The Free Press garnered seven awards in the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2017 Top of the Rockies competition, for work done in 2016.
David Long and Gail Binkly took first in news reporting-single story for “Bad blood: Montezuma County clashes with the mosquito-control district.” The judges commented, “This story unearthed a little-watched group, highlighted troubles with its no-bid process and made the drama behind the fight over the mosquito control board potentially getting kicked out of its headquarters unexpectedly interesting.”
Sonja Horoshko took two first-place honors. She was recognized in the general reporting (health) category for “Dealing with the dark side,” about the problem of suicide on the Navajo Nation.
She also took first in general reporting (politics) for “San Juan County, Utah, told to redraw districts,” about the county’s being court-ordered to reconfigure its county-commission districts because of an alleged racial imbalance.
Zach Hively took first place in personal/ humor columns for a collection of three pieces.
Other awards went to:
- Horoshko, third place, arts and entertainment (single story), for “Singular focus.”
- Long and Binkly, third in business enterprise reporting, for “Courthouse project sparks hiring discussion.”
- Long, Binkly, and Rhonda Binkly, third place in headline writing.
The Top of the Rockies competition includes newspapers from four states: Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming. The Free Press competes in the category for newspapers under 10,000 in circulation. Others competing in this category included the Durango Herald, Colorado Springs Business Journal, Albuquerque Business First, Longmont Times- Call, Buffalo Bulletin, Southern Ute Drum, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, and more.