Times staffers collect 21 local journalism awards

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Writers, artists and photographers at The Washington Times won 21 journalism awards this week from the Society of Professional Journalists‘ Washington, D.C., Professional Chapter.

The SPJ chapter honored The Times, Washingtonian magazine and WTOP radio, among others, with its 2007 Dateline Awards for Excellence in Local Journalism during an awards ceremony Tuesday night.

The Times dominated the daily newspaper competition, sweeping several categories including general news, features, sports, arts criticism and photojournalism.

Arlo Wagner won first place in the general news category for “Gallaudet’s board ousts Fernandes,” detailing the decision by the nation’s only liberal arts college for the deaf to scrap the appointment of Jane K. Fernandes, whose hiring had sparked angry protests.

Gary Emerling, Marie Tyler, Jeffrey Sparshott, Jerry Seper, Amy Doolittle and Matthew Cella won first place in the spot-news category for “What a Mess,” which described two separate accidents that forced temporary closures of key D.C. roadways on June 1, 2006.

Gabriella Boston, Mr. Emerling, Kara Rowland, Ellen Sorokin and Guy Taylor won first place in the features category for their series, “After the Fire,” marking the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

In the editorials, columns and commentary category, Adrienne T. Washington took first place for “Forums leave D.C. mayoral hopefuls squirming,” an analysis of the D.C. mayoral race.

Tom Ramstack took first place in the business and financial reporting category for his story, “Banks cater to expanding Muslim population,” and Jon Siegel won first place in sports for “A tough calling,” which told the story of young, minor league baseball umpires.

The first-place photojournalism award went to Astrid Riecken, for capturing images of young, amateur dancers in the story, “ ’Chaos’ en pointe,” while Jayne Blanchard won first place in arts criticism for “Close look at steamy ‘Fat Pig.’ ”

The SPJ chapter also entered several journalists into its Hall of Fame — CBS’ Mark Knoller; Associated Press White House correspondent Terry Hunt; Muriel Dobbin, formerly of McClatchy newspapers; and TV journalist and former CNN correspondent Bob Franken.

Other winners from The Times in the daily-newspaper competition were:

{bullet} Mr. Cella, second place, spot news, for “Shooting spree”

{bullet} Jim McElhatton, second place, general news, for “Murder Inc.”

{bullet} Mr. McElhatton, second place, investigative reporting, for “Medicaid drivers take D.C. for a ride”

{bullet} Christian Toto, second place, features, for “Reptile revelation”

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