Itemizer-Observer receives 18 state newspaper awards

Jolene Guzman

Jolene Guzman

SALEM — The Polk County Itemizer-Observer received 18 awards during the 2014 Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspaper Contest.

The awards were presented at the organization’s annual summer publisher’s convention, held Thursday and Friday at the Salem Convention Center.

Highlighting the recognition the Itemizer-Observer received was four first-place awards: Best Special Section or Issue, I-O staff (“2013 Explore Polk County”); Best Coverage of Business and Economic Issues, Jolene Guzman (“An asset or a liability?”); Best Enterprise Reporting, Nicole Watkins (“School of hard knocks”); and Best Headline Writing, Kurt Holland.

Second-place awards were presented to the I-O in seven categories: Best Education Coverage, Jolene Guzman (“Behind the scenes”); Best Enterprise Reporting, Jolene Guzman (“An asset or a liability?”); Best Feature Story — General, Jolene Guzman (“The circus is in town”); Best Lifestyle Coverage, Jolene Guzman (“Productive and peaceful”); Best Sports Story, Nicole Watkins (“Calling the shots”); Best Writing, Nicole Watkins; and Best Photo Essay, Pete Strong (“Playing on the big stage”).

The I-O also received seven third-place awards: General Excellence, I-O staff; Best Editorial Page, I-O staff; Best Headline Writing, Pete Strong; Best Spot News coverage, Jolene Guzman (“Fire destroys school”); Best Graphics, Pete Strong (“Putting a focus on wine”); Best Photo Essay, Pete Strong, Nicole Watkins and Aaron Newton (“Saluting the Class of 2013”); and Best Overall Website, I-O staff (

Individually, I-O staff writer Jolene Guzman, who has been with the newspaper since July 2009, received six awards.

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