The Port Orchard Independent, a Kitsap News Group newspaper that is owned by Sound Publishing Company, was a winner of 13 editorial, photography and advertising awards in the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s 2019 Better Newspaper Contest.
Bob Smith, Kitsap News Group regional editor and editor of the Port Orchard Independent, was the recipient of 12 individual editorial and photography awards this year. Independent contributor Robert Zollna won two photography awards in the competition.
Smith was a first-place winner in the Breaking News Story category for his coverage of the Port Orchard tornado that struck the city last December.
The Independent’s editor and writer won first- and second-place awards in circulation group 4 (12,501 and higher) for his Lifestyle category features. He took first for his feature on a second grader’s efforts to collect art supplies for students, and second for his whimsical piece on preschooler thoughts about Christmas. Smith also was awarded second place in the Personality Profile, Long Story category, for his profile of a cancer-stricken boy surprised with a special day by the City of Port Orchard.
The contest judge stated that Smith’s first-place feature on Olalla student Gloria Bass was “sweet, poignant and well-written, with great photos to boot. Everything one could want in a little human-interest piece.” A judge also commented on the editor’s article featuring Adventureland Preschool kids weighing in on Christmas: “I found myself smiling wildly despite my usual cynicism. The writer is obviously having so much fun with this, and it shows.”
Smith profiled 3-year-old Jedi Minters, a cancer patient who was given a special day to remember by City of Port Orchard officials. The judge wrote: “Love to see communities come together to make a little boy’s last days special.”
Smith placed second and third for his editorial columns “Ugly campaign mailers” and “Vote ‘Yes’ on school bond,” respectively.
In the photography category, Smith took first, second and third in the Color Photo Category. He placed first with his photos from the Port Orchard “Bike Rodeo” event; second (along with photographer Zollna) for their “Twister’s Destruction” collection; and third for a photo feature spread of the Fathoms O’ Fun Festival’s Grand Parade.
The Independent’s editor also contributed content for Kitsap News Group’s “Discover Kitsap” special section, which placed second in groups 3 and 4 for the Tourism Special Section category.
In all, Kitsap News Group reporters won 30 individual writing and photography awards. Mark Krulish, KDN sports reporter, placed third in the Sportswriter of the Year category.
Smith and Zollna took third place for their Port Orchard tornado photos in the Breaking News Photography category.
The awards were presented at the association’s 132nd annual meeting Oct. 10-12 in Olympia. Fifty-eight WNPA-member newspapers submitted 1,889 entries in six major categories: advertising, special sections, news, photography, web and general excellence. The entries were judged by members of the North Carolina Press Association.