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Newspaper staff finalists for 16 statewide awards

WARREN — The newsroom staff that produces both The Vindicator and the Tribune Chronicle publications are among finalists for16 statewide awards announced for work they did in 2021. The Ohio Associated Press Media Editors announced the finalists last week.

The awards in actual order of finish — first, second or third places — will be announced April 3 in Columbus, along with the General Excellence, Hall of Fame, Rising Star and First Amendment award winners.

Forty-eight daily newspapers submitted 1,302 entries in the contest, which featured news and sports stories, features, editorials, columns, graphics, page design and photos that were published in 2021.

“I’m proud of my staff for the solid reporting we do every day to inform our readers about what is happening in our community,” said Editor Brenda J. Linert. “Certainly, we don’t do our jobs for awards, but it is always a bonus when we are recognized for the hard work we do every day. I’m thrilled with these accolades.”

The newspapers compete in Division IV against publications of similar size. Judging was conducted by peer newspapers in Michigan.

Page designer Patrick Litowitz is a finalist in three categories: best headline writer and best graphic artist, which involve review of a body of work, and best illustration or informational graphic, for his design titled, “$117 Million Bites of the Apple,” about school funding.

Two staff members, Features Editor Burton Cole and reporter Allie Vugrincic are both finalists in the best feature writer category.

Mahoning County crime reporter Ed Runyan is a finalist in the spot news category for “Put down the guns,” coverage of the tragic shooting death of a 10-year-old child in Youngstown.

The newspaper also is nominated for a staffwide spot news award for its coverage of a Jan. 1, 2021, fatal fire in Warren.

Metro Editor Tom Wills is a finalist in the explanatory reporting category for his story titled, “Choking’s no game,” about the death of a young Trumbull County boy.

Managing Editor Amy Leigh Wilson is a finalist for her full-page design titled “Death Penalty: Justice or Brutality?”

Business Editor Ron Selak Jr. is a finalist in the best business writer category; Editor Brenda J. Linert is a finalist as best editorial writer; Chief Photographer R. Michael Semple is a finalist for best feature photo for an image titled “Clean shaven.”

The local sports department also fared very well in this year’s competition. The section is a finalist in the best daily sports section category. Sports columnist Jack Wollitz is a finalist for his weekly fishing column; sports writer Joel Whetzel is a finalist in the best sports feature writer category; and freelance photographer Michael Taylor is a finalist for his sports photo titled, “JFK celebrates.”

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