News » Local News

Indy wins 11 awards

Southern Colorado journalists honored for their work in 2005


The Independent received 11 awards including five first-places in this year's Colorado Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence competition.

Because of restrictive rules elsewhere, the Mark of Excellence is currently the only statewide contest the Independent qualifies to enter. Competition in the mid-sized daily and weekly newspaper division includes Boulder Weekly, Denver Business Journal, the Greeley Tribune and the Boulder Daily Camera.

The Colorado Springs Gazette, competing in a separate newspaper division, won six awards. In addition, the SPJ bestowed this year's Keeper of the Flame Award on Bob Rawlings, longtime publisher of the family-owned Pueblo Chieftain and unapologetic crusader for his community. All awards, for work published in 2005, were announced last Friday at an annual banquet in Denver.

Independent reporter Michael de Yoanna took a first-place award in the News Feature category for "Worked to death," about workplace deaths in the Pikes Peak region. De Yoanna won second place in that category for "Exposed," detailing Colorado's flawed laws for sex offenders. He also received a second-place citation in the Enterprise/Investigative category for "Getting away with murder," about Colorado Springs' cold murder cases.

Former Independent writer and columnist Rich Tosches won two first-place awards, including one in Legal Affairs Reporting for "The end of innocence," about Nathan Baird, a 25-year-old who was charged with being an accessory to a first-degree murder despite being nowhere near when it was committed. (The district attorney's office abandoned the case after the story appeared.) "A superb, fascinating examination of the real shades of grey in a justice system that seems obligated to view the world in black or white," one judge commented about the story.

Tosches also won the Business Feature category for "Kicked to the curb," which the judges described as "a great look at how urban development affects small business owners and communities."

Tosches won third place in column writing for "As the Village Turns."

Editor Cara DeGette was awarded first place in the Enterprise/Investigative category for "All shook up," about D-11 President Sandy Shakes and the pro-voucher takeover efforts within Colorado Springs' largest school district. The judges said: "This is a fascinating look inside the sometimes insidious workings of a school board a publicly elected body entrusted to look out for the education of children and how the process can be co-opted by some. The sidebar on Eric Christen was entertaining, and enlightening."

DeGette, along with contributing editor Kathryn Eastburn, also won a second-place award for Education Reporting for "Out on a limb," which detailed District 11's efforts to prohibit a gay-straight alliance at Palmer High School.

Former reporter Dan Wilcock won third place in the category General Reporting, Series, for sustained coverage of the impacts of massive sewage spills in Fountain Creek and downriver. Wilcock took third in the Reader category for "Breathing fire," a profile on firearms dealer Mel "Dragon Man" Bernstein.

Wilcock and Tosches also won third place in Science/Environment/Agricultural/Medical writing for "Pipe dreams," which detailed the city-owned utility company's desire to build a $2 billion water pipe from Pueblo to Colorado Springs.

Finally, contributing editor Kathryn Eastburn, writer David Torres-Rouff and former writer Aaron Retka took first place in A&E Reporting/Food, Beverage Writing for "Feast on this," a cover package that included stories about regional farmers, a cookbook review and an essay on how food brings us together.

The Gazette's awards included a third-place in News Reporting, awarded to reporter Perry Swanson for a story headlined "Mudflap warning unheeded." Reporter Paul Asay tied for third place in Investigative Reporting for his story "God's business"; reporter DeeDee Correll won third place in the News Feature division for her story "Rocky Ford picture show"; and reporter Dave Philipps received a third-place award in the Reader category for "The Hammer." Reporter Brian Newsome won third place in Education Reporting for his story, "With brave faces," and reporter Bill Radford won second place in the Science/Environment/Agricultural/Medical category for his story "Miracles on ice."

All of the Independent's award-winning stories can be read at at the URLs listed to the left. qwww Links

"Worked to death"

By Michael de Yoanna

"The end of innocence"

By Rich Tosches

"Kicked to the curb"

After 43 years heading the Pueblo Chieftain, - Bob - Rawlings was honored by the SPJ. - JOHN SOUHAY
  • John Souhay
  • After 43 years heading the Pueblo Chieftain, Bob Rawlings was honored by the SPJ.

By Rich Tosches

"All shook up"

By Cara DeGette

"Feast on this"

By Aaron Retka, Kathryn Eastburn and David Torres-Rouff

"Out on a limb"

By Cara DeGette and Kathryn Eastburn


By Michael de Yoanna

"Getting away with murder"

By Michael de Yoanna

"Pipe dreams"

By Dan Wilcock and Rich Tosches

"Breathing fire"

By Dan Wilcock

Find "As the Village Turns" columns by Rich Tosches in the archives at

Add a comment

Clicky Quantcast