Independent editor Bob Smith captures a shot of historic tall ship skipper Jamie Trost as he maneuvers the sails of “Hawaiian Chieftain” during its summer 2018 journey on Sinclair Inlet. Smith was the first-place winner in the Color Feature Photo category of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s 2019 Better Newspaper Contest. (Bob Smith | Independent)

Independent editor Bob Smith captures a shot of historic tall ship skipper Jamie Trost as he maneuvers the sails of “Hawaiian Chieftain” during its summer 2018 journey on Sinclair Inlet. Smith was the first-place winner in the Color Feature Photo category of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s 2019 Better Newspaper Contest. (Bob Smith | Independent)

Independent wins 13 awards at WNPA ceremony

Smith takes 12 editorial and photo awards for 2019

  • Tuesday, October 15, 2019 3:14pm
  • News

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.

Judges’ comments

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.

Robert Zollna and Bob Smith of the Port Orchard Independent teamed up to capture photos of the aftermath of an EF-2 tornado that struck a portion of the city in December. Their photos were award winners in the 2019 Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspaper Contest. (Robert Zollna | Independent 2018)

Robert Zollna and Bob Smith of the Port Orchard Independent teamed up to capture photos of the aftermath of an EF-2 tornado that struck a portion of the city in December. Their photos were award winners in the 2019 Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspaper Contest. (Robert Zollna | Independent 2018)

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.

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