Sentinel Colorado takes top Colorado public service honor and others during annual AP, Colorado Press awards

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AURORA | Sentinel Colorado staffers garnered a bevy of  journalism awards  for 2018 work, including the top honor among all Colorado newspapers for public service.

The Sentinel was honored by Colorado Associated Press Editors and Reporters for stories, columns, editorials and photography focusing on the plight of people experiencing homelessness in the metro area. The annual awards event was held during the annual Colorado Press Association convention at the Hyatt Regency Aurora Denver Conference Center.

The Sentinel “gave voice to the voiceless,” AP judges said about the collection of work.

The Denver Post took second-place honors for an investigation by reporter David Migoya about secret court cases, including some in Arapahoe County. “Painstaking investigative work,” judges said.

Third place went to the Durango Herald for work focusing on youth suicide.

“These public service awards are a testament to a newspaper’s commitment to exposing serious issues,” said Sentinel Editor and Publisher Dave Perry, referring to repeated charges by President Donald Trump and others. “These newspapers and journalists are clearly not the enemies of the people, we are their trusted watchdogs.”

AP editors’ general excellence awards for 2018 went to the Denver Post, the Summit Daily and the Durango Herald.

Perry received top honors for Sentinel house editorials and personal signed columns.

The Sentinel “takes a hard stance on both local and national issues that affect the community,” judges said about the newspaper’s editorials.

Reporter Kara Mason and staffers swept the category for investigative work, impressing judges with a story about Aurora City Councilman Bob Roth using his elected office as influence for his personal business.

“Good job holding officials and leaders accountable,” judges said. “Journalism schools could use this as an example of doing the hard work and getting it right.”

Judges honored the Sentinel’s “Gridlocked and Loaded” story explaining why traffic has gotten so bad in the metro area, and why it’s not getting any better.

Also honored were staff stories about the 808 people in Aurora on the state’s sexual offender list. “Tough topic to tackle and you nailed it,” judges said.

Mason was also honored for a series of stories focusing on gun control in the metro area and Colorado.

Sentinel staffers Brandon Johansson and Quincy Snowdon won top honors for a variety of stories focusing on social problems in metro Aurora.

Brandon Johnson struggles to keep his composure while an image of his son Riley is shown on a television in the courtroom, March 9 at the Arapahoe County Justice Center. PHOTO BY PHILIP B. POSTON/The Sentinel

Photo Editor Philip B. Poston was awarded for a photo of a child-murderer at a court sentencing, photos of a memorial service marking the sixth anniversary of the Aurora theater shooting, portraiture, and a portfolio of Poston’s work for the year.

Sentinel Sports Editor Courtney Oakes was honored for a dramatic photo of a lightning strike behind a stadium during a football game. Oakes was also awarded for a take-out on how area high-school athletes have become stars abroad playing on pro teams in other countries.

Johansson was honored for an environmental story on climate change research being done at Aurora’s Anschutz medical campus.

Snowdon received top honors for a breaking news story he reported about a couple convicted of bestiality and how the city handled the issue.

The Sentinel was also honored for its website, SentinelColorado.com.

At the Colorado Press Association awards Saturday, the Sentinel picked up 11 additional honors.

First place honors included: Kara Mason for “Patiently Waiting,” a story about the delayed VA hospital opening. Philip Poston for portfolio work. Dave Perry for serious and humorous column writing and also headline writing. And Sentinel staff for stories about homelessness.

The Sentinel was honored with a first place award for its daily website.

Second place Colorado Press Assoc. awards included: Dave Perry for house editorials, and staff for an investigative story about the state sexual offender registry, stories about homelessness and a story about the state of healthcare in the region.