July 9, 2019

2019 Ohio SPJ Awards Winners

July 3, 2019

Sarah Mills Bacha


COLUMBUS – Ohio’s Best Journalism Contest, sponsored by the Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) chapters statewide, announced its 2019 awards today. There were 301 awards announced out of 624 entries submitted.

The categories include large circulation print (75,000 or greater), small circulation print (fewer than 75,000), radio, television, digital media, trade organizations, freelance and college. Click here for a full list of categories.

Best of Show distinctions are awarded in all categories except college. Entries were for work done in 2018. Journalists from Detroit and Pennsylvania served as judges.

Save the date! A luncheon celebration to honor the winners will be held Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, 11 a.m., in central Ohio at BrewDog USA’s 42-acre brewhouse and event space in Canal Winchester. Founded in 2007 in Scotland, BrewDog has more than 42 pubs in the United Kingdom and more than 50 worldwide. Mark your calendars and watch your inbox for celebration registration details in the coming days.

Journalists, who work for newspaper, magazines, radio, television, trade, online and college media in Ohio and adjacent states that have significant reach into Ohio were eligible to submit entries, as well as freelance journalists, who are Ohio residents, regardless of where their work is published, broadcast or webcast. Entrants did not need to be members of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Ohio’s Best Journalism is the only Ohio competition that honors journalists who fulfill the SPJ mission: defense of the First Amendment, support of literacy, resistance to censorship, advocacy for openness of public records and meetings, media self-criticism and community service.

Attention journalists/editors/entry submitters: Please review the list of winners carefully and confirm that the individual and/or individuals listed in the column “Name on Award” are the names that should appear on the awards. Please also confirm that the name of the publication attached to your award is correct. If changes are needed, please email Sarah Mills Bacha at smbacha@earthlink.net as soon as possible.

Top print winners were The Columbus Dispatch with 32 awards; Cleveland Jewish News with 18; The Cincinnati Enquirer with 17; The Akron Beacon Journal with 14; The Plain Dealer with nine; The (Toledo) Blade with eight; Columbus Alive with eight; and Dayton Daily News with seven.

Top broadcast winners were ideastream with 23; WKSU with 10 awards; WOSU with 10; WVXU 91.7 Radio with 10; and WHIO with eight.

In the Large Circulation Print (75,000 or greater), Best of Show category, winners included:

  • Best Page One Design, First Place, Dayton Daily News
  • Best Columnist in Ohio, First Place, Amelia Robinson, Dayton Daily News
  • Best Reporter In Ohio, First Place, Mark Curnutte, The Cincinnati Enquirer
  • Best Photographer in Ohio, First Place, Kyle Robertson, The Columbus Dispatch
  • Best Daily Newspaper, First Place, Dayton Daily News

In the Small Circulation Print (Fewer than 75,000), Best of Show category, top winners included:

  • Best Photographer, First Place, Bill Lackey, Springfield News-Sun
  • Best Weekly Newspaper, First Place, Cincinnati Business Courier
  • Best Reporter in Ohio, First Place, Steve Watkins, Cincinnati Business Courier
  • Best Columnist, First Place, Regina Brett, Cleveland Jewish News
  • Best Monthly, First Place, 614 Magazine
  • Best Special Publication, First Place, Canvas, Cleveland Jewish News

In the Trade Publications, Best of Show category, winners included:

  • Best Trade Publication, First Place, Cincy Magazine
  • Best Trade Columnist, First Place, Lois A. Bowers, McNight’s Senior Living

In the Television, Best of Show category, winners included:

  • Best Anchor, Rick Jackson, ideastream
  • Best Reporter, First Place, Duane Pohlman, WKRC-TV

In the Radio, Best of Show category, winners included:

  • Best Reporter, First Place, Nick Castele, ideastream
  • Best Anchor, First Place, Amy Eddings, ideastream

In the Digital Media, Best of Show category, winners included:

  • Best General News SiteFirst Place, dispatch.com
  • Best Online Still Photographer in Ohio, First Place, Matt Ellis, ColumbusUnderground.com

In the Freelance, Best of Show, categories, winners included:

  • Small Circulation Print (<75,000), Best Freelance Writer, Vince Guerrieri
  • Digital Media, Best Freelance Writer, Vince Guerrieri

In the College category, winners included:

  • Best College Non-Daily Newspaper, The Kent Stater, Kent State University
  • Best College Opinion Writing, Andrew Atkins, kentwired.com


ABOUT SPJ: The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 10,000 members; works to inspire current and future journalists through professional development; and advocates for the protection of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech and press.

Nationally, SPJ improves and protects journalism through national and local training; advocacy for freedom of Information and resources; its Code of Ethics that encourages responsible reporting; a website filled with career resources – www.spj.org; and a national recognition program for excellence in journalism.