By Reader Staff
Media professionals from across the state celebrated their achievements in reporting over the past year, with the annual gathering April 29 of the Idaho Press Club membership in Boise. Among the winners of the yearly journalism awards were staff members of the Sandpoint Reader, which together earned accolades in nine categories.
Reader Publisher Ben Olson won third place in the Serious Feature Report category for his story “The Hidden Homeless,” which explored the understated issue of senior citizens who lack housing and what is — or isn’t — being done about it.
Reader News Editor Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey took third place in the Watchdog/Investigative Report category for her coverage (which is ongoing) of the investigation into the various controversies surrounding the Bonner County Fairgrounds. Kiebert-Carey also took third place in the Arts/Entertainment category for her piece “The Pursuit of Transcendence,” which detailed the work of late-local artist Romey Stuckart and her husband, fellow artist Stephen Schultz, who in 2022 were honored with the Idaho Excellence in the Arts Award.
Finally, Kiebert-Carey took second place in the Environment Report category for her story “For Bears, Forebears and the Future,” about 1,000 acres of Kootenai Valley farmland being set aside for agricultural and wildlife uses.
Reader Editor-in-Chief Zach Hagadone earned three first-place awards and placed second in two other categories.
In the Editorial category, Hagadone won among weekly newspapers statewide for “We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us,” an opinion piece about the thwarted assault by right-wing extremist group Patriot Front on the Pride celebration in Coeur d’Alene in 2022; in the Political Report category for his story about legislation that would have repealed a longstanding Idaho law prohibiting private militias; and in the Business Report category for “This Isn’t the Way We Do Business Here,” on the change of ownership of the Cedar Street Bridge and subsequent impacts on numerous small businesses pushed out by dramatic rent increases.
Hagadone’s second-place finishes included his multi-part series “Conservation: From the Timber Wars to Collaboration” and, in the Election Report category, “Big-Money Nevada Consultants Play Part in Herndon Senate Campaign,” exploring the out-of-state influences animating the historically negative District 1 Republican primary election in 2022.
The Reader — Sandpoint’s only locally owned and independently operated newspaper, with a full-time reporting staff of three journalists — has earned 36 awards from the Idaho Press Club since returning to publication in 2015, including first-place for General Excellence among Idaho weekly newspapers for work produced in 2018 and 2021.
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