SALT LAKE CITY — The Deseret News swept the best newspaper reporter category of the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists' annual awards banquet Thursday, with reporters Daphne Chen, Katie McKellar and Amy Joi O'Donoghue taking first, second and third place, respectively.
The Deseret News also was named best newspaper.
In addition, McKellar won the Quintus C. Wilson Ethics Award for her coverage of Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott and his health issues that have raised questions about his ability to do his job.
Faced with difficult ethical decisions, McKellar "scrupulously balanced those conflicting concerns to produce a series of revelatory stories that were comprehensive while avoiding prurience, supplanting speculation with verified fact," according to the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.8 comments on this story
After 45 years of working for the Church News and being its first female editor, Gerry Avant decided to retire earlier this year. Avant was given the Josephine Zimmerman Pioneer in Journalism Award for her "example to other women throughout her fearless, careful, compassionate and well-read career."
Avant's work has "blazed a trail for other women reporting on the state's prominent faith."
The newspaper won 38 other awards for photography, writing, design and multimedia coverage.
- Chen, Jeffrey D. Allred and Matthew Montgomery's coverage of a kidney donation that saved one man's life in the best multimedia category.
- Allred's photography in the best photographer category.
- Allred's photos of a house fire in the best spot news photo category.
- Allred's photos of a sporting event in the sports action photo category.
- Hal Boyd and Paul Edwards' editorial encouraging then-presidential candidate Donald Trump to resign from the race in the editorial category.
- Sara Israelsen-Hartley's coverage of one adolescent's struggle with pornography in the general feature category.
- McKenzie Romero's coverage of a man convicted of killing his wife and then granted a new trial in multimedia journalist category.
- Matthew D. LaPlante for his story on amputation no longer being surgery of last resort in medical/science reporting.
- The deseretnews.com staff in the best news-oriented website category.
- The Deseret News social media staff in the best use of news-oriented social media category.
- Ravell Call for his photographs of the Great Salt Lake plane crash in the spot news photo category.
- Call for his photos of Utah Highway Patrol trooper Eric Ellsworth's funeral service in general news photo category.
- Morgan Jacobsen for his story describing students opting out of taking the statewide assessment of student growth and excellence, or SAGE.
- Ben Lockhart for his story about a man convicted of selling marijuana and sentenced to 55 years in prison being released early in general news category.
- Lockhart for his coverage of a march to protest the election of Donald Trump in multimedia journalist category.
- Lois M. Collins for her story on efforts to help soldiers cope with PTSD in the military category.
- Romero for coverage of families' long wait for justice in daycare abuse case in criminal justice category.
- Eric Schulzke for a report on how the mind rejuvenates itself in the medical/science category.
- Amy Donaldson for her coverage of Team of Refugees during the Olympics in the sports nondeadline writing category.
- Call for his photography portfolio in the best photographer category.
- Spenser Heaps for his photos of homeless Utahns in the general news photo category.
- Jacobsen for his story on the number of teachers leaving the field in the education category
- Marjorie Cortez for her story about how Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, helped one woman come to the United States after her visa application was lost in the general news category.
- Chen for her story about a Utah man who risked his life fighting ISIS in Syria in the military category.
- Allison Pond for her coverage of more sanitary measures being taken in India.
- Jesse Hyde, Lois M. Collins and Lauren Fields for their series of stories involving suicide at Lone Peak High School.
- Carter Williams for his coverage of the relationship between music and sports in nondeadline sports category.
- Jared Whitley for his words involving beliefs that the government is wasting money in medical/science category.
- McKellar and Lockhart for their story on secret efforts to lure Facebook to Utah in the business/consumer category
- Aaron Thorup for his Halloween graphics.
- McKellar for her in-depth exposure of unlawful purchases made by then-Unified Fire Authority Deputy Chief Gaylord Scott in the government category.
- Tiffany Gee Lewis' column about teaching children to love others in the midst of a tragic world in the humor/lifestyle column category.
- Caresa Alexander Randall's coverage of one adopted man finding his birth family through ancestry.com's DNA testing service in the medical/science category.
- Jay Evensen's call for respect toward police officers in the opinion column category.
- Heather L. Tuttle's page design for "13 curious facts about your bones" in the feature page design category.
- Jennifer Graham's coverage of a woman who pays expecting mothers seeking abortions to carry their baby's to term in the religion/values category.
- Chen's coverage of Utah's only nonprofit insurance co-op closure in the business/consumer category.
- Call's salute to veterans photos in the feature photo category.