The Gazette won 46 awards in state contests for its journalism over the weekend, including first-place honors for best website, news, feature and sports writing, columns, photography and design.

The awards included 27 from The Colorado Press Association and 19 from the Colorado Associated Press Editors and Reporters. The Gazette swept all the column categories — news, humorous and sports — and all of the page design categories in the CPA awards, and won the top breaking news award for coverage of the hailstorm last year.

In addition, the staff of the Gazette's sister publication, Colorado Politics (, won top honors for news content in its size category at the Colorado Press Association and 15 individual awards. The CoPo team swept the awards for best news story and best investigative reporting, and also won first prize for breaking news, business and agriculture coverage, serious and humorous columns, feature page design and multimedia advertising.

The weekly won CPA's Editorial Sweepstakes Award for excellence in news content, based on its total wins in individual categories.

Colorado Politics competed against newspapers across the state with similar circulations.

The Gazette and competed against the largest newspapers in the state, including The Denver Post.

In a surprise presentation, Colorado Politics contributing columnist Neil Westergaard — formerly editor of The Denver Post and the Denver Business Journal — was named Colorado Newspaperperson of the Year.

Colorado Politics Managing Editor Mark Harden presented the honor, with Westergaard's family and several of the newsmen and newswomen he mentored over the years in attendance.

"Through the newsrooms he has created, Neil has nurtured a generation of journalists to do better, for their readers and themselves," Harden told the audience. "And the world of Colorado newspapers is better because of my friend Neil."

Harden noted that Westergaard has begun contributing a regular column on Denver civic affairs as part of Colorado Politics' expansion into coverage of Mile High City politics.

The awards were presented at the conclusion of CPA's 141st annual convention at the Hyatt Regency Aurora - Denver Conference Center. Entries were judged by members of the Missouri Press Association.

Here are the awards won by the Gazette staff in the CPA contest.

First place

Best Breaking News/Deadline Reporting: Staff, Huge hailstones injure 14 people

Best Sports Column: David Ramsey

Best Serious Column: David Ramsey

Best Humorous Column: Stephanie Earls

Best Environmental Story: Liz Forster, Bringing order to chaos

Best Feature Page Design: Derek Kuhn

Best News Photograph: Jerilee Bennett, Fire loss

Best News Page Design: Nichole Montanez

Best Sports Event Story: Brent Briggeman, Falcons in N.Y. state of mind

Best Health Enterprise/Health Feature Story: Stephanie Earls, Unrecovered: The crisis in mental health care

Best Editorial Special Section - Newsprint: Staff, Summer fun guide

Best Editorial Section - Glossy or magazine: Staff, The Broadmoor at 100

Second Place

Best Series: Staff, Southeast

Best Features Story: Jakob Rodgers, Striving for a better life

Best Agriculture Story: Jennifer Mulson and Teresa Farney, Pueblo chiles

Best News Story: Lance Benzel and Jakob Rodgers, Tim Watkins' last ride

Best Sustained Coverage: Conrad Swanson, City of Colorado Springs holds secret meetings to divvy up millions

Best Sports Story: David Ramsey, Faith brought brothers to Springs

Best Sports Event Story: Brent Briggeman, Cejudo crosses off No. 3

Best Sports Column: Paul Klee

Best Serious Column: Michelle Karas

Best Humorous Column: Jen Mulson

Best Photo Slideshow or Gallery: Christian Murdock, Cheyenne Mountain wins state lacrosse title 

Best Sports photo: Kelsey Brunner, Team cheer

Best Feature Photo: Jerilee Bennett, Icy kiss

Best Feature Page Design: Derek Kuhn, Nov. 19, 2017.

Best News Page Design: Nichole Montanez

Here are the awards won by the Gazette staff in the AP contest.

First Place

Best Website: Staff

Feature Story: Stephanie Earls and Vince Bzdek, Joshua's journey

Feature Photo: Jerilee Bennett, Ice castles

Environmental Story: Seth Boster, Heartbreak and hope

Portrait/Personality photo: Dougal Brownlie, Broken mirror

Photo Portfolio: Christian Murdock 

Picture Story/Photo Essay: Kelsey Brunner, Women in ranching

Photo Illustration: Dougal Brownlie, Peak performer

Second Place

Feature Story: Seth Boster, Heartbreak and hope

Beat Reporting: Tom Roeder and Kaitlin Durbin

Spot News Story: Tom Roeder, Stephanie Earls and David Ramsey, Resignation of Scott Blackmun

Spot News Photo: Jerilee Bennett, After the fire

Online Special Package: Liz Forster, Women in ranching

News Column: Vince Bzdek

Sports Column: Paul Klee

Photo Illustration: Dougal Brownlie, Chocolate gelato

Third Place

Photo Portfolio: Kelsey Brunner

Series: Kaitlin Durbin, Domestic violence series

News Column: David Ramsey

Here are the awards won by the Colorado Politics staff in the CPA contest:

First place

Best breaking news/deadline reporting: Joey Bunch, Ernest Luning and Marianne Goodland, Harden, Erin Prater, and Gazette staffers Tom Roeder and Lisa Walton, coverage of the 2018 primary election results.

Best news story: Bunch, Drawing the line on gerrymandering, ballot proposals to reform Colorado's system of drawing boundaries for congressional and legislative districts; those proposals were later approved by voters.

Best investigative story: Goodland, On uncertain course, an examination of problems with the state's watchdog Independent Ethics Commission. 

Best agriculture story: Goodland, Trade war: Colorado faces broadening impact, the impact of the Trump administration's tariff policies on Colorado farmers and ranchers.

Best serious column writing: Luning, for Trail mix.

Best humorous column writing: Goodland, Capitol M. 

Best feature page design: Design Director Stephanie Swearngin, Dear governor, a series of essays offering advice to Colorado's next chief executive.

Best business news/feature story: Contributor Mark Jaffe, Cutting the cord, on rural energy providers severing ties with big electricity distributors. 

Best use of multimedia advertising: Gina Pietramale, an Axiom Politics animated ad.

Second place

Public service: Bunch, Luning, Goodland, Opinion Editor Dan Njegomir, Swanson, Harden and Prater, Election preview: a midterm that matters, a series of stories previewing the 2018 election and profiling the candidates. 

Best website-weekly: Harden, Prater and CoPo staff,

Best investigative story: Luning, The U-factor, a deep dive into the impact of unaffiliated voters on Colorado elections.

Best news story: Goodland, Taking on human trafficking, exploring the issue and proposed solutions at the state General Assembly.

Best health enterprise story: Luning and Bunch, Bitter pills, examining the positions of Colorado's gubernatorial candidates on health-care issues. 

Best story-picture combination: Bunch and contributing photographer Andy Colwell, Bending to the middle, a profile of former congressman and Republican political leader Bob Beauprez.  


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