Last updated: March 29. 2013 10:14AM - 706 Views

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Dallas Post photographer Charlotte Bartizek has won a first-place Keytone Press Award for a feature photo of a kids’ annual fishing day in the Back Mountain.

In addition to Bartizek’s award, The Times Leader and associated community publications won 27 Keystone Press Awards this year in a number of categories, including investigative reporting, page design and sports event coverage.

Bartizek has won three awards from PA Keystone competitions over the years for photos but is most proud of a first-place award she received in 1995 for a sports photo from the National Newspaper Association.

The Times Leader garnered 11 awards, The Sunday Dispatch received three awards and The Abington Journal won 12 awards. The Abington Journal also was named the “sweepstakes winner” for its division.

“Once again the staff at all of our publications showed why they are considered the best in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Joe Butkiewicz, vice president and executive editor. “The Times Leader won first-place awards for investigative and ‘spot news,’ areas of news gathering crucial to our readers but not a high priority for other papers. The sportswriters and news and feature page designers at The Times Leader do terrific work every day, and it’s great that has been recognized.

“The Abington Journal continues to prove that our attention to community news is worth the effort,” Butkiewicz said. “For the fourth consecutive year the staff at the Journal won the sweepstakes award for the best paper of its circulation size in all of Pennsylvania. I’m proud to work with such talented and hardworking journalists.”

Winners of the contest will be honored at the Pennsylvania Press Conference May 18 in Harrisburg.

Times Leader reporter Terrie Morgan-Besecker won first place in investigative reporting for a series of articles revealing attorney Angela Stevens had double-billed the county for delivering fee petitions related to her representation of parents whose children are in the custody of Children and Youth Services.

Morgan-Besecker and staff writer Ed Lewis also won a first place “spot news” award for their coverage of an October 2012 shootout involving a Wilkes-Barre city police officer who was shot and injured and an attempted-homicide fugitive who was shot and killed during a gunfight in the city.

Staff writer Bill O’Boyle won a second-place award for a personality profile of a woman and her battle with cancer.

Sports writer Paul Sokoloski won a second-place award for a column regarding the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno and the renaming of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, as well as an honorable mention for sports event coverage on the death of Dr. Joseph Mattioli, owner of the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond.

Sports writer Derek Levarse won a second-place award for coverage of sanctions handed down to Penn State University by the NCAA after the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. He also received a second-place award for sports beat writing about Penn State.

Tom Venesky won a first-place award for sports/outdoors columns on topics, including a piece headlined “Dirt roads offer a great route to serendipity.”

Page designers Rich Sheposh, Michele Aed and Irene Kovaleski won a first-place and two second-place awards, respectively, for front-page design and page design.

The Sunday Dispatch won a first-place award for a photo story by photographer Bill Tarutis, a second-place award for page design by staffer Joe Healey and a second-place award for headline writing by staffer Jack Smiles.

Abington Journal staff writer Elizabeth Baumeister won a second-place award for investigative reporting of a Ransom Township pipeline, while Adriane Heine won a first-place award for her columns, including one about the death of the family dog.

Abington Journal staff, including Robert Tomkavage, Elizabeth Baumeister, Jason Riedmiller, Stephanie Walkowski, Emily Taylor and Danielle Antonello-Smolley won a first-place award for Playbook 2012, which highlighted the local football season. The staff also earned a first-place award for “niche publication” of My Edition News for Youth. Staff members Leah Ducato Rudolph, Sandy Longo, Mary Ann McGrath and Shu Qiu at Abington Community Library and Dalton Community Library, respectively, assisted The Abington Journal team of Elizabeth Baumeister, Mindy Mendicino, Kristie Grier Ceruti and Joan Mead-Matsui in hosting focus groups for youngsters, providing guest columns and creating a monthly DIY craft for children. Also, local children and teens contributed columns, including Paige Eisenlohr, Rachel Ezrin, Mariah Mancuso, Kento Matsui and Ellie Sullum.

Staff members also won second places for a series on romance, first place for sports event coverage, second place for a personality profile, second place for sports beat reporting and a sports photo and two first places and one second place for page design and a graphic/photo illustration.

Times Shamrock’s three daily newspapers in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties won a total of 25 Keystone Press Awards.

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