C & G staffers win Society of Professional Journalists awards

By: Sarah Wojcik | Metro | Published June 30, 2021


METRO DETROIT — The Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists announced the 2020 Excellence in Journalism award winners during a live virtual presentation June 8.

In lieu of the in-person ceremony that traditionally takes place at the San Marino Club in Troy, seven staffers received 10 award certificates by mail.

The annual awards, which span a variety of categories and classes, celebrate the best of southeastern Michigan journalism. C & G Newspapers falls into the Print Class C classification, defined as non-daily publications with a circulation of less than 50,000.

Woodward Talk Staff Writer Mike Koury took home two first-place awards, the first for his story “Ferndale, Berkley school districts adjust to COVID-19 pandemic” in the Education Reporting category.

The judges noted that the story “does an excellent job of looking at how these school districts and teachers were impacted by the pandemic. Localizing a national story is important for local papers and this series brings that home. It lets readers see that the districts and teachers are serious about their responsibilities and making sure students are offered the best education possible, despite the obstacles.”

Advertiser Times Staff Writer Brendan Losinski took home the third-place award in the same category for his story “Chandler Park Academy students examine results of experiment taken into space.”

Koury also received accolades for his story “Thousands in downtown Ferndale protest killings of black Americans” in the Spot or Breaking News Reporting category.

The judges commented that the story “captures the feelings and concerns of those who participated. Well written, well organized and great quotes from those who attended. Well done.”

Koury said he appreciated the recognition for his work on localizing two significant stories from 2020.

“People had to deal with the hardship of the pandemic and what it was doing to the schools,” he said. “On the other hand, with the march, you could see the determination on people’s faces and you just wanted to do right by what they were fighting for.”

Royal Oak Review Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik took home a first-place award for her story “Beaumont researchers develop 45-minute COVID-19 test” in the Health Reporting category.

“This report on the development of a ‘quick’ test for the (COVID-19) virus explains its importance without sensationalizing it,” the judges stated. “Succinct and well written.”

Former Fraser-Clinton Township Chronicle Staff Writer Nick Mordowanec took home the second-place award in the same category for his story “Group works to eliminate the stigmas of substance abuse.”

Grosse Pointe Times Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran received a third-place award for her story “Grosse Pointe Shores retirees outraged over spike in costs for health care benefits” in the General News Reporting category.

Madison-Park News Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski won a fourth-place award for his story “Questions raised about campaign contributions to council members” in the Consumer/Watchdog Reporting category.

Page designer Jason Clancy took home first-place awards in Page One Design and Sports Page Design for his layout on the stories “Chandler Park Academy students have experiment taken into space” in the Advertiser Times and “State girls basketball playoffs set to tip” in the Troy Times, respectively, as well as a second-place award in Feature Page Design for his layout on the story “Chevy Bel Air is always cruise-ready” in the Farmington Press.

“It’s satisfying being recognized for my designs because it means the judges not only like my creativity, but feel like the pages help draw in the readers, which is the whole point,” Clancy wrote in an email. “I try to play off the themes of stories when selecting colors and fonts — basically match the style to what’s being written.”

He added that he loves good photos, which he runs large or cuts out to make a page pop.

The chapter distributed more than 240 awards in total.

“SPJ Detroit congratulates the winners and finalists this year and we are so sorry that we can’t hold our annual fest to meet and celebrate each of you personally and with our many peers,” SPJ Detroit President Beth Konrad said in a prepared statement. “We hold each of you in the highest esteem.”

For more information about the Detroit Chapter of the SPJ, visit spjdetroit.org.