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Cheney Free Press staff win state awards


Last updated 10/17/2019 at 7:48am

OLYMPIA – The Cheney Free Press received several awards Friday night, Oct. 11, at the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association annual convention and gala at Hotel RL.

Reporter Lee Hughes, former reporters Shannen Talbot and Paul Delaney, Managing Editor John McCallum and new Publisher Roger Harnack were all recognized. In addition, Free Press’ new freelance political cartoonist Brad Skiff took home awards.

The Better Newspaper Contest showcases the best work in reporting, editorializing, photography, advertising, design and digital services among community publications in Washington state.

“It’s great to see that our top-notch staff is being recognized by their journalism peers,” Harnack said in congratulating the Cheney news team.

McCallum led Free Press with two first-place reporting awards. He took firsts in news story-short for “Police shoot man with beanbag rounds” about Cheney police subduing a 31-year-old developmentally disabled man armed with what were later determined to be fake knives and in breaking news with “A loss of historic proportions.”

A judge described McCallum’s “A loss of historic proportions,” piece on the death of long-time Cheney resident and Eastern Washington University archivist Dr. Charles Mutschler as “compelling.

“Story goes beyond most in explaining in depth of loss to community,” the judge wrote.

Hughes won the second-place award for sports personality profile “Enduring pain for the love of the game.”

“The author kept the story moving along without getting bogged down in medical details,” a judge wrote of Hughes’ winning entry.

Talbot, who is now working as the Cheney School District’s communication coordinator, won first in general feature story-long for her “Life inside the flames.”

For her effort, a judge wrote: “The reporter’s first-person perspective and use of self-deprecating humor bring the story home.”

And Delaney, who retired at the end of 2018, won second place in color sports photography for his “All eyes on the ball” image.

“Pretty picture; perfect capture of a decisive moment,” a judge wrote.

Harnack won four awards for his work last year at the Statesman-Examiner newspaper in Colville.

He won top honors in general column writing; and took third-place in news story-long, color feature photo and investigative reporting.

Skiff took both first and second for his political cartoons.


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