The Sandusky Register is the best.
The Associated Press says so.
For the second year in a row, the Register was named Best Ohio Newspaper.
“It is gratifying when the hard work of serving our readers is recognized at this high level,” said Doug Phares, publisher of the Sandusky Register and sanduskyregister.com. “Once is impressive, twice in a row is outstanding.”
And the Register doesn’t just deliver in newsprint.
Sanduskyregister.com, your 24/7 source of news, also earned the distinction of Best Web Site.
The Register piled up these and 24 other awards at Sunday’s AP awards banquet in Columbus. Newspaper staffers brought back 10 first-place awards, 11 second-place awards and five third-place awards.
The Register earned the most awards given to any newspaper in this highly competitive division.
Here’s what and who won and a bit of what the judges had to say:
Sandusky Register: First place, General Excellence.
“The Sandusky Register is an outstanding newspaper,” the judges wrote. “It does the big stories extremely well and makes sure they are supplemented with daily coverage of great relevance to its community.”
“Beautiful design. Great variety of multimedia. The bloggers write often and their personalities shine through their work.
“Organizing local news by region was a nice touch. The Fallen Sons and Decision ‘08 packages clinched the No. 1 spot.”
Staff: First place, Best Enterprise for Fallen Sons series and sanduskyregister.com/fallensons
“Fallen Sons is an inspired project. The Register team created a living memorial to their local fallen sons lost in the Iraq War. As journalists, we sometimes get to be part of something truly special. Register staffers undoubtedly would count this effort as one of those times.”
Sports: Second place, Best Special Sports Section for Fandy High School Football preview; Second place, Best Daily Sports Section.
“This pigskin preview stands out because in addition to tons of information, it also packs personality.”
Managing editor Matt Westerhold: First place, Best Editorial Writer; Second place, Best Columnist.
“Well-written editorials on important local issues. Concise and to the point.”
Chief photographer Jason Werling: First place, Best Blogger; First place, Best Feature Photo of “Grandma and Her Little Shadow.”
“It’s a wonderful photograph! Excellent use of light and shadow. This is such a sweet and tender moment and you captured it for the world to enjoy… keep it up, Jason!”
Online producer Abigail Bobrow: First place, Best Photographer; First place, Best Photo Essay of “Don’t Tell Patrick He Can’t.”
“This is a wonderful story. The photos were beautifully shot. Very heart warming. Patrick will remember you telling his story for the rest of his life. Excellent work, Abigail!”
Editorial page editor Don Lee: First place, Best Editorial Cartoonist.
“Nice to see emphasis on visual and economy of words. That Mr. Lee’s cartoons are given bold play on page is tempered by his being the editorial page editor. He’s obviously a dual threat.”
Photographer Luke Wark: Second place, Best Sports Photo of “Soccer win”; Third place, Best Sports Photo of “A Leg Up.”
“Great reaction shot. It shows the joy of winning and the pain of losing.”
Assistant news editor Annie Zelm: Second place, Best Enterprise Reporting for Urban Blight series; Second place, Best Explanatory Reporting with “Vine to Wine”; Third place, Best News Writer.
“Sometimes what we write can make a difference. Annie Zelm’s ‘Flight to Blight’ did far more than document foreclosures and urban blight. It helped to start solving a problem in the community.”
Reporters Cory Frolik and Jacob Lammers: Third place, Best Breaking News for “Plane Crash Kills 6.”
“Nice touch by leading with what a witness saw … info about the neighbors was excellent.”
Reporter Sarah Weber: Second place, Best News Writer.
“Weber got the people behind the tragedies in the community and presented their stories in a way that touches hearts. Her style generates empathy that answers the question, ‘What does it mean to me?’”
Reporter Mike Fitzpatrick: Second place, Best Investigative Reporting for “Troopers in Trouble: KKK Prank.”
“Thorough reporting and dogged follow-up brought to light the true impact of what was originally brushed aside as a joke. And the OSHP is cleaner for it.”
Reporter Anthony Moujaes: Third place, Best Sports Feature Writer; Third place, Best Sports Event Coverage of state track.
“The Register must have cloned Moujaes because he was all over the state track meet providing local coverage.”
Graphic artist and page designer Tom Sherer: Second place, Best Informational Graphic for “Flight to blight”; First and second places, Best Full Page Layout for “Arms Race” and “Baby Boom.”
“A sense of harmony (is) achieved with placement of color throughout the page. Love the way negative space was used and it was filled smartly without giving a cluttered feeling.”
Design Desk Chief Mike Schaffer and Sherer: Second place, Best Page One Layout.
“The Violent Cycle package had reader appeal, especially series logo.”
Sixty-six newspapers in Ohio submitted 2,908 entries for consideration in the AP contest. The entries were judged by journalists at out-of-state newspapers.
Westerhold said he was thrilled, but not surprised, the Register did so well.
“This is the best news team I’ve ever had the pleasure to lead,” he said. “We work hard each day for our readers and the community. We tackle tough issues, bring to light injustices and live to tell good stories.”
And while the honors are directed toward the editorial team’s work, Phares said they are reflective of the efforts put forth by the entire Sandusky Newspapers Inc. staff.
“Every member of the organization should be proud,” he said.