C & G Newspapers staffers win 23 journalism awards

Metro | Published July 3, 2024


METRO DETROIT — The 12 C & G Newspapers staffers who were recognized in the Michigan Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest and the Society of Professional Journalists-Detroit Chapter’s Excellence in Journalism awards walked away with a total of 23 honors.

Both awards are held annually, and the winners were recently acknowledged for their work in 2023.

Maria Allard, a staff writer for the Warren Weekly and the Eastsider, won first place in the news enterprise reporting category of the Better Newspaper Contest for “Warren resident, World War II vet becomes centenarian.” Allard took third place and honorable mention, respectively, in the feature story category for “Warren couple embodies everlasting love” and “Student acts after bus incident, brings classmates to safety.”

“I love being a writer, and it’s nice to be included alongside my colleagues," Allard said.

Mary Beth Almond, staff writer for the Rochester Post, was recognized in the breaking/spot news category in both the Better Newspaper Contest and the Excellence in Journalism awards, taking second and third place, respectively, for “Oakland Township woman arraigned on charges in fatal hit-and-run crash.” She also took third place in government/news reporting of the Better Newspaper Contest for “Rochester skates forward with plans for outdoor skate park.”

"The journalists at C & G Newspapers work tirelessly to provide essential coverage of important community news and I’m extremely proud to be a part of that,” Almond said.

Page designer Jason Clancy was awarded first and second place by the SPJ for his page one designs. First place went to the July 26 edition of the St. Clair Shores Sentinel. The judges said, “Love how through still photography, you can see the tower coming down as if in motion.” Second place went to the Feb. 22 edition of the Royal Oak Review.

“I enjoy coming up with creative designs that help entice readers to pick up our papers,” Clancy said.

Gena Johnson, a staff writer for the Warren Weekly, took first place in the MPA's government/education news category for “Michigan Supreme Court won’t hear term limits case involving Warren mayor.”

"Working as a reporter at C & G Newspapers has been a joy having my fingers on the pulse of community journalism,” Johnson said.

Andy Kozlowski, staff writer for the Madison-Park News, won two Excellence in Journalism awards. The first was first place in the consumer/watchdog category for “Ex-contractor sentenced in Madison schools bribery case,” and the other was first place in the explanatory story category for “Wild Wings continues mission to rescue birds in need.” The judges said, “Love this story. It gives good and vital information on how to handle baby birds that have fallen from their nest.”

“The stories couldn't be more different: One was a public corruption case I investigated, and the other was about helping baby birds," Kozlowski said. "But I believe each has an impact. That's the best part of journalism.”

Charity Meier, staff writer for the Novi Note, earned honorable mention in the feature story category for “An extraordinary ‘ordinary’ life” in the Better Newspaper Contest.

“I am pleased to have been able to share the knowledge, insight and humor of Wilbur Bigelow," Meier said. "He turned 101 recently and is someone we can all learn from.”

K. Michelle Moran, staff writer for the Grosse Pointe Times, walked away with six awards between the two organizations. She won two first-place awards in the Better Newspaper Contest: one for her spot news story, “Friends, family remember Arielle Anderson and Brian Fraser,” and a public service award for “Kroger agrees to new fence, window displays for Village store.” Moran also received second place in both the Better Newspaper Contest and Excellence in Journalism awards for the local and community news story, “Grosse Pointe Shores considering breed ban after violent dog attack.” She took third- and fourth-place honors, respectively, in the Better Newspaper Contest and the Excellence in Journalism awards for “Fire guts nearly 100-year-old home in Grosse Pointe City.”

“It's always a tremendous honor to be recognized by your colleagues,” Moran said.

Alyssa Ochss, staff writer for the St. Clair Shores Sentinel, took home second place in the feature reporting category of the Excellence in Journalism awards for the story “Making the paranormal more normal.”

Kathryn Pentiuk, staff writer for the Southfield Sun, won second-place honors in the Excellence in Journalism awards for environmental reporting in her story, “‘Forever chemicals’ found in Rouge, Huron River fish.”

Staff Writer Jonathan Szczepaniak won first- and third- place honors, respectively, in the sports reporting category of the Excellence in Journalism awards for “Girls flag football league introduced in Michigan” and “Fernsler’s ‘poised’ performance leads Novi to first state title.”

Excellence in Journalism first-place awards were shared by Clancy and photographers Patricia O’Blenes and Erin Sanchez for a feature page design about local graduates on page 6A in the June 21 edition of the Eastsider.

The Michigan Press Association was founded in 1868 and promotes the power of print and the public’s right to know.

The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s oldest organization representing journalists in the United States. Established on April 17, 1909, at DePauw University, the organization was formerly known as Sigma Delta Chi before adopting its current name. The organization is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and promoting high standards of ethical behavior.