The Democrat staff took home 14 awards, nine of them first place finishes, from the Kansas City Press Club awards banquet Saturday afternoon for work published in 2015.
The Democrat competed against print publications with a circulation of less than 30,000.
“This is a terrific feat for us,” Editor Tim Epperson said. “I am always amazed by these people with their dedication to their jobs. It shows in the quality of their work. We will continue to perform with excellence and be the best local news source for our readership. We couldn’t do this without their support.”
Columnist Bob Satnan led the staff with four first place awards, including the News column/blog and Non-news column/blog categories. He also won the Profile category for “Drive to succeed pays for mom, boys,” a story about LaTonya Marshall and her passion for both her four sons and her law career. Satnan’s fourth Gold Award came from the Arts and Entertainment Reporting category for “Powerhouse in polka dots pulls in audience,” a Missouri State Fair feature on strong woman Mama Lou.
Reporter Faith Bemiss received two Gold awards, both in photojournalism categories. She won the General Reporting category for her photo of the Child Safe Color Dash and the Feature category for her photo “Eye to Eye” of a student observing a sculpture in the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art.
News Editor/Reporter Nicole Cooke won the Breaking News category for her coverage of the James Horn manhunt in May 2015. She also received third place in General Reporting for “From chemo to 5K,” an article about Mary McCurdy’s journey from battling breast cancer to walking in the Bothwell Foundation’s Lub Dub 5K with her husband, Alan. Cooke also received a photojournalism award in the General Reporting category for her photo package of the inaugural Sedalia Hispanic Heritage Festival.
Reporter Hope Lecchi received a Gold Award in the Photojournalism Breaking News category for her photo of a Sedalia firefighter battling the four-house blaze Thanksgiving Day. She also placed third in the Feature category for “A true brother in arms to all,” an article about Vietnam War veteran Jim Gaertner that appeared in the annual Veterans Day special section in November 2015.
The Democrat sports department took both first and second in the Photojournalism Sports category — former Sports Reporter Jason Strickland placed first with “Pannier makes contact” and former Sports Editor Eric Ingles placed second with “Riders take on State Fair motocross.” Strickland also placed third in Sports Reporting for “The S-C Tiger Tandem,” an article about Smith-Cotton running backs Noah Aziere and Carlton Homan.