The Four Corners Free Press nabbed eight awards in the Society of Professional Journalists Top of the Rockies regional competition for work done in 2015. The awards were announced April 22 in Denver.
Sonja Horoshko received three awards:
- First place, Agriculture General Reporting, for “Connecting carrots with consumers,” an article about the Southwest Farm Fresh Cooperative. The judge’s comment was, “Well-sourced article on how farmers are trying to keep up with the times and get their produce directly in the hands of the consumer. Very interesting.”
- First place, Environment General Reporting, for “Making their voices heard/Public-lands restrictions may affect wood-cutting,” about the Utah Public Lands Initiative, a grassroots effort to cobble together a compromise publiclands management strategy. The judge said, “Nice perspective of the daunting task of managing millions of acres of public lands in Utah as the federal government calls for more monuments and Native Americans have proposals.”
- Second place, Environment General Reporting, for “A legacy of distrust,” about the Navajo Nation’s concerns about water quality in the wake of the Gold King Mine spill into the Animas River.
The writing team of David Long and Gail Binkly also garnered three awards:
- First place, Business General Reporting, “Polishing a diamond in the rough,” for a February 2015 article about the county’s efforts to revitalize recreation at McPhee Reservoir. The judge wrote, “Well-backgrounded piece that touched all the bases about Montezuma County wanting to bring more business to a recreational manmade lake. Good job.”
- Second place, Investigative/Enterprise Reporting, for the April 2015 cover story titled, “Should federal lands be turned over to the states?” The judge’s comment was, “A thorough examination of an important issue — should the state take over federal lands. Good variety of viewpoints in this nicely done package.”
- Third place, News Reporting, Single Story, for “Up in smoke?”, an article about a failed effort to hold a competitive “bong-a-thon” in Montezuma County.
Two Free Press columnists also were recognized. Binkly took second place in Personal/Humor Columns, and Zach Hively took third in the same category.
The Top of the Rockies contest includes media outlets from Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico. The Free Press competes in the category for newspapers with circulation under 10,000.