Northwest Herald journalists earn a dozen top-5 finishes in Illinois Press Association contest

Variety of photos, reporting and editorials awarded

Northwest Herald journalists earned 12 top-five finishes in the 2020 Illinois Press Association Editorial contest, the organization announced Thursday.

A variety of photos, stories and editorials focused on local stories and issues were recognized by the association.

There were three first-place finishes by Northwest Herald staffers: best news series for a package on the fallout of the slaying of 5-year-old AJ Freund of Crystal Lake by reporters Katie Smith, Cassie Buchman and Amanda Marrazzo; best business and economic reporting for a story by Buchman and Drew Zimmerman titled “‘Emotional,’ devastating’: Former Bowes employees, FightBack patients discuss closures, layoffs” about an unexpected business closure involving what employees said was an owner’s financial mismanagement; and the best feature photo for photo editor Matthew Apgar’s “Fishing at sunrise.”

Apgar also won two second-place finishes, for his photo series “Essential Worker: The New Front Line” and a general news photo for his coverage of a Black Lives Matter rally in Fox River Grove.

Apgar took home fourth-place awards in the general news category for photos of a ceremony dedicating a McHenry street after former firefighter Mark Amore, who died in an accident while working off-duty, and in the feature photo category for the image “Waiting for a trim.”

Marrazzo won second place for a news series for a package on an overturned conviction in the 2001 Burrito Express murder.

The Shaw Media Local News Network Editorial Board won second place in the local editorial category for its column titled “IHSA protestors have our attention, but what’s the plan?”

The editorial board also won third place for the column “A solution to save Exelon plants not impossible,” which argued there may be a way for the state to fairly negotiate with a company to keep a nuclear power asset operating.

Additionally, former editor Jon Styf won fourth place in the original column category for his columns.

The Northwest Herald sports section staff also received fourth place as a whole for its general excellence in covering athletics.

Sam Lounsberry

Sam Lounsberry

Sam Lounsberry covers local government, business, K-12 education and all other aspects of life in McHenry County, in particular in the communities of Woodstock, McHenry, Richmond, Spring Grove, Wonder Lake and Johnsburg.