Cow Comfort, by regular contributor and former photo editor Tom Sistak took first place in its category.

The NewsTribune of La Salle’s Scott Anderson took a first place award for sports photos and a third place for feature photos. Second placed awards were given to Tom Collins for feature writing and to Scott Anderson for his sports photo portrait of the girls basketball player of the year.

The St. Charles-based Kane County Chronicle saw three first place awards, including several awards for photo editor Sandy Bressner. The recognition came for her general news photo of a lakeside memorial, a feature photo entitled My Fair Goat, and for a portrait and personality piece, Justice for Ludwig. That coverage followed community upset following the shooting death of a dog last summer.

Other awards include:

  • Oregon Republican Reporter, Oregon: One first-place and two third-place recognitions
  • Bureau County Republican, Princeton: One first place and two third place
  • My Suburban Life, Downers Grove: Three first-place, one second-place and one fourth-place awards
  • Kendall County Record and Ledger-Sentinel, Yorkville: Two first-place and three fourth-place recognitions
  • The MidWeek, DeKalb: One first-place, two second-place, one third-place and two fourth-place awards.
Janelle Walker

Janelle Walker

Originally from North Dakota, Janelle covered the suburbs and collar counties for nearly 20 years before taking a career break to work in content marketing. She is excited to be back in the newsroom.