The Democrat news staff took home 13 awards for its work in 2014 during Saturday’s KC Press Club awards luncheon, including eight first place awards.
“I couldn’t be more proud to have such a dedicated team of journalists who are engaged with the community and who really care about what happens in Pettis County,” said Editor Tim Epperson. “We will continue to make the Sedalia Democrat the primary news source for our readership.”
Former editor Dennis Rich and City Reporter Nicole Cooke received first place in the Breaking News category for their coverage of the discovery of human remains at Goodwill Chapel Trailer Park in May 2014. Judges said the Democrat “fed the reader with rich details. The paper followed up to the end.”
Cooke also received third place in the Breaking News category for her coverage of the armed robbery at Gold Buyer in downtown Sedalia in December 2014.
“Good indepth reporting on a shooting and robbery of a gold-buying merchant in downtown Sedalia,” the judge wrote of her article. “This kind of report proves to readers the need for newspapers.”
Rounding out Cooke’s awards was first place in Breaking News Photojournalism for her photo of firefighters running to extinguish a brush fire in Hughesville in early 2014.
Entertainment Reporter Faith Bemiss received first place in Features for her article “Herndon, a ‘junkyard luthier’” from October 2014 about former Sedalia resident Jack Herndon who has been creating folk guitars with a variety of secondhand material for the last two years.
Bemiss also received first place in the Feature Photojournalism category for “Let the games begin,” a photo package from the Hair Games — Unleashed competition for local hair salons in March 2014.
Bemiss received second place in the Profile category for “Bee a honey.”
“This was a neat down-home story about an interesting person — the kind that would run nicely in a hyperlocal newspaper like mine,” the judge wrote. “I liked how you focus on how bees interact and live, and do not fill the story with minutia about the beekeeper.”
Sports reporter Jason Strickland also took home honors for his photography skills. He recieved first place in the Sports Photojournalism category for his photo of Smithton’s Brandon Amos blocking Lincoln’s Boone Kroenke’s shot in a December 2014 basketball game. He took second place in the same category for his photo of Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis’ catch and run of a 70-yard touchdown Dec. 14, 2014.
Strickland received two more awards from KC Press Club. He received another first place win in the Sports Reporting category for “Nickname turns into superstition for Travelers” from summer 2014. The judge said the article was a “nice look at life on a baseball team.”
He received third place in the same category for “CMS driver finds peace in race car.” The judge said it was a “good look at a racer’s life.”
Democrat columnist Bob Satnan received recognition in three categories. He received first place in Entertainment Reporting for his profile of former Democrat photographer Sydney Brink after it was announced he had been named to the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame.
“Readers of the Sedalia Democrat had the privilege of looking through the perspective of photojournalist Sydney Brink for years. With Bob Satnan’s story we get to look right at Brink, who he is and his passion for getting the perfect shot,” the judge wrote. “The man behind the lens proves to be both kind and inspirational. This is a fun read for anyone, especially those interested in the creative art of capturing a moment in time.”
Satnan also received first in the News Column category, which was based on three columns from 2014, including “SCOTUS marriage move felt locally,” “A culture of sports obssession,” and “Hawkins ignores Sedalia’s progress.” The judge wrote that Satnan’s columns are “well reported and important political and social commentary and point of view writing.” Satnan also received second place in the Non-news Column category.